Cement that generates electricity on contact

Researchers announce development of eco-friendly structural material that harvests energy

A team of researchers in South Korea have developed a cement-based building material that can generate and store electricity through contact.

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The cement-based conductive composite (CBC) contains carbon fibres with the ability to act as triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), able to ‘harvest’ energy from things like human motion (footsteps) or the impact forces of wind and rain.

Research teams from Incheon National University, Kyung Hee University and Korea University, who jointly developed the material, say CBC has the potential to reduce the carbon emissions of buildings and save energy.

Under test conditions, it was found that a 1% volume of conductive fibres within the cement mixture gives it optimal electrical properties while retaining the physical properties required for use as a building material.

Seung-Jung Lee, a professor in the university’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, told the science journal Nano Energy, “We wanted to develop a structural energy material that could be used to build net-zero energy structures that use and produce their own electricity.

“Our ultimate goal was to develop materials that made the lives of people better and did not need any extra energy to save the planet. And we expect that the findings from this study can be used to expand the applicability of CBC as an all-in-one energy material for net-zero energy structures.”


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