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Engineers Create Battery Alternative Using Cement, Carbon Black

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MIT's supercapacitors, made from cement and carbon black.

The breakthrough could pave the way for energy storage to be embedded into concrete, creating the potential for roads and buildings that charge electric devices.

Credit: MIT

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University's Wyss Institute have produced a supercapacitor from cement and carbon black, a development that could potentially expedite the shift to renewable energy.

The researchers said the technology could be manufactured inexpensively using "two of humanity's most ubiquitous materials."

The device's energy storage capacity stems from its high internal surface area because of the chemical composition generated when adding carbon black to a concrete mixture and curing.

The researchers fabricated button-sized supercapacitors to power a light-emitting diode, and are designing a 45-cubic-meter (1,589-cubic-foot) version to demonstrate the technology’s scalability.

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