Energy-storing bricks: Exploring the potential of future capabilities
Discovering some recent technological developments sometimes make us wonder if we’ve been living in a forest tribe the whole time. For instance, the same building material that people have been using for millennia – the common red brick – the structure of which we should already know inside out, has recently sparked up with new potential that none could have foreseen. None, that is, expect for chemist’s of Washington university in St. Louis.
The single brilliant revelation that came to these researchers has given hope for, with little exaggeration, a new kind of Renaissance in the world’s Ecological program.
Upon carefully inspecting the structure of bricks, they came to the realisation that, with relatively few adjustments, the ordinary brick could be reinvented into a capable energy-storing unit.
Why brick can be an energy-storing unit?
The brick’s structure is such that it is embedded with iron all throughout its multiple pores. This permeable porous structure allows for the penetration of fluids, like gas. The scientists explored this potential, making for it a special substance they called PEDOT.
When injected into the brick, the polymer gets trapped inside. Serving as “an ion sponge that stores and conducts electricity” says co-author of the study J.M. D’Arcy. It’s this reaction with the iron particles that allows for the brick to become a conductor and power unit.
A great advantage of this novelty design resides in the fact that energy-storing bricks can be recharged frequently. Throughout the day without suffering any internal damage. Without running the risk of getting used up prematurely.
Implementation of the idea
The idea is without any doubt revolutionary. Transforming one of the most frequently used construction materials into an energy saving device – an energy-storing brick. What makes this invention quite handy as well is that one could directly wire up his solar panels to the bricks, thus with having significantly more space to store their energy.
In the present time, we are completely surrounded by various electrical machinery, circuits, currents and power storing units. In the nearest of futures, even the walls surrounding us will be surging with power. Although, a major upside to this is that now, there will never be too little sockets. We will just be able to plug our phones and computers directly into any part of the wall.
Furthermore, in comparison to other storing units such as AA batteries, the brick has significantly higher storing potential and is around the same price to produce as an AA battery. Plus, if you can just look at any wall to find your energy source, that’s without a doubt a win for the bricks.
Long way to go
All of this sounds great, of course, however the technology needs to undergo testing on actual houses and prolonged observations on real life situations. Avoiding any potential risks to the structure or to the human body should be a central preoccupation for the scientists.
If all goes well, who knows, in 20-25 years we might just come to an airport and plug our phone into any brick pillar we come upon, the possibilities are merry to imagine…
(Written by Hussein Al Bahir)