Trying to increase Britain’s use of renewable energy can drive environmentalists to feel like banging their heads on a wall. But what if the solution was there all along – in those walls? British scientists have designed a form of cheap concrete that can not only be used to construct buildings but also store electricity. The technology means that walls could be used to invisibly store energy from renewables without the need for banks of lithium batteries. “The idea is to turn buildings and structures into batteries – to store electricity in the structure itself and release it at times of peak demand,” Mohamed Saafi, from Lancaster University’s engineering department, said. “We have a lot of buildings. If you could convert them into batteries it would pretty much solve a lot of our energ y problems.” Energy storage is one of the biggest barriers to renewable energy. While a power station provides continuous power at a set level, renewable sources – which are dependent on waves, wind or sun – cannot. The greater the proportion of our electricity they provide, the more of a risk this poses. Ideally there would be an easy way to store energy at times of peak production and discharge it during troughs. However, doing that requires a lot of batteries.
Times 6th Aug 2018 read more »