MIT researchers develop innovative energy storage solution

Buildings can become large batteries. This is what researchers at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, say, who have managed to create a supercapacitor by putting together a few simple materials. Cement, water and carbon black (more precisely called carbon black, a pigment obtained, as the name suggests, from carbon), could represent the future for renewables.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a groundbreaking supercapacitor using simple materials: cement, water, and carbon black (a pigment derived from carbon). This innovation could revolutionize the future of renewable energy.

Addressing storage needs for renewable energy

Large-scale use of renewable energy necessitates effective storage solutions to manage the discrepancy between energy production and consumption. One of the critical challenges in the energy transition is finding scalable storage solutions.

The study and its findings

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) titled “Carbon-Cement Supercapacitors as a Scalable Solution for Mass Energy Storage“, details how mixing water and cement creates a network of tiny channels that persist even after the cement hardens. These channels form a fractal branching pattern, similar to a river splitting into smaller streams. By adding carbon black, a conductive material, a highly effective supercapacitor capable of storing energy is created.

Revolutionary applications

The potential applications of this research are remarkable. Buildings could function as storage systems, transforming houses into large batteries capable of storing energy from domestic solar or wind power systems.

Efficiency and scale

Unlike current research focused on creating more productive and space-efficient storage systems, the efficiency of this innovation is directly proportional to its size. The larger the constructions made from this cement-carbon black mixture, the more energy they can store. According to the study, 1,590 cubic feet (45 cubic meters) of this material could store approximately 10 kWh of electricity.

Benefits and future prospects

This technology promises lower energy costs, greater efficiency, and smarter buildings, all achievable with a few simple materials. This breakthrough could significantly advance the integration of renewable energy into everyday life.

Source: PNAS

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