An electric vehicle needs large spaces to store energy. We think we found them on the roads

Although electric car It is developing by leaps and bounds and policy (especially European) is aimed at further growth, it still has many challenges ahead.

Autonomy and recharging is undoubtedly one of them. One of them is to increase the energy density of the batteries, reduce the recharge time, or limit the degradation of energy batteries when starting a fast recharge. But there is also a need to get electricity in the cheapest possible way.

It’s no surprise that those with single-family homes use solar panels in their home to recharge their cars. Or, if necessary, consider installing batteries in the house store unused energy and have a surplus in case of a power outage.

Some MIT engineers wanted to move in that direction. And they believe they have a solution: turn roads into supercapacitors.

A road with many possibilities

At the moment, I must say, everything is in the testing phase. Of course, the goal is to scale the project, as the results so far have been satisfactory, as the magazine explains. PNAS.

In the first trials, the researchers tested how cement and carbon black (commonly used in homes and roads) could become a defense system. Energy storage cheap when combined with water.

“The material is fascinating,” said Admir Masik, an MIT professor and researcher involved in the project. “You have the most widely used man-made material in the world, cement, which is combined with soot, which is a well-known historical material. (…) When you combine them in a particular way, they become a conductive nanocomposite, and that’s when things get really interesting.”

Thus, Masic refers to the process of converting roads into supercapacitors. The study explains that the water used to hydrate the cement directly affects the carbon black nanoparticles. When the mixture is released, “soot self-assembles on the connected outgoing wire,” Masik explains.

In this case, a mixture of cement powder and water is added to the concrete. Water naturally forms a network of branches within the structure. It is a fractal, and therefore smaller secondary paths emanate from the largest branches. This in turn creates a huge area in a very small space. When a small amount of highly conductive soot comes into play, the result is a huge supercapacitor capable of storing energy.

Supercapacitors are capable of storing energy for long periods of time with virtually no loss. But, above all, they are able to receive this energy, which accumulates very quickly, and also give it away when required.

For this reason, researchers believe that a small amount of this mixture can be added to the concrete of houses and turn the floor of the house into a kind of giant battery. According to his calculations, the average single-family home of 183 m2 in the United States can store 10 kW of energy with a 45 m3 block of this cement. This would give you a third of your daily energy requirement.

But where it can have a great use is on the roads. The energy stored on the road by this cement mix could be used to generate enough electricity to power a charging station with powerful plugs, the researchers said.

Even MIT researchers are talking about the possibility of turning these roads into a sort of permanent charging of vehicles via induction. However, this is a type of charging that still has a lot to develop, especially when the car is loaded dynamically and the car is not parked in a car park.

In Hatake | The industry needs wireless charging for electric vehicles. RAM has one in the form of Roomba

Photo | John Towner

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About Ankur Jain

I'm Ankur Jain, and I'm thrilled to be part of the team as an editor. I call India my home, and I have a passion for crafting engaging and well-written articles. With a solid background of 7 years in this field, I bring a wealth of experience to my work. It's my pleasure to contribute to the informative and captivating content you'll find on Stay tuned for some exciting stories and news pieces coming your way!

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