Themed collection 2018 Energy and Environmental Science HOT Articles
Storing electricity as chemical energy: beyond traditional electrochemistry and double-layer compression
Local electric fields in IL-based supercapacitors can change the ionic coordination structure to store electric energy in the bulk of filled mesopores.
Electrochemical potential window of battery electrolytes: the HOMO–LUMO misconception
Electrolyte stability is governed by its oxidation and reduction potentials, not by the energy levels of its HOMO and LUMO.
Photoelectrochemical water splitting: an idea heading towards obsolescence?
The production of hydrogen from water and sunlight is a way to address the intermittency in renewable energy production, while simultaneously generating a versatile fuel and a valuable chemical feedstock. All approaches to solar hydrogen are, however, no equally promising.
Reconsidering figures of merit for performance and stability of perovskite photovoltaics
We propose a new approach for assessing the lifetimes of perovskite photovoltaics based on daily energy output which accounts for reversible diurnal changes.
CO2 reduction on gas-diffusion electrodes and why catalytic performance must be assessed at commercially-relevant conditions
The substantial implications of high current densities on the local reaction environment and design of catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction are addressed. The presented perspectives also reflect on current practices within the field and offer new opportunities for both future catalyst and system-focused research efforts.
An assessment of strategies for the development of solid-state adsorbents for vehicular hydrogen storage
We assess the strengths and weaknesses of strategies for creating nanoporous hydrogen storage sorbents.
Pathways to electrochemical solar-hydrogen technologies
Several application fields can benefit from solar-hydrogen technologies via specific short-term and long-term pathways.
Precision and correctness in the evaluation of electrocatalytic water splitting: revisiting activity parameters with a critical assessment
To avoid unnoticed errors made by researchers who are working in the area of nanostructured materials for water splitting, the correct and precise use of evaluation parameters is discussed in detail, stating their acceptability and validity.
The merit of perovskite's dimensionality; can this replace the 3D halide perovskite?
This perspective paper focuses on the dimensionality of organic–inorganic halide perovskites and their relevant advantages over 3D halide perovskites.
High thermoelectric performance of α-MgAgSb for power generation
α-MgAgSb based materials have recently gained popular attentions as a new promising p-type candidate for power generation.
New horizons for inorganic solid state ion conductors
This critical review presents the state of the art research progress, proposes strategies to improve the conductivity of solid electrolytes, discusses the chemical and electrochemical stabilities, and uncovers future perspectives for solid state batteries.
Dissolution, migration, and deposition of transition metal ions in Li-ion batteries exemplified by Mn-based cathodes – a critical review
This paper reviews the research activities on the mechanistic understanding and solutions to overcome the TM DMD process, from the earliest discoveries to the latest progress.
A search for selectivity to enable CO2 capture with porous adsorbents
Current attempts in materials science to increase the selectivity of CO2 physisorption from diluted sources are critically reviewed.
Environmental and economical perspectives of a glycerol biorefinery
Process assessment uncovers most state-of-the-art glycerol-valorisation technologies as attractive, unravels critical parameters for optimisation and highlights advantages of integration within a biorefinery.
Relative costs of transporting electrical and chemical energy
We estimate the energy transmission costs for new infrastructure needed to transition to a decarbonized energy system while meeting growing demand.
Ultrahigh-voltage integrated micro-supercapacitors with designable shapes and superior flexibility
A cost-effective and industrially applicable screen printing protocol is demonstrated for scalable fabrication of graphene-based planar integrated micro-supercapacitors, with shape diversity, outstanding flexibility and superior modularization.
A generic green solvent concept boosting the power conversion efficiency of all-polymer solar cells to 11%
Advances in organic photovoltaic technologies have always been closely associated with a deeper understanding of bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) microstructure morphology, which is generally governed by the ink-formulation based on a single solvent or solvent mixtures.
Large Nernst power factor over a broad temperature range in polycrystalline Weyl semimetal NbP
NbP shows larger Nernst power factor than its conventional power factor, highlighting the potential of topological semimetals for energy conversion based on transverse transport.
Electronic structure engineering to boost oxygen reduction activity by controlling the coordination of the central metal
FeCl1N4/CNS catalyst first realized a great improvement of ORR by controlling the electronic structure of central metal with coordinated chlorine.
A porphyrin covalent organic framework cathode for flexible Zn–air batteries
A porphyrin covalent organic framework cathode is fabricated under multiscale materials regulation for flexible Zn–air batteries.
Thermoswitchable on-chip microsupercapacitors: one potential self-protection solution for electronic devices
A microsupercapacitor with smart thermoresponsive behavior is demonstrated as one potential self-protection solution for on-chip electronic devices.
Beyond catalysis and membranes: visualizing and solving the challenge of electrode water accumulation and flooding in AEMFCs
Systematically controlling AEMFC electrode structure and water leads to record 1.9 W cm−2 performance with ETFE membranes/ionomers and PtRu/Pt catalysts.
A manganese hydride molecular sieve for practical hydrogen storage under ambient conditions
An amorphous manganese hydride molecular sieve that reversibly absorbs 10.5 wt% and 197 kgH2 m−3 hydrogen at room temperature using the Kubas interaction.
Highly stable single Pt atomic sites anchored on aniline-stacked graphene for hydrogen evolution reaction
Single-atom Pt sites stabilized by aniline stacked on graphene exhibit excellent electrocatalytic activity and durability for the hydrogen evolution reaction.
Protonic ceramic electrochemical cells for hydrogen production and electricity generation: exceptional reversibility, stability, and demonstrated faradaic efficiency
We demonstrate excellent performance and durability at intermediate temperatures (500–650 °C) upon reversible operation of an electrochemical cell incorporating a proton-permeable, high-activity mixed conducting oxide as the air electrode, a highly proton-conductive and chemically stable perovskite oxide as the electrolyte, and a composite of Ni and the electrolyte as the fuel electrode.
Mixed phononic and non-phononic transport in hybrid lead halide perovskites: glass-crystal duality, dynamical disorder, and anharmonicity
First-principles and classical modeling reveal a glass-crystal duality in the nature of vibrational transport in lead halide hybrid perovskites.
Nanomat Li–S batteries based on all-fibrous cathode/separator assemblies and reinforced Li metal anodes: towards ultrahigh energy density and flexibility
Nanomat Li–S batteries based on all-fibrous cathode/separator assemblies and reinforced Li metal anodes are presented to enable ultrahigh-energy-density and flexibility.
Investigating the BECCS resource nexus: delivering sustainable negative emissions
BECCS performance can be measured by a wide range of technical and sustainability indicators, which can be negatively correlated. An exclusive focus on BECCS technical performance – CO2 removal and electricity production, can result in negative consequences for the broader environment.
Sweat-based wearable energy harvesting-storage hybrid textile devices
The hybrid device, screen-printed on two sides of the fabric, is designed to scavenge biochemical energy from the wearer's sweat using a biofuel cell module, and to store the harvested bioenergy into the supercapacitor module for subsequent use.
Self-diffusion barriers: possible descriptors for dendrite growth in batteries?
A correlation between the height of metal self-diffusion barriers and the tendency towards dendrite growth in batteries is demonstrated.
Flexible lithium–CO2 battery with ultrahigh capacity and stable cycling
A flexible high-performance lithium–CO2 battery is developed using wood-based cathode as a novel platform for combining CO2 utilization and energy storage.
Soft phonon modes from off-center Ge atoms lead to ultralow thermal conductivity and superior thermoelectric performance in n-type PbSe–GeSe
The off-centered Ge leads to the ultralow lattice thermal conductivity and record high average ZT for n-type PbSe.
Driving towards cost-competitive biofuels through catalytic fast pyrolysis by rethinking catalyst selection and reactor configuration
Bifunctional fixed-bed catalysts improve CFP performance.
Fluoride graphdiyne as a free-standing electrode displaying ultra-stable and extraordinary high Li storage performance
Bottom-up fabrication of fluoride graphdiyne offers a versatile approach to the rational design of ultra-stable flexible 2D electrode materials.
Al3+ intercalation/de-intercalation-enabled dual-band electrochromic smart windows with a high optical modulation, quick response and long cycle life
An Al3+ intercalation/de-intercalation-enabled dual-band electrochromic smart window featuring simultaneously a high optical modulation, fast response and long cycle life.
Concentrated mixed cation acetate “water-in-salt” solutions as green and low-cost high voltage electrolytes for aqueous batteries
Challenge of developing new formulations of water-in-salt electrolytes are addressed via mixed cation strategy: cheaper (by at least an order of magnitude) and more soluble salts featuring alkali cations beyond lithium, such as potassium, are used to create the water-in-salt condition.
Water splitting by electrolysis at high current densities under 1.6 volts
A robust oxygen-evolving electrocatalyst was developed using a room-temperature strategy for water splitting at high current densities with low voltages.
Large area efficient interface layer free monolithic perovskite/homo-junction-silicon tandem solar cell with over 20% efficiency
A simple and scalable interface-layer free monolithic perovskite/silicon tandem has been demonstrated achieving over 20% efficiency on a large area.
Enabling alternative ethylene production through its selective adsorption in the metal–organic framework Mn2(m-dobdc)
The unique adsorptive properties of metal–organic frameworks open the door to new processes for energy and raw materials production.
Light-permeable, photoluminescent microbatteries embedded in the color filter of a screen
The prototype of a battery-in-screen configuration is constructed from photoluminescent zinc-ion batteries with a hydrogel electrolyte embedded with water-soluble quantum dots.
The use of poly-cation oxides to lower the temperature of two-step thermochemical water splitting
We report the discovery of a new class of oxides – poly-cation oxides (PCOs) – that consist of multiple cations and can thermochemically split water in a two-step cycle to produce hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2).
Design principles for high transition metal capacity in disordered rocksalt Li-ion cathodes
Design rules for high capacity disordered rocksalt Li-ion cathodes applied to the Li–Mn–V–O–F system.
A super hygroscopic hydrogel for harnessing ambient humidity for energy conservation and harvesting
Atmospheric humidity, an abundant source of water, is widely considered as a redundant resource demanding expense of energy to maintain it under comfortable levels for human habitation.
Stable solvent for solution-based electrical doping of semiconducting polymer films and its application to organic solar cells
A solution-based method to electrically p-dope organic semiconductors enabling the fabrication of organic solar cells with simplified geometry is implemented with acetonitrile as an alternative to nitromethane.
Upgrading the value of anaerobic digestion via chemical production from grid injected biomethane
Coupling decentralized biomethane generation to centralized CO production via gas grid redistribution can be an economically viable CO2 utilization strategy.
The role of the solid electrolyte interphase layer in preventing Li dendrite growth in solid-state batteries
The fundamental role of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer in preventing dendritic Li growth has been investigated in solid-state batteries.
Comprehensive control of voltage loss enables 11.7% efficient solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells
The unprecedentedly targeted down-regulation of Vloss in DSSCs renders a power conversion efficiency of 11.7% for solid-state DSSCs.
The energy return on investment of BECCS: is BECCS a threat to energy security?
Energy intensive supply chains and low power generation efficiency could challenge the ubiquitous assumption that BECCS is a net provider of electricity. Deploying a net negative energy technology at the EJ scale could represent a threat to energy security.
Thermochemical wastewater valorization via enhanced microbial toxicity tolerance
Engineering Pseudomonas putida for enhanced protein quality control machinery improves its toxicity tolerance.
Synergism induced exceptional capacity and complete reversibility in Mg–Y thin films: enabling next generation metal hydride electrodes
A novel strategy to design high capacity MH electrodes without using non-hydrogen-absorbing elements by inducing synergism.
Carbon dioxide in the cage: manganese metal–organic frameworks for high performance CO2 electrodes in Li–CO2 batteries
Manganese MOF-based cathodes achieve high discharge capacity, reduced overpotentials and promoted reversibility in Li–CO2 batteries.
Single-particle measurements of electrochemical kinetics in NMC and NCA cathodes for Li-ion batteries
Electrochemical kinetics of Li-ion battery cathodes are measured at single-particle level and combined with transmission X-ray microscopy to elucidate behavior during use.
Construction of hierarchical Ni–Co–P hollow nanobricks with oriented nanosheets for efficient overall water splitting
Novel Ni–Co–P hollow nanobricks are constructed with oriented nanosheets and manifest as an excellent bifunctional electrocatalyst for overall water splitting.
Tuning mobility and stability of lithium ion conductors based on lattice dynamics
Ionic conductivity and stability of Li-ion conductors are rationalized on the same footing using lattice-dynamics descriptors.
Efficient ternary non-fullerene polymer solar cells with PCE of 11.92% and FF of 76.5%
Highly efficient ternary non-fullerene PSCs were fabricated employing PBDB-T as the donor and mixed ITCPTC:IDT6CN-M as the acceptors.
Universal kinetic solvent effects in acid-catalyzed reactions of biomass-derived oxygenates
Experiments and molecular simulations are combined to understand organic solvent effects, enabling prediction of acid-catalyzed reaction rates for biomass conversion.
Minimum thermal conductivity in the context of diffuson-mediated thermal transport
Diffuson-mediated thermal transport suggests a lower minimum thermal conductivity than phonon models.
The nanoscale structure of the electrolyte–metal oxide interface
Combined experimental and theoretical insights into electrolyte–electrode interfaces relevant to lithium ion batteries.
Assessing the photovoltaic technology landscape: efficiency and energy return on investment (EROI)
This paper compared different photovoltaic technologies by using the method in the plot.
How small amounts of Ge modify the formation pathways and crystallization of kesterites
A fundamental analysis of the impact of Ge on the synthesis of Cu2ZnSnSe4:Ge by a sequential process is presented, reporting the consequences on the absorber morphology and solar cell devices performance.
Time for global action: an optimised cooperative approach towards effective climate change mitigation
An optimised cooperative approach for climate change mitigation where savings are fairly shared to bring significant economic and environmental benefits.
Impact of Ni content on the thermoelectric properties of half-Heusler TiNiSn
Thermoelectric properties vary dramatically between two boundary compositions of Ni-rich and Ni-poor TiNiSn, up to 25% in zT.
Designing high performance all-small-molecule solar cells with non-fullerene acceptors: comprehensive studies on photoexcitation dynamics and charge separation kinetics
High definition of all-small molecule materials for organic solar cells allows slow separation of localized charges.
Constructing canopy-shaped molecular architectures to create local Pt surface sites with high tolerance to H2S and CO for hydrogen electrooxidation
Pt surface is modified with 2,6-diacetylpyridine, which exhibits high H2S and CO tolerance for H2 oxidation through steric hindrance.
A lung-inspired approach to scalable and robust fuel cell design
Lung-inspired flow fields are employed to overcome reactant homogeneity issues in PEFCs, resulting in enhanced performance and minimal pressure drop.
Design and understanding of encapsulated perovskite solar cells to withstand temperature cycling
Perovskite solar cells retain their performance with temperature cycling using a compliant, ethylene vinyl acetate encapsulant.
Evaluating particle-suspension reactor designs for Z-scheme solar water splitting via transport and kinetic modeling
Simulations of coupled light absorption, transport and kinetics processes in a tandem, vertically-stacked particle-suspension reactor design for solar-water splitting.
About this collection
Welcome to our online rolling collection of the hottest work published in Energy and Environmental Science. Here we feature all 2018 Energy and Environmental Science articles highlighted as HOT by the handling editor or our referees. Congratulations to all the authors whose articles are featured.