The 5000 year battery is coming soon.
So, they’re working on this now. A battery that is estimated to last longer than Jesus. But this one is not powered by the Almighty. No, its radioactive. Its also made from synthetic diamond. You’d think with this much going for it it might be compared to a Star Wars kyber crystal. We’d be just an innovation or two away from a light saber, right?
No. Sorry. Not only do these batteries not even exist yet commercially, but their estimated power output is about 2 volts. Not even enough to power your various remote controls. Those usually need about 3 volts.
Oh, and did I say something about it being radioactive? Not very practical in a phone I put near my … other things near my pants pockets. Well this battery has that figured out too. In case you did not know, diamonds are and the hardest substance known. The radiation can not get out. So they say.
Tom Scott, Professor in Materials in the University’s Interface Analysis Centre and a member of the Cabot Institute, said: “There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation. By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.”
Dr Neil Fox from the School of Chemistry explained: “Carbon-14 was chosen as a source material because it emits a short-range radiation, which is quickly absorbed by any solid material. This would make it dangerous to ingest or touch with your naked skin, but safely held within diamond, no short-range radiation can escape. In fact, diamond is the hardest substance known to man, there is literally nothing we could use that could offer more protection.”
The carbon isotopes they plan to use in particular are the above mentioned radioactive C-14 for the energy source and nonradioactive C-12 for the outer diamond shell. Carbon 14 is a waste product of nuclear energy generation that uses graphite-moderated reactors. For those really paying attention that may ring a bell. It’s the same kind of reactor that Chernobyl was before it blew up all over most of the northern hemisphere. It’s still buzzing today with an estimate of, oh, about 20,000 years before the area will be considered safe for life again. Odd side note, about 300 people already do live near it by choice. They refused to leave. Good luck, comrades! Fight the power.
So yeah, pretty horrible stuff to make a battery out of. Nevertheless, it’s seen by these guys as something of a solution to the waste issue of these kinds of reactors.
Here’s the thing though. There’s still no free lunch here. Let’s say the radiation thing is figured out, it’s still going to take a lot of energy to make these things. To make a diamond out of it all they have to heat the C-14 until it vaporizes. So after using up who knows how much power to do that, they’ll have a battery that won’t even make a clock tick.
These things are not going to be cheap either. Between the production costs and the dangerously radioactive material they are made of, I’d not expect to see them in your grocery store checkout aisle anytime soon. The intended applications are probably going to be space vehicles, medical implants and even possibly high altitude drones.
I’m hoping for the drones. If they crash the battery will probably still be intact because, you know, diamonds. I hope I’m there to grab it before the NSA gets it first! I hate changing remote batteries in the middle of Netflixing.
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