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打造绿色经济,搞定电池就成功了一半

打造绿色经济,搞定电池就成功了一半

Michael Insulan, Benedikt Sobotka 2021年06月24日
很少有人意识到电池在创建绿色未来方面的巨大潜力。

电池有望成为人类创建绿色未来的关键。图片来源:Costfoto/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

展望未来,面对后疫情时代的不确定性和气候变化的威胁,全世界逐渐认识到人类面临的诸多挑战。然而,很少有人意识到电池在创建绿色未来方面的巨大潜力。

锂离子电池体积小巧,通常被隐藏在电子设备内部,但它们是我们日常生活中不可或缺的一部分。我们每天使用的许多技术,包括智能手机、平板电脑和计算机等,都离不开锂离子电池。类似的电池被广泛应用于无人机、医疗器械、园艺设备等各种用途。[欧亚资源集团(Eurasian Resources Group)和First Cobalt公司(First Cobalt Corp.)供应生产锂离子电池的原材料钴。]

毫无疑问,锂离子电池最重要的最终用途是电动汽车。2020年,虽然在新冠疫情期间,汽车的总销量下滑了五分之一,但全球电动汽车的销量年同比却增长了43%,总计超过300万辆。电动汽车将改变全球的碳消耗进程,因此,锂离子电池将成为实现可持续未来的关键一环。

未来几十年,我们会看到对锂、钴、镍、石墨等电池核心原材料的需求激增,造成这种现象的其中一个关键因素是新能源汽车市场的增长。

此外,环境可持续性和新能源汽车也是各国在后疫情时代实施经济刺激计划的核心,欧洲和亚洲国家纷纷发布了致力于实现绿色复苏的一揽子计划。以负责任的方式开采的重要金属将是此次全球经济复苏的基础。然而,我们必须注意到在增加电池原材料供应方面的诸多挑战。

首先,由于新项目有较长的前置时间并且需要投入大量资本,因此电池原材料的价格未来将持续上涨。技术进步和规模经济从长远来看能够帮助降低采矿成本,但由于最容易开展的原材料项目早已投产,而在近期内新矿藏的开发成本更高。

加强供应链安全也是电池行业未来发展的关键。刚果民主共和国约占全球钴产量的70%,作为电池原材料的钴绝大部分产自这个国家。因此,刚果民主共和国依旧将是这些金属的主要供应国。

然而,在电池原材料加工行业,中国的主导地位未来可能受到挑战。中国目前在该行业的市场份额预计达到80%。

但欧洲和北美已经开始采取措施吸引电池生产商,下一步将是支持发展电池原材料加工产能。因此,西方国家政府应该会扶持国内的电池原材料项目,与中国同行公平竞争。

提高价值链的透明度和支持循环利用,是保证价值链在环境、社会和经济等方面具有可行性的关键。

长远目标应该是通过区块链等解决方案,验证企业在环境、社会和治理(ESG)方面的合规情况以及原材料的来源,从而加快负责任采购,推广可持续发展。实现这些目标是全球电池联盟(Global Battery Alliance)推行其核心计划“电池护照”(Battery Passport)的关键。该计划旨在对电池的可持续性和环境影响进行认证,提高透明度。(欧亚资源集团是全球电池联盟的创始会员,该联盟由大企业、国际组织和非政府组织组成,旨在携手提高电池供应链的可持续性。)

下一个世纪,电池将变得无处不在。我们预计物联网将日益普及,即使偏远地区也将接入物联网,让所有物品都可以通过互联网与设备之间成功交换数据。电池将是驱动传感器的关键,使传感器即便在远离电网的地方也能够传输数据。

机器人也会创造许多应用电池的机会。随着自动化技术的日益普及,机器人开始取代人类,用高效、安全的方式从事一些通常具有危险性的特殊任务。

电池技术将继续改变我们的生活方式,它将在供应清洁可持续电力方面发挥核心作用,并逐渐改变我们的储能解决方案。(财富中文网)

本文作者迈克尔•因素兰为First Cobalt公司的商务副总裁。

贝内迪克特•索博特卡是欧亚资源集团的首席执行官及全球电池联盟的联席主席。

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

展望未来,面对后疫情时代的不确定性和气候变化的威胁,全世界逐渐认识到人类面临的诸多挑战。然而,很少有人意识到电池在创建绿色未来方面的巨大潜力。

锂离子电池体积小巧,通常被隐藏在电子设备内部,但它们是我们日常生活中不可或缺的一部分。我们每天使用的许多技术,包括智能手机、平板电脑和计算机等,都离不开锂离子电池。类似的电池被广泛应用于无人机、医疗器械、园艺设备等各种用途。[欧亚资源集团(Eurasian Resources Group)和First Cobalt公司(First Cobalt Corp.)供应生产锂离子电池的原材料钴。]

毫无疑问,锂离子电池最重要的最终用途是电动汽车。2020年,虽然在新冠疫情期间,汽车的总销量下滑了五分之一,但全球电动汽车的销量年同比却增长了43%,总计超过300万辆。电动汽车将改变全球的碳消耗进程,因此,锂离子电池将成为实现可持续未来的关键一环。

未来几十年,我们会看到对锂、钴、镍、石墨等电池核心原材料的需求激增,造成这种现象的其中一个关键因素是新能源汽车市场的增长。

此外,环境可持续性和新能源汽车也是各国在后疫情时代实施经济刺激计划的核心,欧洲和亚洲国家纷纷发布了致力于实现绿色复苏的一揽子计划。以负责任的方式开采的重要金属将是此次全球经济复苏的基础。然而,我们必须注意到在增加电池原材料供应方面的诸多挑战。

首先,由于新项目有较长的前置时间并且需要投入大量资本,因此电池原材料的价格未来将持续上涨。技术进步和规模经济从长远来看能够帮助降低采矿成本,但由于最容易开展的原材料项目早已投产,而在近期内新矿藏的开发成本更高。

加强供应链安全也是电池行业未来发展的关键。刚果民主共和国约占全球钴产量的70%,作为电池原材料的钴绝大部分产自这个国家。因此,刚果民主共和国依旧将是这些金属的主要供应国。

然而,在电池原材料加工行业,中国的主导地位未来可能受到挑战。中国目前在该行业的市场份额预计达到80%。

但欧洲和北美已经开始采取措施吸引电池生产商,下一步将是支持发展电池原材料加工产能。因此,西方国家政府应该会扶持国内的电池原材料项目,与中国同行公平竞争。

提高价值链的透明度和支持循环利用,是保证价值链在环境、社会和经济等方面具有可行性的关键。

长远目标应该是通过区块链等解决方案,验证企业在环境、社会和治理(ESG)方面的合规情况以及原材料的来源,从而加快负责任采购,推广可持续发展。实现这些目标是全球电池联盟(Global Battery Alliance)推行其核心计划“电池护照”(Battery Passport)的关键。该计划旨在对电池的可持续性和环境影响进行认证,提高透明度。(欧亚资源集团是全球电池联盟的创始会员,该联盟由大企业、国际组织和非政府组织组成,旨在携手提高电池供应链的可持续性。)

下一个世纪,电池将变得无处不在。我们预计物联网将日益普及,即使偏远地区也将接入物联网,让所有物品都可以通过互联网与设备之间成功交换数据。电池将是驱动传感器的关键,使传感器即便在远离电网的地方也能够传输数据。

机器人也会创造许多应用电池的机会。随着自动化技术的日益普及,机器人开始取代人类,用高效、安全的方式从事一些通常具有危险性的特殊任务。

电池技术将继续改变我们的生活方式,它将在供应清洁可持续电力方面发挥核心作用,并逐渐改变我们的储能解决方案。(财富中文网)

本文作者迈克尔•因素兰为First Cobalt公司的商务副总裁。

贝内迪克特•索博特卡是欧亚资源集团的首席执行官及全球电池联盟的联席主席。

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

The world is increasingly aware of the myriad of challenges we collectively face as we look to a future characterized both by post-pandemic uncertainty and the threat of climate change. However, few realize the incredible potential that batteries have in enabling a greener future.

Lithium-ion batteries may be small and, for the most part, hidden within electrical devices, but they form a vital part of everyday life. Many of the technologies that we depend upon on a daily basis, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, would simply not function without them. Similar batteries are also being used in applications ranging from drones to medical devices to gardening equipment. (Eurasian Resources Group and First Cobalt Corp. supply cobalt to companies that use it in the production of lithium-ion batteries.)

The most important end-use of li-ion batteries is undoubtedly electric vehicles (EV). Global sales of electric cars rose by 43% year-over-year to more than 3 million in 2020, despite overall car sales slumping by a fifth during the pandemic. EVs are set to change the course of global carbon consumption, and as such, lithium-ion batteries will be a key enabler of the journey toward future sustainability.

In the coming decades, we will see demand for core battery materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite substantially increase, with the growth of the new energy vehicle (NEV) market a key factor in this trend.

Furthermore, environmental sustainability and NEVs are central to countries’ post-pandemic economic stimulus plans, as governments across Europe and Asia have introduced packages focused on green recovery. Key metals, mined responsibly, will be the bedrock of this global economic recovery. However, we must be mindful of several challenges in ramping up the supply of battery materials.

First, due to long lead times of new projects and the large amount of capital required, battery materials will likely see an increase in price over time. Technological advancements and economies of scale can help to lower mining costs in the long term, but since the most accessible raw material projects have already been commissioned, new deposits will cost more to develop in the near future.

Stronger supply chain security will also be key to the future of the battery industry. The Democratic Republic of Congo provides close to 70% of annual mined cobalt output and the vast majority of cobalt mined for battery materials. As such, the DRC is set to remain the main supplier of these metals.

However, when it comes to the battery materials processing sector, China’s dominance, which is estimated to have reached 80% of the industry this year, may well be challenged in the future.

Europe and North America have already started taking steps to attract battery cell manufacturers, and the next move will be supporting battery materials processing capacity. With this in mind, Western governments should reward domestic battery materials projects to level the playing field with China.

Strengthening value chain transparency, while supporting circularity and recycling efforts, will be crucial in ensuring an environmentally, socially, and economically viable value chain.

The aim going forward should be the acceleration of responsible sourcing and sustainability practices through solutions such as blockchain, which can be used to verify ESG compliance and the provenance of the materials. Addressing these goals is central to the Battery Passport, one of the Global Battery Alliance’s core initiatives that will provide transparency on a given battery’s sustainability and environmental impact. (ERG is a founding member of the Global Battery Alliance, which consists of major businesses, international organizations, and NGOs working together to facilitate a more sustainable battery supply chain.)

Over the next century, batteries will become ubiquitous. We can expect the Internet of things to become even more widely rolled out, including in remote locations, ensuring that all physical objects can successfully exchange data with other devices over the Internet. Batteries will be key in powering the sensors that communicate data, even beyond the reach of the electricity grid.

Robotics also presents many opportunities for the use of batteries, as automation becomes increasingly common and robots begin to replace humans for performing highly specific and often dangerous tasks in an efficient and safe manner.

Battery technology will continue to revolutionize the way we live as it takes a central role in enabling clean and renewable power, and increasingly shapes our energy storage strategies.

Michael Insulan is vice president of commercial at First Cobalt Corp.

Benedikt Sobotka is CEO of Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance.

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