Supercapacitors from Ancient Materials
From MIT, Supercapacitor out of Ancient Materials by David L Chandle, MIT, October 4, 2023
Constructed from cement, carbon black, and water, the device holds the potential to offer affordable and scalable energy storage for renewable energy sources.
Two of humanity’s most ubiquitous historical materials, cement and carbon black (which resembles very fine charcoal), may form the basis for a novel, low-cost energy storage system, according to a new study. The technology could facilitate the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and tidal power by allowing energy networks to remain stable despite fluctuations in renewable energy supply.
The two materials, the researchers found, can be combined with water to make a supercapacitor — an alternative to batteries — that could provide storage of electrical energy. As an example, the MIT researchers who developed the system say that their supercapacitor could eventually be incorporated into the concrete foundation of a house, where it could store a full day’s worth of energy while adding little (or no) to the cost of the foundation and still providing the needed structural strength. The researchers also envision a concrete roadway that could provide contactless recharging for electric cars as they travel over that road.
The simple but innovative technology is described in a recent paper published in the journal PNAS, in a paper by MIT professors Franz-Josef Ulm, Admir Masic, and Yang-Shao Horn, and four others at MIT and at the Wyss Institute.