Electricity from concrete? Australian company claims breakthrough | RenewEconomy

Electricity from concrete? Australian company claims breakthrough

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Talga Resources claims breakthrough in production of conductive concrete, which could play role in wireless charging of EVs.

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Image: Supplied

ASX-listed Talga Resources has claimed a breakthrough in its work to produce concrete that conducts electricity, an achievement the company says could even play a future role in wireless, on-road charging of electric vehicles.

Perth-based Talga – listed in this June 2017 article as one of a new-breed of Australian mining hopefuls – said on Monday it had achieved high levels of electrical conductivity in concrete by using an additive developed in its R&D laboratory in the UK.

That additive is a graphene, graphite and silica-rich by-product of ore processing, derived from the company’s key asset – a series of unique, high-grade conductive graphite deposits in Sweden.

The result, Talga says, is a concrete that is not only highly electrically conductive – 0.05 ohm.cm volume resistivity – but a lot stronger, thus giving it enormous potential for a number of environmentally positive applications, both immediately and in the future.

“The initial test results show that Talga’s graphene-enhanced concrete achieves such high electrical conductivity that it can act like the heating element of an electric stove,” said Talga managing director, Mr Mark Thompson.

“Furthermore the conductivity is achieved with a very low loading of our graphene, but a larger amount of ore processing by-products, providing maximum potential for the most cost effective, scalable and eco-friendly development options,” he said.

Talga says current applications of the enhanced concrete include underfloor heating (replacing plumbed hot water based installations), where it can provide a long-term, low-maintenance alternative to plumbed hot water installations.

Image: Supplied

It could also be used immediately for the provision of anti-static flooring and EMI shielding (radio frequency interference) in buildings, and for cost effective grounding and lightning strike protection for a range of infrastructure including bridges and wind turbines.

In the future, Talga says the technology also has potential to be used in solid-state heated roads, to provide an environmentally friendly way to clear ice and snow from key transport routes and airports.

“The replacement of widely used salt; as a material cost, its transport and distribution, and its corrosive effect on road/bridge infrastructure and vehicles would be an emergent but high potential application for heatable concrete,” Talga said.

But perhaps one of the more exciting possibilities of the technology, is its potential role in dynamic and wireless charging of electric vehicles while driving – a technology some see as essential for the widespread uptake of EVs.

“In future, Talga will investigate the potential of the electrically conductive concrete for a cost effective role in enabling inductive (wireless) charging technologies for electric vehicles under dynamic (driving) as well as stationary (parking) conditions, through the increased range of heating, sensing and other conductive concrete,” the company said in a statement.

The breakthrough follows more promising news from the company in May, that tests of its graphite anode had been shown to significantly boost the performance of lithium-ion battery cells.

The tests pitted Talga’s graphite anode material against a current market leading product in li-ion pouch cells and found the Talga product delivered 20 per cent higher capacity (total energy), 20 per cent higher power (rate of charge/discharge), as well as 94 per cent first cycle efficiency.

Those results, said Talga at the time, showed potential to beat synthetic and natural graphite standards currently used in the global battery supply chain, “with higher performance, energy, power and life span at potentially lower cost and no decrease in safety.”

In terms of the enhanced concrete, Thompson said the company now planned to take the prototype results to potential development partners.

The global concrete market exceeds 5 billion tonnes/year and is worth over $US450 billion/year, the company said – and while specialty concretes are a subset of this, Talga considers the market for conductive concrete to be “significant.”

The company currently has an MoU with the world’s second largest concrete manufacturer, Heidelberg Cement, which is focused on thermally conductive concrete, but said it was “free to explore other market opportunities.”

Talga’s share price was up more than 7 per cent on the previous day’s closing price at the time of publishing, at $A0.70 a share.

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  1. Ryan 2 years ago

    That recharging lane looks a lot like a bike lane. Not a very smart idea!

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      Ryan, don’t be silly. It’s a beautiful green lane man, enough with the negative waves ok.

      • Shilo 2 years ago

        I think towers like mobile towers a bit lower all around roads will be the go. For wireless energy transfer.

  2. john 2 years ago

    If this company can deliver a road that will charge a BEV while it is driving they have a winner.
    Quote from Article.
    But perhaps one of the more exciting possibilities of the technology, is its potential role in dynamic and wireless charging of electric vehicles while driving – a technology some see as essential for the widespread uptake of Electric Vehicles.

    Imagine some cash poor person gets a poor EV OK, buys an EV that only has 24 kWh of Battery and drives over this road then can be charged up to the destination.

    Yes obviously the person has to pay for it that is a given.

    Hmm do I see a problem ?

    Yes it will not be built but perhaps something similar will.

    • Jo 2 years ago

      Unfortunately physics is in the way. You cannot charge anything from just moving it lengthwise over a linear conductor or two. It would be a different thing if the conductor under road was made of coils. But how do you make that from concrete? Besides the whole article is about using concrete as a heating element, not a conductor to charge EVs.

  3. solarguy 2 years ago

    Very sexy baby, yeah!

    • George Darroch 2 years ago

      Wavy gravy!

  4. Jo 2 years ago

    what a misleading headline!
    and what a misleading picture!
    Reading the article it is made clear that electrically conducting concrete is not a good conductor, but a good resistor “that it can act like the heating element of an electric stove” or heat road (which is really not necessary in nearly all parts of Australia).
    And if you wan to run electricity under the road why not use a trusted aluminium or copper cable which has much less resistance.
    And what in all of is this “Electricity from Concrete”?

    • dono 2 years ago

      Yes, the title was silly but I believe the conductivity cold be varied by altering the amount of graphene added to the mix.

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      Yep, induction though cables in any di-electric material would work.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Spot on! And it is not even April 1st.
      This thermal concrete is being used for thermal conductivity; covering and dissipating heat from electrical underground conductors.

    • Miles Harding 2 years ago

      Isn’t in-road charging solving a problem that doesn’t exist anymore?

      It may have been a reasonable idea for sub-100km EV being used outside it’s preferred area of operation, but as the working range is now more like 300km, this is looking as silly as Solar Cells in the pavement.

      Further to this, the charging would be occurring at, say 80kph, so an enormously long, complex and expensive charger strip would be needed to impart any useful charge to a passing EV. I can’t see the power being more than 10kW, in which case the strip would need to be nearly continuous.

    • phred01 2 years ago

      obviously Photoshoped

  5. Ertimus J Waffle 2 years ago

    The Renewable Madness continues. Recharging lanes, what next Alien lanes for extraterrestrials??? When will all this stupidity end Australia is already the laughing stock of the world, is this what uncontrolled and directionless education leads too????

    • Alan S 2 years ago

      Apart from having a general anti-renewables whinge, is there any point to your comment?

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        Simply block this account and you do not have to read this stuff…

    • Greg 2 years ago

      Ertimusaurus, why don’t you just go back to reading your Daily Terrorgraph, ok? Much better fit for you. But if you insist on hanging around here, then I’m sorry to have to break it to you – renewables are here to stay and this is just the beginning. I know it’s sad, but even your thick-as-a-brick wafflasaurus mates Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly can’t stop that – so just get used to it.

  6. MaxG 2 years ago

    Headline and picture are (at best) misleading!

    Talga also says that the concrete adds potential ‘heating element’ function and that current applications include: underfloor heating (replacing plumbed hot water based installations), anti-static flooring, EMI shielding, strain sensors and grounding/lightning protection. — Source: https://www.graphene-info.com/talga-resources-reports-breakthrough-its-graphene-infused-concrete-project
    Further info: http://www.talgaresources.com/irm/PDF/1995_0/TalgaGrapheneBoostsConcreteThermalConductivity

  7. Miles Harding 2 years ago

    We’re off on the wrong story here.

    There is a fair amount of interest in graphene Oxide (GO) in concrete – many papers on the subject.
    What I read suggested that GO, can double the tensile strength (usually not very good) of concrete, reducing cracking and the amount that is needed. This got me to wondering what the impact on rebars could be.

    Talga may be on their own trying to use the floor as a resistance heater.

    Also, this approach precludes using low-grade heat, someting that is easily done with plumbed ‘hydronic’ systems.

  8. jm 2 years ago

    lets hope the concrete is low carbon emission….

  9. phred01 2 years ago

    I wonder what EMR that’s that is going to irradiate drivers, passengers & passerbys. higher the frequency the more dangerous

  10. Michael Fry 2 years ago

    If this is such a viable endeavor, the issue would be Sweden, really even if it were true which seems quite clearly doubtful, a pin dot of a country is going to supply the world with enough of this stuff, and good luck with the install as we are having enough issues with the NBN this is never going to happen, pure beat up. From what I viewed they are selling concrete floor heating systems, wifi electricity really how does that work???

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