DIAMOND radioactive battery powered by nuclear waste ‘will last 28,000 years’ and could go on sale by 2023
- The nuclear battery is ‘safe for humans’ because it is enclosed in tamper-resistant material
- It works by using microscopic diamonds to move heat from radioactive isotopes
- The radioactive isotopes come from the waste products of nuclear energy
- The company is stacking multiples of these microscopic cells to generate electricity
A battery powered by nuclear waste could run a spaceship or hospital for 28,000 years without needing to be recharged or replaced, the developers claim.
The radioactive battery is “completely safe” for humans, according to the California-based Nano Diamond Battery (NDB), which says it will “change the world.”
The company hopes to sell the battery to commercial partners, including space agencies for long-term missions, within two years.
NDB is also working on a consumer version that can run a smartphone or electric car for up to ten years without the need for a charge.
No details on pricing have been disclosed by the technology startup, which says it is still in the development phase.
A battery powered by nuclear waste can keep a spaceship or hospital operating for 28,000 years without needing to be recharged or replaced, the developers claim.
DIAMOND NUCLEAR VOLTAIC (DNV) POWER GENERATION
Diamond Nuclear Voltaic (DNV) is a technology that converts nuclear waste into electricity.
The microscopic diamonds have ‘extremely good head conductivity’.
They ensure that the heat is removed from the radioactive isotopes so quickly that the transaction generates electricity.
This generates a small amount of power, but it is consistent over a very long period of time – thousands of years.
Several of these units are stacked, increasing the total power.
This type of arrangement improves the overall efficiency of the system and provides a multi-layered safety screen.
The technology involves combining radioactive isotopes from nuclear waste with layers of nanodiamonds with panels stacked in a battery cell.
The extremely good heat conductivity of the microscopic diamonds ensures that the heat is dissipated from the radioactive isotopes so quickly that the transaction generates electricity.
It is based on a technology called diamond nuclear voltaic (DNV) presented by scientists at the University of Bristol in 2016 using waste graphite blocks.
This technology is best suited for devices that require a slow flow of electricity, consistent over a long period of time due to the low energy production.
The NDB system can work in consumer products by adding layers and layers of diamonds and radioactive waste panels to increase the overall energy output.
“This battery has two distinct advantages,” NDB CEO Nima Golsharifi told Future Net Zero.
“One is that it uses nuclear waste and converts it into something good. And the second is that it lasts much longer than current batteries. ‘
The company has also worked to ensure that the material is safe and that people do not have easy access to the radioactive material in the stacked energy cells.
“The DNV stacks are covered with a layer of polycrystalline diamond along with the source, which is known to be the most heat-conducting material,” said a spokesman.
This material “also has the ability to block radiation in the device and is the hardest material,” up to 12 times stronger than stainless steel.
‘This makes our product extremely strong and fraud-resistant.’
Usage examples include having a watch with a small NDB battery that can be passed down from generation to generation without ever having to replace the power supply.
Diamond batteries could one day power satellites, giving them enough energy to get out of orbit at the end of their lives, or probes going into deep space for thousands of years.
“The human desire to explore space is fueled by the excitement of exploring the unknown,” NDB said on their website.
Future devices could also be used to power a smartphone or laptop, each with a miniature power generator that can last as long as the device itself – without ever having to charge, or an electric car that can drive thousands of miles without a charge
Recent advances in space technology and the emergence of the first manned electric planes have led to an increasing demand for their battery systems, hampered by concerns about longevity and safety.
‘NDB can be used to power drones, electric planes, space rovers and stations while enabling longer activity.’
Future devices can also be used to power a smartphone or laptop, each with a miniature power generator that can last as long as the device itself – without ever needing to charge.
“In-situ medical devices and implantable devices such as hearing aids and pacemakers can benefit from long battery life in a smaller package with added safety and longevity benefits,” the company added.
HOW DO CELLS WORK WITH HYDROGEN?
Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity to power a battery and engine by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in specially treated plates, which combine to form the fuel cell stack.
Fuel cell stacks and batteries have allowed engineers to significantly downsize these components so that they can even fit neatly into a family car, although they are also often used to fuel buses and other larger vehicles.
Trains and airplanes are also being adapted to run on hydrogen, for example.
Oxygen is extracted from the air through inlets, usually in the grille, and hydrogen is stored in aluminum-lined fuel tanks, which automatically seal to prevent leaks in the event of an accident.
These ingredients are fused, releasing usable electricity and water as by-products and making the technology one of the quietest and most environmentally friendly available.
Reducing the amount of platinum used in the stack has made fuel cells cheaper, but the use of the rare metal has limited the spread of their use.
Recent research has suggested that hydrogen fuel cell cars could one day challenge electric cars in the race for pollution-free roads, but only if more stations are built to fuel them.