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This paper presents the development of an innovative cement-electrolyte battery for low power operations such as cathodic protection of reinforced concrete. A battery design was refined by altering different constituents and examining the open circuit voltage, resistor loaded current and lifespan. The final design consisted of a copper plate cathode, aluminium plate anode, and a cement electrolyte which included additives of carbon black, plasticiser, Alum salt and Epsom salt. A relationship between age, temperature and hydration of the cell and the current it produced was determined. It was found that sealing the battery using varnish increased the moisture retention and current output. Current was also found to increase with internal temperature of the electrolyte and connecting two cells in parallel further doubled or even tripled the current. Parallel-connected cells could sustain an average current of 0.35mA through a 10Ω resistor over two weeks of recording. The preliminary findings demonstrate that cement-based batteries can produce sufficient sustainable electrical outputs with the correct materials and arrangement of components. Work is ongoing to determine how these batteries can be recharged using photovoltaics which will further enhance their sustainability properties.
Byrne, A., Holmes, N. and Norton, B. (2015) Cement Based Batteries and their Potential for Use in Low Power Operations, IOP conference series, Materials science and engineering, 96(1), 012073, 2015. doi:10.1088/1757-899X/96/1/012073