Zhang Jiujun Academy of Sciences: The future development of solar energy industry has to look at energy storage technology
2017-12-11

Non-renewable energy resource do not last long, and currently we store non-renewable energy resource for only 300 years and up to 150 years around the world to develop new sources of energy, of which solar energy is the top priority.


Zhang Jiujun, a member of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, believes that energy is an indispensable part of human life, but the environment of the earth is also a prerequisite for a healthy human life. However, the current energy development model has damaged the global environment. We urgently need to develop clean energy when energy is essential. The current use of non-renewable energy resource results in 31.6Gt of carbon dioxide emissions globally each year, causing the greenhouse effect to dissolve glaciers, extremes of weather (droughts and floods) and the disappearance of species.


In this context, solar energy has become an important direction for the adjustment of energy structure modes in various countries due to its sustainability and cleanliness. However, statistics show that at present, solar power accounts for only 2% of the total energy use. Why such a promising energy development is so slow?


Zhang Jiujun believes that the main reason is the existence of solar power instability, difficult to transport electricity, grid-connected, large investment, long return period and other issues. However, as long as the relevant energy storage technologies are developed, solar power can be stored and problems such as unstable power generation can be solved. Therefore, the development of clean energy such as solar energy must develop energy storage.


Mainstream energy storage technologies and trends


At present, the most reliable method of energy storage is electrochemical energy storage. Among them, the flow battery stores the energy in the electrolyte, which has the advantage of expanding the capacity arbitrarily. However, the low energy density requires the development of a new electrode material and the optimization of the system. Lithium-ion batteries are mainly used in the field of new energy vehicles. 80% of the lithium ion batteries returned by new energy vehicles can be applied to the field of energy storage, which has the advantages of high energy density and long service life. However, lithium-ion battery life relative to new energy vehicles is still not enough, still need to develop.


Taken together, lead-acid batteries are by far the most reliable and most suitable for commercial use in large-scale batteries. With low cost, high safety, and lead-acid battery materials can be completely recycled, which is its unique advantages. Therefore, lead-acid batteries in the solar energy storage can be very good development. The future also need to optimize the electrode and development, improve energy density, and reduce lead content.

In the new technology, supercapacitors charge and discharge time is fast, but the energy density is relatively low, but also need to improve. In addition, carbon dioxide electrochemical reduction for energy storage, the technology can save energy while reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but there are problems such as catalyst life is too short, which is a very strategic direction.


Finally, Zhang Jiujun predicts that by 2025, storage batteries will be large-scale applications in the field of solar energy, including the size of the flow battery will reach 3.8 billion US dollars, lithium-ion battery can reach 26.1 billion US dollars, lead-acid battery market will reach 40 billion U.S. dollars.


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