No. 12 December 2021From coin cells to battery packs
It is challenging to develop a new and promising energy material and even harder to upscale the material for practical applications. Sung et al. report the synthesis of sub-nanometre-sized silicon-based electrodes that display high performances in lab coin-sized cells, and demonstrate their upscaling in industry-level battery packs.
See Sung et al.
No. 11 November 2021Batteries 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.
No. 10 October 2021Degradation in a vacuum
Understanding the factors that reduce the power output of perovskite solar cells over time is key to their development. This image illustrates the greater structural and morphological degradation of the perovskite layer when solar cells are operated under vacuum instead of nitrogen, as observed by Renjun Guo and colleagues.
See Guo et al.
No. 9 September 2021Electrifying membrane synthesis
Membranes based on metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) could offer an energy-efficient way of separating chemical mixtures, but it can be difficult to prepare the high-quality MOF films that are needed. Zhou et al. use an electrochemical method to fabricate high-performance defect-free MOF membranes (cross section pictured) for the separation of hydrocarbons.
SeeZhou et al. andNews and Views by Nair
No. 8 August 2021Algorithms for all
Neighbourhood-scale batteries can help regulate supply and demand in renewable-heavy electricity systems, but their control algorithms tend to focus on techno-economic needs. A new interdisciplinary study shows how incorporating stakeholder perceptions into algorithm design can lead to diverse outcomes in the allocation of benefit and risk from the battery.
See Ransan-Cooper et al.
No. 7 July 2021Trending disruptions
As electric power generation is affected by temperature and other meteorological conditions, variations in power production patterns due to climate change should be increasingly observable. Ali Ahmad shows that the rising number of temperature anomalies led to an increase in the number of outages in the nuclear power industry over the last four decades and projects future disruptions.
No. 6 June 2021Heavy-duty charging
The electrification of trucks is an important step towards transport decarbonization. Borlaug et al. use real-world drive-cycle data from short-haul trucking operations to simulate different fleet charging strategies and then assess their infrastructure needs, estimating that most substations can currently support charging without upgrades.
See Borlaug et al.
No. 5 May 2021Preventing the cross-over
Polysulfide-based redox flow batteries have great potential for grid-scale storage, but they suffer from performance deterioration primarily due to active species cross-over through membranes. Yi-Chun Lu and team develop a Nafion-based membrane that prevents the cross-over and enables these batteries to achieve long-term operational stabilities.
See Lu et al.
No. 4 April 2021Making contacts
The power conversion efficiency of mainstream silicon photovoltaics is expected to saturate at 24% yet the use of charge-selective contacts that also minimize charge recombination could enable further improvements. Towards that aim, Richter et al. demonstrate a 26.0%-efficient solar cell by redesigning both the front-side (pictured) and rear-side contacts.
See Richter et al.
No. 3 March 2021Standing in the wind
Climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events putting energy infrastructure at risk. Bennett et al. develop a methodology to incorporate increasing extreme event risk into energy systems modelling and planning, and estimate the impact of improving grid resilience on the electricity cost for Puerto Rico.
See Bennett et al.
No. 2 February 2021NET result
Direct air capture (DAC) of CO2 is a promising negative emissions technology (NET) that could help to achieve climate targets. However, the energy and materials demands of DAC need to be better understood. Based on industrial data, Deutz and Bardow evaluate the environmental impacts of two DAC plants operated by Climeworks using life-cycle assessment.
See Deutz and Bardow.
No. 1 January 2021Now we are five
Nature Energy launched its first issue five years ago. To mark the occasion, this month we take a look back at some of our past content and catch up with some of our early authors.