Volume 2 Issue 8 August 2017

Volume 2 Issue 8

Complementary contributions

The various wavelengths of the solar spectrum can be exploited for different functionalities. Davy et al. develop an organic solar cell that harvests near-ultraviolet photons to power an electrochromic device that controls how many photons go through a smart window in other wavelength ranges, adjusting both visible light and heat ingress.

See Davy et al. 2, 17104 (2017) and News and Views by Delia Milliron, article 17116.

Image: Ella Maru Studio. Cover design: Tulsi Voralia.


  • Editorial |

    Recent large-scale carbon-capture schemes in the energy sector point to progress, but further development and support are still required to improve viability and widespread deployment.


  • Comment |

    The UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims to deliver affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Tracking progress towards the targets under this goal can spur better energy statistics and data gathering capacity, and will require new indicators that also consider the interplay with other goals.

    • Peter G. Taylor
    • , Kathleen Abdalla
    • , Roberta Quadrelli
    •  & Ivan Vera

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    Renewable energy policies enjoy greater support compared to policies focused explicitly on climate change, and thus present a politically plausible path toward carbon emission reduction. However, new research shows that renewable energy policy support declines when people are informed about the policy costs for home energy bills.

    • Darrick Evensen
  • News and Views |

    Electrically controlled windows require power to switch between transparent and tinted states. Now, an ultraviolet light-harvesting solar cell can power smart windows without compromising their control over heat and light.

    • Delia J. Milliron
  • News and Views |

    Wind turbines have been a go-to technology for addressing climate change, but they are increasingly a source of frustration for all stakeholders. While community ownership is often lauded as a panacea for maximizing turbine acceptance, a new study suggests that decision-making involvement — procedural fairness — matters most.

    • Jamie Baxter
  • News and Views |

    Distributed energy resources will play a fundamental role in providing low-carbon electricity in a smart, flexible way. A new study develops a cross-disciplinary planning tool showing that ‘going distributed’ always pays.

    • Angelo Facchini


  • Review Article |

    Thermal effects on batteries, both due to external variations and internal fluctuations, significantly impact their performance. Ajayan and colleagues survey recent advances in understanding the thermal effects on individual battery components.

    • Marco-Tulio F. Rodrigues
    • , Ganguli Babu
    • , Hemtej Gullapalli
    • , Kaushik Kalaga
    • , Farheen N. Sayed
    • , Keiko Kato
    • , Jarin Joyner
    •  & Pulickel M. Ajayan


  • Article |

    Unlike ubiquitous axial-flow turbines, cross-flow turbines have rotation axes perpendicular to the flow they sit in. This study presents a control scheme that optimizes blade angular velocity as a function of blade position with no extra degrees of freedom, yielding a 59% increase in power output.

    • Benjamin Strom
    • , Steven L. Brunton
    •  & Brian Polagye
  • Article |

    Smart windows are used to regulate the amount of visible and near-infrared light entering buildings or cars. Here, Davy et al. develop near-UV harvesting organic solar cells, scalable up to 10 cm2, for powering electrochromic windows without competing for photons in the visible or near-infrared.

    • Nicholas C. Davy
    • , Melda Sezen-Edmonds
    • , Jia Gao
    • , Xin Lin
    • , Amy Liu
    • , Nan Yao
    • , Antoine Kahn
    •  & Yueh-Lin Loo
  • Article |

    Pseudocapacitors based on redox-active materials have relatively high energy density but suffer from low power capability. Here the authors report that two-dimensional transition metal carbides exhibit high gravimetric, volumetric and areal capacitance values at high charge/discharge rates.

    • Maria R. Lukatskaya
    • , Sankalp Kota
    • , Zifeng Lin
    • , Meng-Qiang Zhao
    • , Netanel Shpigel
    • , Mikhael D. Levi
    • , Joseph Halim
    • , Pierre-Louis Taberna
    • , Michel W. Barsoum
    • , Patrice Simon
    •  & Yury Gogotsi
  • Article |

    Public opinion may inform legislation of renewable energy policies. This study shows that public opinion and strength of renewable energy policy are correlated across US states, but a majority of the public actually supports these policies if public health benefits and job creation are emphasized.

    • Leah C. Stokes
    •  & Christopher Warshaw
  • Article |

    Climate change will affect future water availability and temperature and hence thermoelectric power generation, which uses water for cooling. This study explores future usable capacity for existing thermoelectric power under different scenarios, including US state-level environmental regulations.

    • Lu Liu
    • , Mohamad Hejazi
    • , Hongyi Li
    • , Barton Forman
    •  & Xiao Zhang
  • Article |

    Metal alloys possessing core–shell structures have potential as low-Pt catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells, but can suffer from poor stability. Using high-resolution microscopy, Li et al. find that a Pt–Pd–Au catalyst undergoes surface atomic rearrangement and becomes more active on electrochemical cycling.

    • Jian Li
    • , Hui-Ming Yin
    • , Xi-Bo Li
    • , Eiji Okunishi
    • , Yong-Li Shen
    • , Jia He
    • , Zhen-Kun Tang
    • , Wen-Xin Wang
    • , Emrah Yücelen
    • , Chao Li
    • , Yue Gong
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Shu Miao
    • , Li-Min Liu
    • , Jun Luo
    •  & Yi Ding
  • Article |

    Planning of distributed energy resources requires careful consideration of many socio-technical factors to ensure that it is optimally built. Jain et al. present a model that incorporates numerous such factors and use it to find cost-effective resources for a sample of 10,000 consumers in California.

    • Rishee K. Jain
    • , Junjie Qin
    •  & Ram Rajagopal
  • Article |

    Concentrator photovoltaics achieve high efficiency but have so far been impractical for use on rooftops. Here, Price et al. develop a flat-panel concentrating photovoltaic system based on a triple-junction solar cell that operates at fixed tilt over a full day with >30% peak efficiency.

    • Jared S. Price
    • , Alex J. Grede
    • , Baomin Wang
    • , Michael V. Lipski
    • , Brent Fisher
    • , Kyu-Tae Lee
    • , Junwen He
    • , Gregory S. Brulo
    • , Xiaokun Ma
    • , Scott Burroughs
    • , Christopher D. Rahn
    • , Ralph G. Nuzzo
    • , John A. Rogers
    •  & Noel C. Giebink
  • Article |

    Climate change affects the availability of water for cooling thermoelectric power plants, causing curtailments in generation. This study models how future changes in water availability due to climate and water usage impacts power generation across the EU, and assesses different adaptation strategies.

    • Paul Behrens
    • , Michelle T. H. van Vliet
    • , Tijmen Nanninga
    • , Brid Walsh
    •  & João F. D. Rodrigues
  • Analysis |

    Electrical energy storage is expected to be important for decarbonizing personal transport and enabling highly renewable electricity systems. This study analyses data on 11 storage technologies, constructing experience curves to project future prices, and explores feasible timelines for their economic competitiveness.

    • O. Schmidt
    • , A. Hawkes
    • , A. Gambhir
    •  & I. Staffell