'Smart' concrete

Scientists have developed a new type of concrete that is infused with potassium ions, which allow it to store electricity for long periods of time. When energy production levels drop, the concrete would kick in and power a house using the reserve stock of energy it has saved up. This would mean that the walls of your family home could soon double-up as a battery, storing energy in its blocks.

'We have a lot of buildings. If you could convert them into batteries it would pretty much solve a lot of our energy problems. The idea is to store electricity in the structure itself and release it at times of peak demand,' said Mohamed Saafi, from Lancaster University's engineering department, who developed the technology.

Professor Saafi notes that capacitors hold less energy by volume than batteries, but there is far more volume available if the new form of concrete was to be widely used as a building material.


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