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当前位置: Science » 科学&政策 » Science:化学家发明了维生素动力电池


摘要 : 维生素好处可能不仅只限于强身健体。它们也可以为电池充电。


维生素好处可能不仅只限于强身健体。它们也可以为电池充电。最新版本的有机流电池用碳基有机化合物代替金属离子来携带电荷,为此,科学家们已经用类似维生素B2核心的分子来携带能量。像其他液流电池一样,这个新电池在两种液体中储存能量,随着液体相互流动,通过隔膜交换电子产生电流。因为液体可以被储藏在大型罐里,所以这些电池有可能储存来自风能和太阳能这类可再生能源几天的能量。这些液体通常使用诸如钒这样的金属来运送电子。但这样的金属往往很昂贵或具有腐蚀性。而有机物,无论是来自石油、植物还是其他的地方都是好的电子载体。两年前,研究人员使用来自大黄的一种化合物创造了首个有机流电池。现在,同组研究人员本周在《自然能源》网络版上报告称他们已经用B2的核心(上图)——咯嗪 (alloxazine)——创造了一个类似的电池。如果可以让这个新电池升级,那么它的生产成本会比金属类电池便宜,因为B2化合物可以轻易地在室温下用常见的原料制成。此外,毒性也会更低。在成本方面,和大黄电池平分秋色的、由维生素启发的材料代表了一个新的有机载体类别,可以以不同方式定制,例如用来提高电池电压或为了提高充电周期来配对液体。但这仍有待观察。与此同时,科学家们也必须将维生素和其他有机化合物放到现实实践中进行测试,看看哪个效果最好。


Chemists create vitamin-powered battery


Vitamins may be good for more than strong bones and healthy bodies. They might also be good for powering batteries. In the latest version of an organic flow battery—which uses carbon-based organic compounds instead of metal ions to carry charges—scientists have introduced a molecule similar to the core of vitamin B2 to carry energy. Like other flow batteries, this one stores energy in two liquids and generates an electrical current as the liquids flow past each other, trading electrons across a membrane. Because the liquids can be housed in large tanks, these batteries have the potential to store days’ worth of energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The liquids typically use metals, such as vanadium, to shuttle electrons. But these metals tend to be expensive or corrosive. Organics, whether from petroleum, plants, or other places, are also good electron shuttles. Two years ago, researchers created the first organic flow battery using a compound commonly found in rhubarb. Now, the same group reports online this week in Nature Energy that it has created a similar battery with alloxazine, the backbone of B2 (above). If the new battery can be scaled up, it would be cheaper to produce than the metal variety, as the B2 compound can be readily made from common starting materials at room temperature. Plus, it would be less toxic. On par with the rhubarb battery in terms of cost, the vitamin-inspired material represents a new class of organic shuttle that might be tailored in different ways—to increase battery voltage or to pair liquids for more charge cycles, for example. But that remains to be seen. In the meantime, scientists will have to take their vitamins—and other organic compounds—to tests in the real world to see which work best.

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