|2019-08-02 来源： 中国石化新闻网|
由松下幸子(Sachiko Matsushita)博士领导的东京理工大学(Tokyo Institute of Technology)研究小组开发了一种电池，可以在100摄氏度甚至更低的温度下直接将热量转化为电能。科学家们称他们的发明为敏化热电池(STCs)，并说它们可以埋在地下，直接从地壳产生和储存电能。
邹勤 摘译自 今日油价
A Surprising Innovation In Energy’s Hottest Market
The world’s geothermal power generation capacity this year hit 14.9 GW. The figure is minuscule compared with fossil fuel or even renewable generation capacity but a figure that’s growing. And now, a team of scientists may have found a way to add a battery storage system tailored specifically for geothermal power.
Led by Dr. Sachiko Matsushita, the team from the Tokyo Institute of Technology has developed a battery that can convert heat directly into power at temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius or even less. The scientists have called their invention sensitized thermal cells (STCs) and say they can be buried in the ground and generate and store electricity directly from the Earth’s crust.
Here’s how they explain the process in simple terms: the STC is “a battery that consists of three layers sandwiched between electrodes: an electron transport layer (ETM), a semiconductor layer (germanium), and a solid electrolyte layer (copper ions). In short, electrons go from a low-energy state to a high-energy state in the semiconductor by becoming thermally excited and then get transferred naturally to the ETM.”
“Afterwards, they leave through the electrode, go through an external circuit, pass through the counter electrode, and then reach the electrolyte. Oxidation and reduction reactions involving copper ions take place at both interfaces of the electrolyte, resulting in low-energy electrons being transferred to the semiconductor layer so that the process can begin anew, thus completing an electric circuit.”
Initially, the team expected that electricity generation would stop at some point, when equilibrium is reached. But what they found with some surprise was that the reaction could restart with a simple flip of an on/off switch in the external circuit. Effectively, this means that you could bury two such batteries in a geothermal spot and use them to switch each other on and off to generate electricity, according to Matsushita.
Discoveries like this could indeed turn geothermal power into a more significant part of the world’s energy mix. While there aren’t as many of them as there are potential breakthroughs in other battery technologies, some successful work has been done in this field as well.
Earlier this year, for example, an Australian company announced it had designed the world’s first working thermal battery. CCT Energy Storage called its product a Thermal Energy Device and says it can accept electricity from any source and store it in the form of latent heat.
That battery works by heating up and melting a unique material and sports 12 times the energy density of a lead acid battery. When necessary, the power stored is extracted through a thermic generator.