Environmental degradation has highlighted the need for new energy sources. Novel approaches to energy storage are necessary due to a change in energy sources. Buildings have been used for centuries to hold people, things, and systems, which raises the question of whether they can also hold vast amounts of energy effectively. Is it possible for buildings in this modern era to serve as potential power sources as well as functional structures?
Unquestionably leading the field of energy storage is lithium-ion technology, whose extensive application in hybrid cars and cell phones attests to its dependability. But because of its geopolitical policies and environmental cost, it is currently under fire. Through several interventions, the construction industry has been able to provide a solution to this problem of the twenty-first century. Cement and bricks are now potential candidates for these batteries because they provide creative methods of energy storage. These days, thermal energy storage (TES) systems—which can be installed in buildings in a way that transforms them into thermal batteries—largely consist of minerals that were once essential to construction. Technology and architecture working together portends a scalable solution that will push countries toward cleaner energy economies.
Hi-rise buildings as power sources
In the modern world, tall buildings seem like a reasonable solution to the problem of energy storage. Potential energy has been investigated and tested in elevators by researchers. By lifting containers filled with wet sand to store energy during idle moments, elevators in high-rise buildings can become dynamic storage units known as Lift Energy Storage Technology (LEST). Gravity and the already-existing infrastructure work together to offer an affordable way to store energy and enhance the quality of power in urban areas.
Residential energy storage
In addition to high-rise buildings, a growing number of single- and multi-family residences are using vehicle-to-grid and dedicated battery systems. Clean energy can now be used by homes and shared or sold to the city grid. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of these systems installed in the US increased by more than 200 percent, and the demand for them is expected to continue rising.
MIT researchers have created a substance known as “electrified cement” by combining the qualities of cement, water, and carbon black. This is a blend of ancient and modern technologies. Cement can now be used as a supercapacitor, storing and releasing electrical energy at previously unheard-of speeds, thanks to the nanocomposite. The ability of electrified cement to form tendril-like forms within voids that function as wires to enhance the material’s conductivity is what makes it special. The substance has been photographed in roadbeds and building foundations to establish citywide power networks that supply electric cars and nearby residences with sustainable energy.
Bricks, rocks and sand as power houses
A brick-based heat battery has been created by California-based Rondo Energy. The self-contained apartments are made up of electrical heating components placed atop a stack of bricks. Bricks store energy by transforming renewable electricity into thermal energy, which can then be utilized to provide the ideal heat for a variety of industrial processes.
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