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电力汽车发展瓶颈 电池技术革新依然遥遥无期

时期:2022-12-21 00:18 点击数:
本文摘要:If you were to track the upgrades for your Apple iPhone or Toyota Prius from their introduction to today, you will see a familiar arc in the technology industry: performance multiplies, the product is refined, jobs are created, even entire


If you were to track the upgrades for your Apple iPhone or Toyota Prius from their introduction to today, you will see a familiar arc in the technology industry: performance multiplies, the product is refined, jobs are created, even entire industries are reworked.如果总结一下苹果公司(Apple)的iPhone或丰田(Toyota)普锐斯(Prius)混合动力车从最初型号到现有版本的发展过程,人们不会找到技术行业一个少见的轨迹:性能缩减到提高,产品更加精美,建构了无数低收入岗位,甚至政治宣传了整个行业。Consider, for example, that the iPhone’s theoretical maximum download speed on cellular networks went from 1 megabyte per second for the 2007 “2G” iPhone to 300 mbps for today’s 5s model. Its display more than doubled in pixel density, its camera transformed from cheap afterthought to serious photography tool, and its software capabilities are far more robust than when the device was introduced. (Even the App Store is a second-generation feature.)例如,iPhone在蜂窝网络中仅次于的理论下载速度已从2007年“2G”iPhone的1兆字节/秒下降至如今5s型号的300兆字节/秒。

其显示屏的像素密度减少了一倍多,摄像头已从廉价的配件改变为一种简单的摄影工具,而且其软件能力要比iPhone问世之时强劲太多太多。(即便是苹果应用于商店如今也已发展到第二代了。)Similarly, Toyota’s Prius hybrid car evolved from a neighborhood oddity (and celebrity eco-accessory) in 2000 to a best-selling vehicle in Japan and California. The engine in today’s model is 20 percent lighter (and offers 20 percent more total horsepower) than the original. Its distance-per-charge is longer. Without the Prius, it can be argued, there would be no Tesla.某种程度,丰田的普锐斯混合动力车从2000年的邻家怪胎(以及明星突显其环保态度的服饰)摇身一变为日本和加州最畅销的交通工具。当前车型引擎的重量较最初型号重了20%(总功率减少了20%),而且单次电池后行经的里程更长。

有人不会说道,没普锐斯,就会有如今的特斯拉电动车(Tesla)。There’s is one component of all of these things that hasn’t changed in that time period: the lithium-ion battery. Whether in the iPhone, the Prius, and even the Tesla Model S, the Li-ion battery is essentially made of the same stuff as those first introduced by Sony in 1991. That’s not to say that innovation hasn’t happened around them, of course. Device-makers have become better at charging them, cooling them, and controlling how much power they draw into our phones, cars, laptops, and USB gadgets. But they’re still largely the same battery. Even Tesla’s $5 billion plans for a “giga”-sized battery factory involve the manufacture of—you guessed it—lithium-ion packs.然而在这些设备中,有一个组件这些年来仍然没变化,那就是锂离子电池。


Upon further investigation, there is little consensus on what kind of battery technology may replace lithium ion. There aren’t even rumors.更进一步的调查找到,人们对于哪一种电池技术有可能需要代替锂电池仍是众说纷纭,甚至连这方面的谣言都是寥寥无几。To find out why, Fortune posed a simple question to five established researchers working on next-generation batteries, a behavioral economist, and a battery industry executive: Why is battery technology moving so much slower than hardware?为搜毕竟,《财富》(Fortune)向致力于研发下一代电池的5名著名研究人员、一名不道德经济学家和一名电池行业高管明确提出了一个非常简单的问题:为什么电池技术的发展速度要比硬件快如此之多?As you’ll soon find out, the answer is one part chemistry, one part psychology, and two parts the answer to a counter-question: Who really wants to be the first to drive with a new type of battery that hasn’t benefited from two decades of development?接下来你之后不会找到,答案的一成与化学有关,一成与心理学有关,而两成则与上述问题的质问有关:对于一项并未经过二十年发展的新电池技术,一旦装有上汽车,谁想要沦为首位驾驶员该车的人?Today’s battery tech: dense, hot, tricky当今的电池技术:密度大、发热量大、问题多Lithium-ion battery technology is in many ways the workhorse of portable power.锂离子电池技术在很多方面都是移动电源的主力军。

Lithium’s atomic number is three, which, if you remember middle-school chemistry, means that it has three protons, is very lightweight, and can be packed more densely than any element other than hydrogen or helium. Lithium is a known quantity to chemists, says Carlo Segre, professor of physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and we mostly understand how it flows inside a battery.锂的原子量是3,如果你还忘记中学化学的话,这意味著它有三个质子,十分重,是除了氢和氦之外单位体积可填满密度最低的元素。芝加哥伊利诺伊州理工大学(Illinois Institute of Technology)物理学教授卡洛o塞格雷回应,锂的物理量为化学家们所熟悉,我们完全掌控了锂离子在电池中流动的方式。“I think it really boils down to, the reason lithium is so good, is that it’s very light, and you can get it through a membrane very easily,” Segre says. “And the potential difference (voltage) you can generate is one of the highest we know.”塞格雷说道,“我指出归根结底,锂如此好的原因在于,它十分重,而且需要只能地击穿隔绝膜。

而且其产生的电压是未知材料中最低的之一。”It’s not just lithium that goes into a Li-ion battery. The element gets mixed with magnesium (for personal gadgets and vehicles), iron phosphate (for heavy-duty work), and other metals. That mixture flows into another material to create voltage: graphite, titanium solutions, silicon, and different forms of carbon, depending. In most non-industrial devices used in relatively safe conditions, you have lithium manganese oxide flowing into graphite, because those materials are cheap, relatively safe, and dense.锂并不是锂电池里的唯一材料,其中还混合有锰(个人电子产品和交通工具)、磷酸铁(高强度工作)和其他金属。为了产生电压,这种混合物不会流经另一种材料:石墨、钛溶液、硅和有所不同形式的碳(依情况而以定)。

对于大多数在比较安全性的环境中所用于的非工业设备来说,流经石墨的是锂锰氧化物,因为这种材料价格便宜,比较安全性,而且密度低。But there are quite a few problems with the old faithful. The process generates heat in a dense space, requiring some kind of cooling system. (A tremendous amount of work went into Tesla’s car-length liquid cooling rig, for example.) The electrolyte that conducts lithium’s flow adds weight. The cells lose their capacity over time. Charging the battery, which makes the lithium flow back, could be quicker. And though it’s rare, we have seen that tightly packed batteries full of fluids, made very hot, can sometimes puncture or explode.但是这一老产品也不存在一些问题。这一进程不会在一个高密度空间内产生热量,必须采行一些加热措施。


电池不会让锂离子转往,但这一进程可以更加慢一些。充满著电解质的高密度锂电池在发热量多达一定程度之后有时不会爆浆或发生爆炸,虽然这一情况很少闻。What we might use next: air今后我们可能会用于空气Chandrasekhar “Spike” Narayan, director of science and technology at IBM Research, is part of the Battery 500 Project. The goal is to get batteries to power a car of average cost on a 500-mile trip. IBM won’t build the batteries itself, but will partner with manufacturing and consumer companies to get them into the wild.IBM研究院(IBM Research)科技部主任钱德拉塞卡尔o纳拉延是电池500项目(Battery 500 Project)的成员。


After years of work, Narayan sees a future for lithium-air technology, which replaces graphite and other metals with oxygen, refreshed by the car itself. Such batteries could be lighter, safer, and last far longer. But working with new mixtures, pushing them into new materials, and seeing how safe they are over thousands of charge cycles takes a very, very long time.经过多年的希望之后,纳拉延看见了锂-空气技术的前景,即用汽车自身给养的氧气代替石墨和其他的金属。这类电池可以显得更加重,更加安全性,而且供电时间也更长。但是研发新的混合物,将它们做成新材料,并检测其在数千辆汽车上的安全性,必须花费十分漫长的时间。

“There is no guiding principle that suggests you get improvement from year to year,” Narayan says. “There is no magic knob you can turn. The only way we can get to that kind of paradigm is a completely new kind of chemistry, and innovation doesn’t work like that.”纳拉延说道:“目前没一个指导性原则表明,我们需要年复一年地取得变革,也没捷径可以回头。要获得这种范式,唯有创立一种全新的化学反应,而这一点并非创意所能匹敌的。

”Currently, lithium-air batteries have to overcome problems with blockages, internal rust, and stability. Even if air batteries are smoothed into a viable product, Narayan sees a future where battery technology is no longer one-size-fits all. “It may not be a great technology for power grid storage, for example. Especially when there is a size requirement, we may see differentiation among battery types soon.”当前,锂-空气电池必需解决阻塞、内部生锈和稳定性问题。即便空气电池需要成功地演进为一种不切实际产品,纳拉延指出,在今后,电池技术将仍然是“通用型”。

“例如,对于电网存储来说,它也许不是什么好技术。特别是在是有尺寸拒绝的行业,我们也许迅速将看见多种多样的电池类型。”What we can do in the meantime: get cheaper当前我们能做到些什么:减少价格Kevin Bai and Xuan “Joe” Zhou at Kettering University work in labs and in battery industry research, but they talk like car shoppers than laboratory wonks. With the hybrid vehicles of today, Zhou notes, there are lots of trade-offs, in several ways.凯特林大学(Kettering University)的凯文o红和周轩(音译)在实验室中专门从事电池行业研究,但他们的谈吐更加看起来买车人而不是实验室的书呆子。

周轩回应,现今的混合动力车不存在多方面的优缺点。“Right now [hybrid] batteries are selling for $500 to $600 per kilowatt hour, but they should be $200,” Zhou says. “And every dollar you spend in the battery is another dollar in cooling. If the car needs a $6,000 battery, it’s a $6,000 cooling system.” What’s more, Bai notes, the size of such a battery eats up trunk or seating space. The scientists agree that an electric vehicle should feel like less of a financial albatross.周轩说道:“目前,混合动力的售价是每千瓦时500-600美元,但合理的价格应当是200美元。而且冷却系统的价格跟电池的价格是差不多的。


两位科学家也指出,电动汽车不该给人们带给沈重的财务开销。But it’s anybody’s guess as to which current materials may work out to have the safest, coolest, and most lightweight mix, while still selling for less than today’s offerings.但是谁也不告诉,哪些现有材料才能结构出有最安全性、发热量低于和重量最重的电池混合材料,而且其价格要比现有的产品低廉。

Zinc-air batteries, used in hearing aids today, are seeing renewed interest, especially given zinc’s easy availability. The same goes for sodium-air, which are cheaper and easier to assemble, if not as potentially powerful as lithium-air. There are also attempts to replace the graphite and carbon solids in batteries with silicon, though silicon isn’t cheap. Or we might just improve the cost and performance of the lithium-iron batteries in our drills and motorcycles in the meantime.现今在助听领域用于的锌-空气电池新的引发了人们的兴趣,而且尤为重要的一点在于,锌很更容易提供。钠-空气电池也是一样,成本更加较低,而且装配一起更容易,只是潜在功率追不上锂-空气电池。人们还尝试过用硅来代替石墨和液体碳,但是硅并不低廉。

或者,我们可以只专心于提高实验室和摩托车用于的锂-铁电池的成本和性能。In many ways, Bai says, building larger battery plants, better battery management tools, and a smarter power grid for charging is going to bear greater fruit than waiting on one or another chemical combo to pay off.凯文o白回应,修建更加大规模的电池厂、研发更佳的电池管理工具以及更为智能的电池电网在很多方面要比等候一两项新的化合物获得成功更加觉得。“We are actually very far away from a brand-new battery for vehicles,” Bai says. “The automotive industry, they must feel they can stand behind 10 years of testing before they are comfortable trying a new material.” It will be at least 2020, he says, before you see zinc-air batteries in the first four-wheeled vehicles–and then a long while more before that battery technology matures.凯文o红说道:“我们实质上离用于全新电池的交通工具还较远较远。只有在新材料经过10年的测试之后,汽车行业才能放心使用新材料。

”他回应,人们最少要等到2020年才能看到用于锌-空气电池的四轮车辆,然后,人们必须更长的时间才能看见这一电池技术的成熟期。What we can do in the future: nano-engineer materials未来我们能做到什么:纳米工程材料Don’t give up on lithium-ion just yet, says Partha Mukherjee, a professor at Texas AM University and leader in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Nanoengineering for Energy and Sustainability group. We might still be using it, but with materials that have gained some new powers in the lab.德克萨斯农工大学(AM University)教授、美国机械工程师协会(American Society of Mechanical Engineers)能源和可持续性纳米工程小组成员帕沙o穆克荷吉回应,现在还到时退出锂离子电池的时候。

我们有可能仍不会用它,但它将与我们在实验室中取得新的能力的材料混合用于。Nanoengineers might dig into the molecular structure of battery materials to speed up how they transfer more voltage per cell. There might be a change in the way the electrolyte conveys lithium ions so that “traffic jams” don’t occur and charging is much faster. You could design a thinner, stronger, but still flexible membrane for batteries that allows for swelling under heat but never breaks. Or go for broke and develop a material that absorbs more lithium ions than carbon, air, or any material we know.纳米工程师可能会对电池材料的分子结构展开深入研究,以加快电池单元电压的产生速度,并提高其切换效率。电解质装载锂离子的方式可能会再次发生转变,以杜绝“交通拥堵现象”,并延长电池时间。

人们可能会设计出有更加厚、更加强劲但前端仍然自如的电池膜,这样,即便电池不受热膨胀,也会爆浆。或者一心一意研发需要比碳、空气或任何未知材料导电更加多锂离子的材料。“The fundamental question we need to ask is, ‘How about starting from the bottom up?” Mukherjee says. “That is the mesoscale paradigm that must be addressed. Can we make materials that are more tolerant of what we need batteries to do?”穆克荷吉说道:“我们必须告知的最显然的问题在于,‘否可以从头再来?’。这就是必需解决问题的中尺度模型。

我们否能减少材料的宽容度,以符合我们对于电池的表达意见?”In the meantime: get perspective与此同时:侧重将来A year ago Segre, of the Illinois Institute of Technology, received a $3.4 million prize from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a “flow battery” for car applications. Flow batteries store their active chemicals in external tanks and pass it through the battery structure itself. Segre’s work focuses on developing a liquid that is reactive and powerful enough to compensate for the liquid weight trade-off.一年前,伊利诺伊理工大学的塞格雷从美国能源部取得了340万美元的奖金,用作研发汽车用“流体电池”。流体电池将其活性化合物储存在外部储罐中,然后流经电池结构内部。塞格雷的工作专心于研发具备充足活性和能量的液体介质,以抵销液体的重量劣势。

A flow battery might work in cars and power grid applications, but it will never work for a phone or laptop. Segre, like most researchers, knows it will be a long series of experiments until researchers hit upon a few different material combinations for batteries. In the meantime, “It’s especially frustrating for most of us because the battery dies, the capacity drops, after a couple years, while the electronics it powers could go on and on.”流体电池也许可以应用于汽车和电网,但却无法限于于手机或笔记本。与其他的研究人员一样,塞格雷自知,这将是一个漫长的实验过程,除非研究人员需要在偶然间找到几种能用作电池的有所不同材料人组。与此同时,“对于大多数人来说,这是一件最为伤痛的事情,因为几年过后,电量没有了,容量也上升了,然而电池供电的电子产品却在不断前进。

”For decades, we lived within Moore’s Law, which predicted that the number of transistors packed into a processor would double every two years, providing a steady gallop of technology improvement. We are now approaching a point at which transistors are near atomic-scale, chips can’t fit many more processors, and we’re unhappy with having the same kinds of batteries in our devices.过去几十年中,我们仍然生活在摩尔定律(Moores Law)当中。根据该定律,处理器中的晶体管数量每两年不会翻一番,而这也说明了技术变革的稳定性。我们目前所面对的局势是,晶体管尺寸已相似原子水平,芯片无法容纳更好的处理器,而且我们对设备中一成不变的电池深感反感。

In other words, when it comes to physics, there’s no app for that. Which can be a bitter pill for tech-savvy consumers to swallow as they become acclimated to regular advancements in every other part of their electronic devices, says Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University.换句话来说,物理中是没应用程序的。金门大学(Golden Gate University)市场营销教授米盖尔o安o斯特拉赫维茨回应,这对于有为技术的消费者来说有可能有点无法拒绝接受,因为他们早已习惯了电子设备每一部件都会定期改进。“Adapting to upgrades is easy, and the more you are upgraded, the more you expect further upgrades,” Strahilevitz says. “In a world where [gadgets] keep getting better and more efficient, we feel we have a right to that. We ask, ‘Why can’t they be more wonderful than this?”斯特拉赫维茨说道:“适应环境升级很更容易,获得的升级就越多,对更进一步升级的希望也就越大。在这个电子产品更加好,性能更加低的世界中,我们实在这是我们不应拥有的权利。




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