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Two new studies offer signs that this could be changing quickly. One offers a new way to produce solar cells more cheaply and safely than current methods. The other indicates that concentrating solar power, which uses the sun’s energy to heat up a liquid that drives a turbine, could supply “a substantial amount of current energy demand.”两项新的研究获取的迹象指出,这种状况有可能会很快再次发生转变。其中一项研究获取了一种全新的太阳能电池生产方式,它要比现有方法更加低廉,更加安全性。


另一项研究表明,探讨式太阳能发电系统(即用于太阳的能量来冷却液体,以驱动涡轮机,全称CSP)需要符合“目前相当大一部分能源需求。”In a study released Wednesday in journal Nature, University of Liverpool’s Jon Major and several other researchers announced that they had found that magnesium chloride, which is used in making tofu, bath salts and applied to roads in the winter could replace cadmium chloride in the making of second-generation, think-film solar cells.《大自然》杂志(Nature)上周三公布的一份研究报告中,利物浦大学(University of Liverpool)的乔恩o梅杰和其他几位研究人员声称,氯化镁可以代替生产第二代薄膜太阳能电池所用的氯化镉。氯化镁是制作豆腐和浴盐的原料,还能用来融化冬季道路上的冰雪。Speaking in a teleconference from Copenhagen, Major said magnesium chloride, which is extracted from seawater, would cost $0.001 per gram compared to $0.3 for cadmium chloride. It would also eliminate the challenges and expense of handling cadmium chloride, a highly toxic compound that requires elaborate safety measures to protect workers during its manufacture and a special disposal process when panels are no longer needed.梅杰在哥本哈根参与一个电视电话会议时回应,氯化镁源于海水,每克成本仅有为0.001美元,近高于每克0.3美元的氯化镉。

此外,它还需要避免处置氯化镉的挑战和费用——氯化镉是一种剧毒化合物,必须简单的安全措施来维护生产工人,荒废的电池板也必须一道类似的处理程序。“So what we have done without any loss of efficiency is to replace expensive and highly toxic material with one that is completely benign and much lower cost in the process,” Major said. “This offers a great cost benefit for production of these kinds of solar cells and could help make a step change in the production of them.”“所以,我们几乎可以用一种几乎良性而且成本低得多的物质来代替这种便宜且具有剧毒的原料,而且需要忍受任何效率损失,”梅杰说道。“对于各种太阳能电池的生产商来说,这是一项极大的成本收益,有可能推展生产过程发生巨变。

”The solar market is currently dominated by panels made with silicon. In a bid to make solar more competiti银河国际登录ve, there is growing interest from companies like First Solar in developing solar cells using cadmium telluride, which is more efficient and more flexible so it could be applied many more surfaces including windows.由硅做成的面板目前在太阳能市场占有着主导地位。为了提高太阳能的竞争力,诸如第一太阳能公司(First Solar)这类企业对研发碲化镉做成的太阳能电池更加感兴趣。这种材质更加有效率,更为灵活性,可应用于还包括窗户在内的更好表面。

To make these cadmium telluride cells, a thin layer of cadmium chloride is applied to the solar cell, and then heated up in a furnace. This is considered the activation process, Major said, helping boost a cell’s efficiency from around 1 percent to as much as 20 percent.生产碲化镉电池必须给太阳能电池加到一层薄薄的氯化镉,然后在炉中冷却。梅杰说道,这个环节被视作转录过程,可以有效地推展电池的效率从约1%提升到20%。

In a bid to find a safer alternative, Major and his team first looked at sodium chloride, but found the efficiency was about half of cadmium chloride. Another option was difluorochloromethane but that has been linked to ozone depletion and its use has been restricted by international agreements.找寻更加安全性的替代材料时,梅杰和他的团队最初考虑到的是氯化钠,但他们找到它的效率约只有氯化镉的一半。另一种自由选择是氯二氟甲烷,但它跟臭氧层耗尽有关,已被国际协议容许用于。


They then turned to magnesium chloride and found that it was just as efficient was comparable and could be applied without any expensive safety equipment.然后,他们改向氯化镁,找到这种物质的效率几乎可以跟氯化镉相媲美,而且不必须便宜的安全设备。Major said magnesium chloride isn’t being used at the moment, but was hopeful it “would be taken up by research and hopefully by industry once this work is publicized.”梅杰说道,氯化镁目前还没获得应用于,但他期望“一旦这项研究工作取得注目,就能取得产学界的接纳。”Steve Krum, the director of corporate communications for First Solar, would only say cadmium chloride remains “critical part” of its production process and that it was not a “major cost driver in our manufacturing process.”第一太阳能公司企业交流部主任史蒂夫o克鲁姆意味着回应,氯化镉依然是该公司生产过程的“最重要组成部分”,它并非“生产过程中主要的成本驱动因素。

”In the other solar study, researchers writing in Nature Climate Change this week said concentrating solar power or CSP could supply a large fraction of the power supply in much of the world. The researchers from the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis simulated the construction and operation of CSP systems in four regions around the world taking into account weather, electricity demand and costs. They found that CSP in the Mediterranean region, for example, could provide 70-80% of current electricity demand, at no extra cost compared to gas-fired power plants.《大自然气候变化》(Nature Climate Change)杂志本周公开发表的另一份太阳能研究报告表明,CSP系统可以解决问题世界大部分地区相当大一部分电力供应。来自奥地利国际应用于系统分析研究所(International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis)的研究人员仿真了CSP系统在全球四个地区的建设和运营情况,并充分考虑了天气、电力市场需求和成本等因素。他们找到,CSP系统可以符合地中海地区当前70-80%的电力市场需求,而且跟燃气电厂比起,它需要缴纳额外费用。“In order to address climate change we need to greatly expand our use of renewable energy systems,” said IIASA researcher Fabian Wagner, who also worked on the study. “The key question, though, is how much energy renewable systems can actually deliver.”“为了应付气候变化,我们必须增大对可再生能源系统的利用,”这项研究的参与者之一、国际应用于系统分析研究所研究员费边o瓦格纳说道。

“但关键问题是,可再生系统确实需要生产多少能源。”A huge challenge with deploying solar energy on a large scale is that the sun doesn’t shine all the time. That means that energy must be stored in some way. For photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight directly to electricity, this is especially difficult to overcome, because electricity is difficult to store.大规模部署太阳能的一个根本性挑战是,太阳并不是在所有时间都当空高照。