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The fact that these bricks have survived until now testifies to their durability.

Nowadays, by varying the chemical composition of the clay, firebrick can be made with a variety of properties.

Existing low-cost, reliable heaters only go to about 850 C.

Ultimately, Forsberg suggests, the bricks themselves could be made electrically conductive, so that they could act as low-cost resistance heaters on their own, both producing and storing the heat.

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That’s because producing electricity with the conventional turbines used for natural gas power plants requires a much higher temperature.A promising material for these firebricks is silicon carbide, which is already produced at massive scales for uses such as sandpaper.China currently produces about a million tons of it per year, Forsberg says.But the bricks used for the outer parts of the structure could have very low thermal conductivity, thus creating an insulating shell to help retain the heat of the central stack.The current limit on FIRES is the resistance heaters.

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