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New Concrete Turns Whole House Into a Battery

Researchers at MIT have come up with a new way to store energy inside a modified concrete, a tantalizing potential solution to the looming energy storage problem. It's what could be called a concrete idea.

Concrete wall

MIT researcher Damian Stefaniuk and his colleagues turned a mix of water, cement, and carbon black, a highly conductive material used in the manufacturing of car tires, into a super-capacitor.

While super-capacitors aren't nearly as good at long-term energy storage compared to lithium-ion batteries, they can be charged and discharged very quickly, making them an intriguing complement to conventional batteries.

Stefaniuk and his team believe their novel material could be a game-changer, taking the pressure off the electrical grid by providing ways to store green energy, the generation of which can fluctuate greatly throughout the day.

"If it can be scaled up, the technology can help solve an important issue - the storing of renewable energy," he told the BBC.

Concrete is perhaps the most commonly used building material in the world and - with a bit of tweaking - homes could have "walls, or foundations, or columns, that are active not only in supporting a structure, but also in that energy is stored inside them."

However, the MIT team still needs to do some more work to enable their idea to be scaled up, and that's now the next stage in their product's evolution. OGN will keep you updated as to progress.


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