The humble house brick has been
turned into a battery that can store electricity, raising the possibility that
buildings could one day become literal powerhouses.
The new technology exploits the
porous nature of fired red bricks by filling the pores with tiny nanofibres of
a conducting plastic that can store charge. The first bricks store enough
electricity to power small lights. But if their capacity can be increased, they
may become a low-cost alternative to the lithium-ion batteries currently used.
Strictly speaking, the power
bricks are supercapacitors rather than batteries. Supercapacitors store
electricity as a static charge in solids.