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Scientists have created a battery alternative out of cement

Scientists have created a battery alternative out of cement. This new "supercapacitor" could one day be built into the foundations of homes or incorporated into a roadway so electric cars can charge contactless as they drive.

How the supercapacitor works

The supercapacitor is made by combining cement with carbon black, a sooty residue left over when things burn. The water forms pathways in the cement, and the cement and carbon separate to form a connected network of tiny conductive wires.

Advantages of the supercapacitor

Supercapacitors are an alternative way of storing energy. Unlike batteries, which rely on chemical reactions, supercapacitors store power using static electricity. This means that they can charge almost instantaneously, while a battery can take hours.

Potential applications

The elements in MIT's supercapacitor are cheap, widely available, and non-toxic. This makes them a promising candidate for a variety of applications, including:

  • Building foundations: A 45m³ block of the material could store 10 kilowatt-hours of energy, which is the daily electricity use for a family. This could help to store renewable energy generated by solar panels or wind turbines.
  • Roadways: The supercapacitor could be incorporated into roadways to wirelessly charge electric cars as they drive. This would help to reduce emissions and improve air quality.
  • Other applications: The supercapacitor could also be used to store energy in other applications, such as wearable devices and medical implants.
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