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TSS独家报道:推进电池技术:挫折和潜在解决方案

EXCLUSIVE: Advancing Battery Technology: Setbacks and Potential Solutions

By Rhodilee Jean A. Dolor

In 1936, a set of artifacts consists of a ceramic pot, a tub of copper and a rod of iron was discovered in a village in Iraq. Two years later, German archaeologist Wilhelm König took notice of the relic at the Baghdad Museum. He went on to publish a paper suggesting that the device, which he dated back to the third century BC, could have been a crude form of battery used for electroplating.

1936年,在伊拉克的一个村庄里发现了一套陶器,包括一个陶罐、一桶铜和一根铁棒。两年后,德国考古学家Wilhelm König在巴格达博物馆注意到了这件文物。他接着发表了一篇论文,认为这种设备可以追溯到公元前3世纪,可能是一种用于电镀的粗糙形式的电池。

Whether or not the so-called Baghdad Batteries were indeed batteries is still a subject of debate but energy storage has improved over time. In 1799, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta invented what is considered as the first true battery — a device consists of discs of copper and zinc separated by a cardboard soaked in salty water. Today, far more sophisticated batteries have emerged providing power for things ranging from earbuds to electric cars.

所谓的巴格达电池是否真的是电池仍然是一个争论的话题,但随着时间的推移,能量储存已经得到了改进。1799年,意大利物理学家亚历山德罗·沃尔塔发明了被认为是第一个真正意义上的电池——这是一种由铜和锌的圆盘组成的装置,由一块浸泡在盐水中的纸板隔开。如今,更复杂的电池已经出现,为从耳塞到电动汽车的各种东西提供电力。

State of Energy Storage Technology

储能技术现状

Demand for batteries is at an all-time high. According to electric car maker and clean energy company Tesla, its energy division, which installs solar panels, solar roofs and stationary energy storage products delivered a record number of batteries in the third quarter of the year. The company said that Tesla Energy’s energy storage deployment rose by 62% to 2.1 GWh YoY over the period, the highest in its record.

对电池的需求达到了历史最高水平。据电动汽车制造商和清洁能源公司特斯拉称,其安装太阳能电池板、太阳能屋顶和固定储能产品的能源部门在今年第三季度交付了创纪录的电池数量。该公司表示,特斯拉能源的储能部署在此期间增长了62%,达到2.1 GWh /年,为其历史最高水平。

With virtually everything being powered by energy now, researchers work on advancing battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries, the most popular and regularly used batteries today, for instance, saw significant improvement over the past decade. Lithium-Ion battery cell densities have nearly tripled between the years 2010 and 2020, which translates to lighter batteries and cheaper handling expenses in the supply chain.

现在几乎所有的东西都是由能源驱动的,研究人员致力于推进电池技术。例如,锂离子电池,当今最受欢迎和经常使用的电池,在过去十年中有了显著的改进。从2010年到2020年,锂离子电池的密度几乎翻了三倍,这意味着更轻的电池和更低的供应链处理费用。

Setbacks

挫折

Despite the improvements, there are still setbacks that researchers need to resolve amid rising demand for batteries. Mining lithium, the lightest known element on Earth that is used in batteries that power smartphones, laptops, electric vehicles and a number of other devices, damages the environment and affects communities. Cobalt and nickel, which are also used as materials in batteries, are also scarce and expensive.

尽管有了这些改进,但在电池需求不断增长的情况下,研究人员仍然需要解决一些挫折。锂是地球上已知的最轻的元素,用于为智能手机、笔记本电脑、电动汽车和许多其他设备供电的电池中,开采锂会破坏环境,影响社区。钴和镍也被用作电池的材料,它们也是稀缺和昂贵的。

“The extraction of lithium has significant environmental and social impacts, especially due to water pollution and depletion. In addition, toxic chemicals are needed to process lithium. The release of such chemicals through leaching, spills or air emissions can harm communities, ecosystems and food production,” reads a report published by Friends of the Earth on the implications of extracting lithium.

“锂的开采对环境和社会都有重大影响,特别是由于水的污染和枯竭。此外,加工锂需要有毒化学物质。这种化学物质通过浸出、泄漏或空气排放的方式释放出来,会危害社区、生态系统和粮食生产,”地球之友就提取锂的影响发表的一份报告中写道

The report also explained how mining lithium impacts the residents of communities where the extraction takes place.

该报告还解释了开采锂对当地社区居民的影响。

“In Chile’s Atacama salt flats, mining consumes, contaminates and diverts scarce water resources away from local communities. The extraction of lithium has caused water-related conflicts with different communities, such as the community of Toconao in the north of Chile. In Argentina’s Salar de Hombre Muerto, local communities claim that lithium operations have contaminated streams used for humans, livestock and crop irrigation.”

“在智利的阿塔卡马盐滩,采矿消耗、污染并转移了当地社区稀缺的水资源。锂的开采引起了不同社区与水相关的冲突,例如智利北部的Toconao社区。在阿根廷的Hombre Muerto Salar de Hombre Muerto,当地社区声称锂开采已经污染了用于人类、牲畜和作物灌溉的河流。”

Efficiency and safety are also core issues in battery technology. Despite significant improvements, batteries still do not last long enough and can even be potentially dangerous. A 2021 paper published in the MRS Bulletin explains the risks of energy storage.

效率和安全性也是电池技术的核心问题。尽管有了显著的改进,但电池的续航时间仍然不够长,甚至可能有潜在的危险。2021年发表在《MRS公报》上的一篇论文解释了储能的风险。

“In the case of batteries, thermal runaway occurs when an external or internal condition, causes the energy stored within the battery to begin to be released at a rate faster than it can be dissipated resulting in an uncontrolled temperature rise of the battery than can then result in violent venting, fire, and smoke.”

“就电池而言,当外部或内部条件发生时,就会发生热失控,导致电池内储存的能量开始以比其消散速度更快的速度释放,从而导致电池无法控制的温升,进而导致猛烈的排气、火灾和烟雾。”

Potential Solutions 

可能的解决方案

Given the scarcity, cost and environmental impact of materials currently used in batteries, researchers propose developing battery technologies that use more common and environmentally friendly materials.

考虑到目前用于电池的材料的稀缺性、成本和环境影响,研究人员建议开发使用更常见和环保材料的电池技术。

“Alternative types of electrode based on cheap, common metals such as iron and copper need to be developed urgently. In our view, the most promising candidates involve ‘conversion materials’, such as copper or iron fluorides and silicon. These store lithium ions by bonding chemically with them,” wrote Gleb Yushin, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and colleagues in a comment published in the journal Nature in 2018.

“我们迫切需要开发以铁和铜等廉价普通金属为基础的替代电极。在我们看来,最有希望的候选材料包括“转换材料”,如铜或氟化铁和硅。这些材料通过与锂离子形成化学键来储存锂离子,”乔治亚理工学院的Gleb Yushin及其同事在2018年发表在《自然》杂志上的一篇评论中写道

Researchers also explore using sustainable and more abundant materials. A team from the  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, for instance, has developed a prototype battery that uses seawater.

研究人员还探索使用可持续和更丰富的材料。例如,德国卡尔斯鲁厄理工学院(Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)的一个团队开发了一种使用海水的电池原型。

Researchers at Bemp Research Corp. also used hemp, a plant used in clothing, building materials and car parts to develop a  lithium-sulfur battery that the firm claims as cheaper, has higher performance and is more recyclable than lithium-ion batteries.

Bemp Research Corp.的研究人员还使用大麻(一种用于生产服装、建筑材料和汽车零部件的植物)开发了一种锂硫电池。该公司称,这种电池比锂离子电池更便宜、性能更高、更可回收。

“LiS/B4C-hemp is superior to Li-ion batteries in terms of gravimetric energy density, safety, and, most importantly, costs and environmental friendliness. Our chemistry uses lightweight and abundant materials such as sulfur, boron, and carbonized hemp – instead of heavy metals such as nickel and cobalt. LiS/B4C-hemp batteries will be great for heavy-duty trucks and electric airplanes,” said Bemp founder Son Nguyen.

“LiS/B4C-hemp在重量能量密度、安全性、最重要的是成本和环境友好性方面优于锂离子电池。我们的化学使用轻质和丰富的材料,如硫、硼和碳化大麻,而不是重金属,如镍和钴。LiS/ b4c -麻电池将非常适合重型卡车和电动飞机,”Bemp创始人Son Nguyen

Work on solid-state lithium-ion batteries, which use solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, is also currently underway.  These devices show promise in storing more energy compared with lithium-ion batteries. They also offer a safer alternative in terms of flammability.

使用固体电极和固体电解质的固态锂离子电池的研究也正在进行中。与锂离子电池相比,这些设备有望储存更多的能量。就可燃性而言,它们也提供了一种更安全的选择。

“The first huge advantage is a marked improvement in safety at cell and battery levels: solid electrolytes are non-flammable when heated, unlike their liquid counterparts. Second, it permits the use of innovative, high-voltage high-capacity materials, enabling denser, lighter batteries with better shelf-life as a result of reduced self-discharge,” explained battery company Said, which has been working on solid-state batteries.

“第一个巨大的优势是电池和电池水平的安全性显著提高:固体电解质在加热时不易燃,不像液体电解质。其次,它允许使用创新的、高压的、高容量的材料,使电池密度更大、重量更轻,由于自放电减少,电池的货架寿命更好。”一直致力于固态电池的电池公司赛德解释道

“At system level, it will bring additional advantages such as simplified mechanics as well as thermal and safety management.”

“在系统层面,它将带来额外的优势,如简化力学以及热和安全管理。”

Advancing Battery Technology

推进电池技术

It may still be years away before companies mass produce sustainable batteries that can meet the energy needs of the world, but thanks to the relentless efforts of researchers who are working to develop more efficient and safer batteries, energy storage has certainly come a long way from the crude ceramic batteries discovered in Iraq and Volta’s device.

企业要大规模生产出可满足世界能源需求的可持续电池可能还需要数年时间,但由于研究人员正在努力开发更高效、更安全的电池,从伊拉克发现的粗糙陶瓷电池到伏特的装置,储能技术肯定已经取得了长足的进步。

图片出处

STARSET_Mirror

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