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Volume 6 Issue 11, November 2021

Batteries on rails

Improvements in battery technology and reduction in costs have opened up the possibility of electrification of nearly all means of transport. Phadke et al. now explore the techno-economic feasibility of battery-powered trains and find that there’s a role for them in both freight and passenger transport in the US.

See Phadke et al.

Image: G.P.Essex / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover Design: Thomas Phillips.

Comment & Opinion

  • As increasingly complex and optimized energy systems prepare to cope with a variety of risks including climate shocks and extreme weather events, a myopic focus on economic efficiency can significantly jeopardize critical energy services.

    • Andrew S. Jin
    • Benjamin D. Trump
    • Igor Linkov


  • The scientific research environment struggles to be an inclusive and diverse place. Initiatives such as the Minority Carriers event at the Photovoltaics Specialists Conference not only support marginalized researchers but also delineate the changes that need to be made and actions that should be taken to make the research space inclusive.

    • Lyndsey McMillon-Brown
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News & Views

  • Curbing carbon emissions will require electrification of transport, but until now most of the innovations have been deployed in the car industry. In a recent article researchers focus on the electrification of another crucial sector, freight trains, but not with the traditional approach of overhead lines — rather with batteries.

    • Federico Zenith
    News & Views
  • Highly selective CO2 reduction electrodes are essential for the viability of CO2 electrolysis as a carbon utilization technology. New research demonstrates a strategy to control the selectivity of CO2 conversion by coating the electrocatalyst with thin bilayers of ionomers to tune the electrode microenvironment.

    • Kentaro U. Hansen
    • Feng Jiao
    News & Views
  • Printing of large-area organic solar cells using green solvents often results in reduced crystallinity and uniformity of the photovoltaic film and consequently a significant performance loss. Now, a solid additive strategy is developed to control the film morphology at the nanoscale and tackle these limitations.

    • Tayebeh Ameri
    News & Views
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Policy Brief

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