In a groundbreaking development, a Chinese company named Betavolt Technology claims success in creating a prototype for the world’s smallest nuclear battery, capable of operating for up to 50 years without the need for replacement or recharging.
Could we soon witness a day where our phones run on nearly inexhaustible nuclear batteries? Betavolt Technology, a Beijing-based company, asserts that this scenario is on the horizon after successfully manufacturing a prototype for the world’s smallest nuclear battery.
If these efforts prove fruitful, there could be a future shift away from traditional lithium batteries, which require recharging and have a decreasing lifespan over time.
Betavolt, based in Beijing, states that its nuclear battery is the first in the world to achieve atomic energy downsizing, fitting 63 nuclear isotopes into a unit smaller than a metal coin.
The initial model, named “BB100,” has dimensions of 15 × 15 × 5 mm and can provide 100 micro-watts of electricity, equivalent to about 3 volts.
Over the next two years, the company aims to enhance its technology to manufacture smaller batteries capable of producing up to one watt of electricity, with the possibility of assembling them to supply devices with significant power.
These batteries rely on the radioactive decay of synthetic diamond layers and decaying nickel isotopes. The company claims this design doesn’t leak any radiation or produce toxic chemical substances, as nickel-63 decays into copper.
Betavolt emphasizes that these batteries can operate for up to 50 years without the need for replacement or recharging. Moreover, they can function in extreme temperatures ranging from -60 to 120 degrees Celsius.
In a statement, Betavolt Technology said, “Betavolt’s atomic power batteries can meet the long-term energy supply needs in various scenarios, such as space, artificial intelligence equipment, medical equipment, precision processing, advanced sensor devices, small unmanned aerial vehicles, and small robots.”
This innovation in energy is anticipated to give China a leading edge in the new wave of the artificial intelligence technological revolution. Currently, nuclear-powered batteries or isotopic power sources are already in limited use in certain medical devices like pacemakers and spacecraft.
In nuclear batteries or isotopic power sources, the energy from the fission of radioactive isotopes is converted into electricity. This differs from nuclear reactors where a controlled nuclear reaction is utilized.