Volume 4 Issue 4, April 2019

Volume 4 Issue 4

Best-laid planning frameworks

Energy systems planning in conflict-affected and fragile countries has appeared futile in the past because of ever-changing socioeconomic and political conditions and violent disruptions. To help overcome this, Spyrou et al. present a planning framework that takes into account uncertainty from multiple sources including conflict and apply it to South Sudan.

See Spyrou et al.

Image: Per Bengston/Alamy Stock Photo. Cover Design: Allen Beattie.


  • Editorial |

    The rapid growth of lithium-ion batteries in many markets makes it increasingly urgent to address recycling of strategic materials from spent batteries.

Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    New scientific findings cataloguing the need for a rapid renewable energy transition are most often met with calls for innovation. Our failure to address climate change and thereby avoid the socioeconomic crises it foretells will not be attributed to a lack of innovation, however, but rather to a lack of exnovation.

    • Debra J. Davidson

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Direct liquid fuel cells are usually impeded by the cross-over of their reactants, which depreciates their performances. An asymmetric bipolar membrane is now shown to effectively separate the anolyte and catholyte of a direct borohydride hydrogen peroxide fuel cell, enabling high power and promising durability.

    • Marian Chatenet
  • News & Views |

    Advances in horizontal drilling have significantly increased US oil and gas production, but it is not clear whether the industry is viable if oil prices continue to be low. Researchers now estimate the break-even price for oil and gas from tight formations and analyse the factors that affect investment in drilling rigs.

    • Dawud Ansari
  • News & Views |

    In the face of climate change, the transition to a low-carbon energy system has become increasingly urgent. However, the implementation of renewable energy projects is often contested. Now research shows that residents of wind energy communities prefer their local wind project over other means of electricity generation.

    • Marco Sonnberger
  • News & Views |

    Many governments use finance mechanisms to deliver energy efficiency retrofits, but there is little understanding as to what makes them effective in stimulating private investment. New research now proposes a typology of finance mechanisms that policymakers can use as a toolkit to guide policy design.

    • Peter Mallaburn


  • Review Article |

    New electrolyte materials can offer breakthroughs in the development of next-generation batteries. Here Atsuo Yamada and colleagues review the progress made and the road ahead for salt-concentrated electrolytes, an emerging and promising electrolyte candidate.

    • Yuki Yamada
    • , Jianhui Wang
    • , Seongjae Ko
    • , Eriko Watanabe
    •  & Atsuo Yamada


  • Article |

    Maintaining a pH gradient across a fuel cell improves device efficiency and flexibility in device chemistry. Here the authors develop an efficient microscale bipolar interface for direct borohydride fuel cells, enabling sustained operations with a pH differential between the anolyte and the catholyte.

    • Zhongyang Wang
    • , Javier Parrondo
    • , Cheng He
    • , Shrihari Sankarasubramanian
    •  & Vijay Ramani
  • Article |

    Driven by solar light, photoelectrocatalytic cells can convert CO2 into energy carriers, but strategies to improve their performance are still required. Here the authors combine molecular and semiconductor p–n junctions that have complementary absorption in the visible light range to convert CO2 to formate efficiently.

    • Bing Shan
    • , Srinivas Vanka
    • , Ting-Ting Li
    • , Ludovic Troian-Gautier
    • , M. Kyle Brennaman
    • , Zetian Mi
    •  & Thomas J. Meyer
  • Article |

    Planning of electric power systems often does not consider the potential for, and possible effects of, conflict and socio-political strife. Here, using a case study of South Sudan, researchers develop and implement a framework for power system planning in fragile and conflict-affected states.

    • E. Spyrou
    • , B. F. Hobbs
    • , M. D. Bazilian
    •  & D. Chattopadhyay
  • Article |

    Oxygen evolution is one half of the overall water splitting reaction to produce hydrogen. Although this reaction is well studied, there remains debate over the particulars of the catalytic mechanism. Here, the authors investigate Co–Zn oxyhydroxide electrocatalysts, and suggest that the mechanism depends on the amount of Zn2+ they contain.

    • Zhen-Feng Huang
    • , Jiajia Song
    • , Yonghua Du
    • , Shibo Xi
    • , Shuo Dou
    • , Jean Marie Vianney Nsanzimana
    • , Cheng Wang
    • , Zhichuan J. Xu
    •  & Xin Wang
  • Article |

    The ever-increasing applications for Li-ion batteries in markets call for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient recycling technologies. Here the authors report using a deep eutectic solvent to extract valuable components of Li-ion batteries.

    • Mai K. Tran
    • , Marco-Tulio F. Rodrigues
    • , Keiko Kato
    • , Ganguli Babu
    •  & Pulickel M. Ajayan

Amendments & Corrections