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A revolutionary concrete that can store electricity can turn houses into batteries

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun17,2024

Revolutionary concrete that can store electricity can turn houses into batteries

A breakthrough in energy storage technology is taking place in the laboratories of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where researchers have developed a new type of concrete capable of storing electricity. This innovative material can solve significant challenges in energy storage, potentially revolutionizing the way energy is managed in homes and infrastructure.

MIT researcher Damian Stefaniuk and his team developed a supercapacitor using a mixture of water, cement and carbon black – conductive material commonly used in the production of car tires.

This modified concrete acts as a supercapacitor, able to charge and discharge quickly. While supercapacitors don't match the long-term storage capabilities that, for example, lithium-ion batteries do, their ability to quickly release stored energy makes them an excellent addition to traditional battery systems.

Stefanyuk and his colleagues believe that their revolutionary material can reduce the load on the power grid by offering new methods of storing renewable energy, the production of which can vary significantly throughout the day.

If this technology can be scaled, it can help solve an important problem – storage of renewable energy,
– said Stefaniuk in an interview with the BBC.

The foundation is laid

The potential applications of this carbon-cement supercapacitor are very broad. For example, roads built with this material can charge electric vehicles wirelessly, reducing reliance on conventional charging stations.

More intriguingly, buildings constructed using such concrete, such as in foundations and columns, will turn these structures into energy storage.

Despite a promising future, the technology is still in its early stages. Currently, the team's supercapacitor prototype can store enough energy to power a 10-watt LED for 30 hours.

However, supercapacitors tend to discharge quickly and have a lower energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries, creating challenges that need to be addressed .

Stefanyuk is optimistic about the potential of this technology. He plans to scale the material to meet the daily energy needs of a residential building.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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