Volume 6

  • No. 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.

  • No. 10 October 2021

    Degradation 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 2021

    Electrifying 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 2021

    Algorithms 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 2021

    Trending 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.

    See Ahmad

  • No. 6 June 2021

    Heavy-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 2021

    Preventing 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 2021

    Making 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 2021

    Standing 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 2021

    NET 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 2021

    Now 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.

    See Editorial