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火山鹵水礦,真正的綠色來源(上)

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Science & technology

科技板塊

Copper gushers

銅井

Brine mines

鹵水礦

People may one day drill for copper as they now drill for oil

也許有一天,人們會像現在開采石油一樣開采銅

Copper was the first metal worked by human beings. They hammered it into jewellery and ornaments as much as 11,000 years ago. Today, Homo sapiens uses more than 20m tonnes of the stuff a year, much of it in buildings and electrical infrastructure. More will be required in coming decades, to meet the need for widespread electrification brought about by the transition to less carbon-intensive economies. Copper is an essential part of batteries, motors and charging equipment. Solar and wind installations use more copper than their fossil-fuel counterparts, and electric vehicles contain four times more copper than do cars with combustion engines.

銅是人類最早加工的金屬。早在11000年前,人們就把它錘成珠寶和裝飾品。如今,智人每年使用超過2000萬噸的稀土,其中大部分用于建筑和電力基礎設施。未來幾十年,為了滿足向低碳密集型經濟轉型所帶來的廣泛電氣化的需要,還需要更多的電力。銅是電池、電機和充電設備的重要組成部分。太陽能和風能裝置要比化石燃料使用更多的銅,電動汽車含銅量是內燃機汽車的四倍。

This has spurred interest in new sources of the metal, most of which comes at the moment from rocks dug out of vast opencast mines that are then ground up and processed to release the copper they contain, typically about 1% of their mass.

這激發了人們對銅的新的來源的興趣,目前大部分的銅來自于從大型露天礦山中挖掘出來的巖石,然后將其碾碎加工,釋放出其中所含的銅,一般約為其質量的1%。

20210710_STP004 (1)_副本.jpg

Metal-rich nodules scattered across various parts of the ocean floor are a possibility. But exploiting these brings technological and regulatory difficulties, and is in any case controversial because of the damage it would do to deep-ocean ecosystems. Jon Blundy of Oxford University, however, offers an alternative. This is to extract, from deep under Earth's surface, the mineral-rich brines from which ores of copper and other valuable metals are generated in the first place. As Dr Blundy points out, "pretty much all of the non-ferrous natural resources that we exploit come ultimately from ancient volcanoes."

有一種可能的來源是分布在海底各處的富含金屬的結核。但是利用它們會帶來技術和管理上的困難,而且無論如何都具有爭議,因為會對深海生態系統造成破壞。然而,牛津大學的喬恩·布倫迪選提供了另一種選擇:首先從地球表面深處提取富含礦物的鹵水,從鹵水中產生銅和其他有價值的金屬。正如布倫迪博士指出的那樣,“幾乎所有人類開發的有色自然資源最終都來自古代火山?!?/p>

In particular, in 2015, he and his colleagues worked out the chemical details of how copper-sulphide ores form when sulphur-rich gases rise through the plumbing of active volcanoes and encounter metalrich brines trapped in rocks sitting just above pockets of magma. Modern mining operations dig up examples of these ores that formed millions or billions of years ago. Dr Blundy proposes instead to cut out the middleman and go straight to the deep copper-rich fluids themselves.

特別是在2015年,他和同事們研究出了當富硫氣體通過活火山的管道上升,遇到困在巖漿口袋上方巖石中富含金屬的鹵水時銅硫化物礦石形成的化學細節?,F代采礦作業挖掘出這些形成于數百萬甚至數十億年前的礦石。相反,布倫迪博士建議省去中間步驟,直接進入富含銅的深層液體。

譯文由可可原創,僅供學習交流使用,未經許可請勿轉載。

重點單詞   查看全部解釋    
extract ['ekstrækt,iks'trækt]

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n. 榨出物,精華,摘錄
vt. 拔出,榨出,

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exploit [iks'plɔit]

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vt. 剝削,利用,開拓,開采,開發
n. 功

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release [ri'li:s]

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n. 釋放,讓渡,發行
vt. 釋放,讓與,準

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controversial [.kɔntrə'və:ʃəl]

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adj. 引起爭論的,有爭議的

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fragile ['frædʒail]

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adj. 易碎的,脆的,精細的

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plumbing ['plʌmiŋ]

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n. 管道裝置,鉛管工行業 動詞plumb的現在分詞

 
drill [dril]

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n. 鉆孔機,鉆子,反復操練,播種機
v. 鉆

 
combustion [kəm'bʌstʃən]

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n. 燃燒

 
essential [i'senʃəl]

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n. 要素,要點
adj. 必要的,重要的,本

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transition [træn'ziʃən]

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n. 過渡,轉變

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