Your future home could be powered by the bricks it’s built with

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Imagine a world where instead of threading the walls of your house with copper wires that deliver electricity from the grid, the walls themselves stored that energy, potentially drawn from a solar array on your roof. While the science isn’t anywhere near delivering that fantasy yet, Julio D’Arcy’s lab at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a proof-of-concept simple red construction brick imbued with the ability to store energy, as well as power small devices. His team revealed its invention in a study published in Nature Communications this week. About 40 percent of energy consumption in the United States takes place in buildings — homes, hospitals, stores, schools, restaurants. Right now much of that demand is met by fossil fuels, resulting in about a third of U.S. carbon emissions. As renewable sources replace coal and gas power plants, it will become increasingly essential to store some of that energy to access when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Get Grist in your inbox Always free, always fresh Ask your climate scientist if Grist is right for you. See our privacy policy Lithium-ion batteries, like the ones in cell phones and electric vehicles, are one solution; […]

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