中子技術 輪廓法 數值模擬

【深度科普(2/8)】中子散射技術的應用—能源

發布時間:2017-03-31

   


    過去的200年里,人們一直利用化石燃料燃燒產生的能源來支撐現代社會的發展。然而,隨著我們越來越關注氣候變化和能源供應的安全性,對于太陽能、風能、海洋能、氫氣、核能等能源的開發利用顯得尤為迫切。中子散射技術可以用于研發安全高效的新型儲氫材料,價格便宜的超薄太陽能電池,先進超導材料等。

    Energy created from burning fossil fuels has underpinned the major industrialization of the modern world over the last 200 years. As we become more concerned with climate change and the security of our energy supply, the desire to harness other forms of energy from solar, wind, wave, hydrogen and nuclear becomes more pressing. Neutron scattering can be used to study materials that can efficiently and safely store hydrogen, cheap-and-thin solar energy panel, super superconductor, etc. 


一、氫燃料的應用 Hydrogen-fueled society


    汽油和柴油是交通運輸的命脈,這些能源的利用為人們上下班及節假日出行提供了便利。但隨著化石燃料的枯竭及其所帶來的環境污染等問題的出現,人們迫切需要開發利用可再生的清潔能源。

    Petrol and diesel are the lifeblood of transport, fueling school runs and family holidays. But the depletion of fossil fuels and the environmental pollution arising from fossil fuels combustion are pushing scientists to explore renewable & sustainable clean energy sources.

 

    氫是宇宙中最豐富的元素,是一種完美的燃料。每單位重量的氫燃燒產生的能量是汽油的三倍,而氫燃燒的產物只有水,沒有污染性氣體排放。當今的科學技術能夠利用氫氣給汽車供電,但安全地制造和儲存氫氣仍是一個挑戰。汽車工業正致力于尋找安全、高效和低成本的儲存和運輸氫氣的方法。

    Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and is a perfect fuel. It has three times more energy than petrol per unit of weight, and when it burns it produces nothing but water. Today’s technology is capable of powering a car using hydrogen, but making and storing hydrogen safely is a challenge. The automotive industry is working to find safe, efficient and low-cost ways to store and transport hydrogen.

 

    中子能幫助我們逐步把氫燃料變成現實。在中子散射技術的幫助下,科學家已經發現了用于高效安全地儲存氫的新材料并設計了廉價又富含氫氣的固體來儲存和釋放氫氣,確保這些氫氣可以安全地應用于汽車和家庭。

    With neutrons, we are on the road to making hydrogen fuel a reality. Scientists using neutron scattering have designed inexpensive hydrogen-rich solids to store and release hydrogen that can be safely used in cars and homes.



“只需少許額外的費用,就可以將新型儲氫材料直接應用于汽車、飛機和其它交通工具,而駕駛者不會感到任何變化。”

——Stephen Bennington教授,Cella能源首席科學家


"Our new hydrogen storage materials offer real potential for running cars, planes and other vehicles with little extra cost and no extra inconvenience to the driver."

—— Professor Stephen Bennington, chief scientist, Cella Energy

二、柔性塑料太陽能電池 Flexible plastic solar cells


    太陽光照射地球一個小時產生的能量能滿足地球一年所需的能量,但是太陽能的采集應用尚未大規模推廣。

    In one hour, enough energy from sunlight falls on the Earth to satisfy the energy needs of the planet for a year, but large-scale harvesting of this enormous energy supply is only just starting. 

 

    塑料太陽能電池板的生產成本遠低于傳統的硅太陽能電池板。中子散射實驗已經證明,高效能的太陽能電池可以像保鮮膜一樣又薄又有彈性。太陽能電池可以通過在大面積上噴薄薄的一層混合聚合物來實現,這種生產方式既簡單又便宜。人類可以大批量生產出比人的頭發厚度小一千倍以上的太陽能電池薄膜,這些薄膜可用于制造輕便的太陽能電池裝置。

    Plastic polymer solar cells are much cheaper to produce than conventional silicon solar panels. Neutron scattering experiments have shown that efficient solar cells can be made from very thin films, with a flexibility like cling-film. These can be manufactured using very simple and inexpensive methods, by spreading a mix of polymers thinly over huge areas. High-volume manufacturing could produce films of solar cells that are over a thousand times thinner than the width of a human hair. These films could be used to make light and easily transportable solar cell devices.

 

    由于生產成本遠低于傳統的硅太陽能電池,這樣的塑料太陽能電池在未來極有可能大規模生產。

    Given that plastic polymer solar cells are much cheaper to produce than conventional silicon solar panels, they have the potential to be produced in large quantities.

“又便宜又有效的聚合物太陽能電池將會帶領我們進入一個可再生能源的新時代。”


——Richard Jones教授,謝菲爾德大學


"Ultra-cheap and efficient polymer solar cells that can cover huge areas could help move us into a new age of renewable energy."

——Professor Richard Jones,University of Sheffield


三、超級超導體 Super superconductor



    陶瓷,被稱為高溫超導體,當其被冷卻至-150oC以下時,就失去電阻。陶瓷制成的電線的導電能力比傳統銅線強140倍,具有100%的導電率。然而,盡管它們的使用范圍從醫學成像儀到先進推進器不斷擴大,但它們究竟如何工作仍然不得而知。

    The ceramics, known as high-temperature superconductors, lose all resistance to the flow of electricity when cooled below -150oC. However, wires made from the ceramics can conduct up to 140 times more power than conventional copper wires of the same dimension, carrying electricity with 100% efficiency. Yet despite their growing use in applications ranging from medical imaging scanners to revolutionary propulsion systems, exactly how they work remains a mystery.

 

    中子散射實驗所采集的數據,能幫助人們理解先進陶瓷超導材料無損傳輸電能的機理。借助英國ISIS(英國散裂中子源)和法國ILL(勞厄-朗之萬研究所)中子源所提供的靈敏中子儀器,我們可以清晰地看到超導體的內部。這些研究成果指導科學家們研發能在室溫條件下實現超導性的新材料。

    Striking images collected in neutron scattering experiments may be the clue to understanding how advanced ceramics can transmit electricity without losing energy. Uniquely sensitive neutron instruments available at ISIS(The UK's spallation neutron source near Oxford) and the ILL(Institut Laue-Langevin) are giving an unmatched clarity of vision into the interior world of superconductors. The unique results are guiding the search for new materials in the quest to make superconductivity take place at room temperature.


“我們發現電流在這些具有原子尺度弱磁相互作用的陶瓷材料中的傳輸最為有效。”

——Stephen Hayden教授,布里斯托大學


"We are finding that electric current is carried most efficiently in these materials when very weak atomic-scale magnetic interactions permeate the structure of the ceramics."

——Professor Stephen Hayden, University of Bristol


、核電站延壽 Extending the lifetime of nuclear power stations


    英國兩座核電站在中子散射技術的幫助下順利延長了服役壽命,繼續為國家電網供電。

    The lifetimes of two UK nuclear power stations have been extended allowing them to continue to supply electricity to the national grid.

 

    核電站里有數千個焊接組件,長時間服役容易引起材料老化。EDF能源公司與公開大學材料工程組合作,利用英國散裂中子源ISIS的Engin-X譜儀對四座先進氣冷堆的臨界焊接組件進行研究,用于滿足核電站運行的安全要求。

    Nuclear power stations contain thousands of welded joints which over time become vulnerable to material ageing. EDF Energy worked with the Open University Materials Engineering group studying critical welded components using the powerful Engin-X instrument at ISIS to satisfy safety regulators of the integrity of repair welds in four Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors.

 

    研究結果證實了焊接件的結構完整性,為這些核電站延長5年的使用壽命提供依據,推遲了兩座核電站(每座價值15億英鎊)的退役和更換。

    This study helped demonstrate that the welds retained their structural integrity, and supported 5-year life-extensions to be made for these power plants, deferring the need for decommissioning and replacement of two nuclear power stations at a cost of around £1.5 billion each.


“利用中子散射的焊接工藝研究,為四座先進氣冷堆核電站延長了5年使用壽命,使得不間斷發電成為現實。”

——EDF能源公司


"Neutron scattering studies of welding procedures have enabled uninterrupted electricity generation and allowed 5-year life extensions to be made for four Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors."

——EDF Energy



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