June 19, 2024

Fancy Battery Bricks: Coming to a House Near You!

The modern world has seen fabulous new advances in technology, but some corners have remained untouched for millennia, such as concrete. Now, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have invented a new type of concrete that could change the foundation of building materials.

By combining water, cement and carbon black – a common, dusty charcoal-like additive used in lithium-ion batteries – Damian Stefaniuk and the rest of the MIT crew have developed what can be described as a building block that also doubles as a capacitor, a device that can not only create structures, but also store energy.

Concrete is one of the most common materials across the world, and enabling such a substance to assist with generating and storing power gained from solar, wind and water sources offers a huge leap for renewables and environmentally-friendly technologies.

“Since the concrete would retain its strength, a house with a foundation made of this material could store a day’s worth of energy produced by solar panels or windmills and allow it to be used whenever it’s needed,” a paper published by Stefaniuk’s team claims.

Proposed ideas include paving highways with the building material, thus recharging electric vehicles as they drive. While the capacity is still low, scaling up the tech could lead to supercapacitors with major storage capacity.

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