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The ever increasing demand for clean and secure energy has stimulated great interest in batteries, which may be charged by renewable and sustainable energy sources such as solar- and wind-based power. To date, unfortunately, the performance of existing batteries still falls far short of the requirements for many applications. For example, the performance and portability of many small electronic devices (from cell phones to laptop computers) are severely limited by the size, power, and life of existing batteries. In the transportation sector, the transition from hybrid electric vehicles to plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles hinges on the development of batteries with significantly improved energy and power density, durability, and reduced cost. For the practical application of large-scale solar- or wind-based electrical generation, advanced battery systems are vital to meeting continuous energy demands and leveling the intermittent and cyclic nature of these energy sources. Electrical energy-storage systems such as batteries play a vital role in achieving the next generation of energy and power supplies derived from renewable and sustainable sources. The performances of existing batteries are limited primarily by charge and mass transfer along their surfaces, across interfaces, and/or throughout porous electrodes. To meet the requirements for many practical applications, battery systems will require advanced electrodes with well-controlled nanoarchitectures and chemistries tailored for dramatic enhancements in energy and power density, catalytic activity, efficiency, durability, and operational life.

This special issue of Advanced Energy Materials is therefore a timely opportunity to highlight some of the exciting recent advances in R&D of batteries and their anode and cathode materials by renowned international authors and leading industries. In this special issue, newly emerging batteries, such as Na-ion batteries, lithium-air (oxygen) batteries, flow capacitors, and Li-redox flow batteries are reviewed to illustrate both the breadth of the high quality work and the important roles that fundamental research and practical application play in the development of sustainable clean-energy technologies. Anode and cathode materials for those batteries are also addressed in this special edition, ranging from porous Si, graphene, and organic materials to catalysts.

As a guest editor, I would like to thank all the authors for their efforts in submitting high-quality peer-reviewed articles that shed light on the research on the next generation batteries. I also hope that this special issue will provide a valuable reference and perspective for the research community working in this exciting field.

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Prof. Jaephil Cho Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 689–798, Korea E-mail: jpcho@unist.ac.kr