Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 7 Issue 12, December 2022

Cool proton-conducting channels

Solid oxide materials typically need high temperatures to allow appreciable ion transport, limiting their flexibility as electrolytes for energy devices. Lu et al. now show unusually high proton conductivity in a hydrogenated oxide between 40 °C and 140 °C, which they attribute to ordered vacancy channels and high proton concentrations.

See Lu et al. and News and Views by Bisht and Ramanathan

Image: Xin Zhou Cover Design: Thomas Phillips.

Comment & Opinion

  • Lyndsey McMillon-Brown explores how to recognize burnout and actions that can be taken to prevent it in ourselves and our colleagues.

    • Lyndsey McMillon-Brown
    World View


  • Ammonia has been proposed as a shipping fuel, yet potential adverse side-effects are poorly understood. We argue that if nitrogen releases from ammonia are not tightly controlled, the scale of the demands of maritime transport are such that the global nitrogen cycle could be substantially altered.

    • Paul Wolfram
    • Page Kyle
    • Steven Smith
  • Dr Mohammad Hadi Mohammadi, Council for At-Risk Academics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, shares with Nature Energy their story about fleeing Afghanistan, settling down in the UK and their hope to return home one day.

    • Giulia Tregnago
Top of page ⤴

Research Highlights

Top of page ⤴

News & Views

  • Charge generation in organic photovoltaics hinges upon the frontier molecular orbital energies of organic semiconductors, yet their precise determination is not trivial. Now, researchers compare various methods to determine these energies and show the need for an energy level offset to assist charge generation in non-fullerene-based solar cells.

    • Thuc-Quyen Nguyen
    News & Views
  • The growing proportion of renewable energy increases the need to align consumer consumption behaviours with fluctuating energy supply. A new study pairs objective smart meter electricity data with subjective survey data to offer important insights into whether consumers are aware of their own electricity use patterns and thus whether they are prepared for an increasingly dynamic energy system.

    • Ulf J. J. Hahnel
    News & Views
  • Achieving high ionic conductivity at close to room temperature in solid oxide electrolytes is challenging due to the large thermal activation needed for ion transport. Now, a hydrogen-intercalated brownmillerite oxide, SrCoO2.5, has been shown to function as a high-performance proton conducting electrolyte for fuel cells below 200°C.

    • Ravindra Singh Bisht
    • Shriram Ramanathan
    News & Views
  • One of the biggest hurdles to realise high-performance Li-metal batteries is the instability of Li metal towards all relevant electrolytes. Now, an approach is reported to improve Li cells’ stability by upshifting the Li electrodes’ potential to reduce their voltage gap with the electrolyte electrochemical stability windows.

    • Doron Aurbach
    • Mikhael Levi
    • Netanel Shpigel
    News & Views
Top of page ⤴

Research Briefings

  • Real-time tracking of the dynamic chemistry in commercial batteries by infrared fibre spectroscopy provides insight into the parasitic reactions that occur at the electrodes and in the electrolyte. This chemical-sensing method enables identification of chemical species and observation of Na(Li) inventory changes upon cycling, providing essential information for improving battery technology.

    Research Briefing
  • A phase heterojunction (PHJ) solar cell is formed by interfacing two phases of the perovskite CsPbI3 — each of which exhibits different opto-electronic properties. Devices based on PHJs reach a maximum power conversion efficiency of 20.17%, surpassing the 15% achieved by devices based on either of the single phases alone.

    Research Briefing
Top of page ⤴


  • The development of high-energy Li-ion batteries is being geared towards cobalt-free cathodes because of economic and social–environmental concerns. Here the authors analyse the chemistry, thermodynamics and resource potential of these strategic transition metals, and propose that the use of cobalt will likely continue.

    • William E. Gent
    • Grace M. Busse
    • Kurt Z. House
Top of page ⤴


  • Projects are under way for direct-current ultra-high-voltage transmission lines that would allow trading of renewable electricity across world regions. Guo et al. use integrated assessment models to explore different scenarios for the operation of these projects and assess their potential for decarbonization.

    • Fei Guo
    • Bas J. van Ruijven
    • Yuanbing Zhou
  • It is challenging to decipher electrochemical processes, especially at the molecular scale, inside a working battery. Here Tarascon and colleagues develop a technique that pairs optical fibre sensors with operando infrared spectroscopy to reveal the dynamic mechanisms of key processes in commercial Li-ion and Na-ion batteries.

    • C. Gervillié-Mouravieff
    • C. Boussard-Plédel
    • J.-M. Tarascon
  • Fabricating perovskite heterojunctions is challenging. Now, Ji et al. form a phase heterojunction with two polymorphs of CsPbI3, leading to 20.1% efficiency in inorganic perovskite solar cells.

    • Ran Ji
    • Zongbao Zhang
    • Yana Vaynzof
    Article Open Access
  • How well households understand their own energy usage patterns may impact the effectiveness of demand response initiatives. Zanocco et al. find that only half of a sample of California households were able to identify their own usage pattern from among four test patterns before COVID-19 restrictions.

    • Chad Zanocco
    • Tao Sun
    • Hilary Boudet
  • Solid oxide ionic conductors typically require elevated temperature to activate ionic transport. Here the authors report unusually high proton conductivity close to room temperature in a hydrogenated oxide, HSrCoO2.5, which they attribute to the intrinsically ordered oxygen vacancy channels and high proton concentration.

    • Nianpeng Lu
    • Zhuo Zhang
    • Pu Yu
  • It is a challenging task to understand the reversibility of lithium-metal anodes in batteries. Here the authors identify the lithium electrode potential as a critical factor that affects the anode reversibility and subsequently propose an electrolyte design to improve the cycling performance.

    • Seongjae Ko
    • Tomohiro Obukata
    • Yuki Yamada
Top of page ⤴


Quick links