Electrified cement (artist’s conception) could store enough energy in a home’s foundation to power household appliances for a full day. Credit: N. Chanut et al. Credit: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 

Tesla’s Powerwall, a boxy, wall-mounted, lithium-ion battery, can power your home for half a day or so. But what if your home was the battery?

Researchers have come up with a new way to store electricity in cement, using cheap and abundant materials. If scaled up, the cement could hold enough energy in a home’s concrete foundation to fulfill its daily power needs. Scaled up further, electrified roadways could power electric cars as they drive. And if scientists can find a way to do this all cheaply the advance might offer a nearly limitless capacity for storing energy from intermittent renewable sources, such as solar and wind.

So far, the cement devices are small, only big enough to power a few LED lightbulbs. But efforts are already underway to scale them up. “It would be a very attractive technology if they can achieve that at a larger scale,” […]

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