Stones could help power smart homes in the future

Researchers have fabricated microsupercapacitors onto the surface of stone tiles, turning them into microenergy devices which could be used to power smart home devices or other small electronics without being connected to the electrical grid.

Stone is a natural and eco-friendly building material used in most homes and could now be integrated with energy storage devices, such as batteries and capacitors as a renewable method of powering smart homes.

According to ACS Nano, it has recently been discovered that microsupercapacitors, which have fast charging and discharging rates as well as excellent power supply storage, can be attached to irregular surfaces using lasers. Using this information, Seunghyun Back, Jung Hwan Park and Bongchul Kang from a Korean School of Mechanical Engineering adapted this approach to build microsupercapacitors on marble. Stones have microscopic bumps making it difficult to attach electronic components but using this method, the researchers were successful.

In tests, the device maintained a high energy storage capacity even after 4,000 charge-discharge cycles. When multiple microenergy devices were strung together in a three-by-three array, enough energy was stored to power an LED. In addition, the stone energy storage devices were exceptionally durable against harsh impacts and could be quickly recycled.

The researchers say that stone microenergy devices could provide high-performance, customisable and conveniently accessible power from natural building materials.

Main image: Interconnected microenergy devices built on marble tiles create customisable 3D power supply systems. Credit: Adapted from ACS Nano 2022, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.2c01753 


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