Could batteries last forever?
We are possibly not far from the point that we could forget charging our phones once a day – a new battery could soon power our devices for nine years straight.
A nano-diamond technology made of nuclear waste could hold the key to the environmental implications of the manufacture and disposal of batteries.
Dr Nima Golsharifi, Chief Executive Officer of the US startup NDB, spoke to FNZ about the technology behind a nano-diamond battery developed by his company that could solve the problem of a drained battery: “This battery has two different merits. One is that it uses nuclear waste and converts it into something good. And the second is that runs for a much longer time than the current batteries.”
He explained the power of the nano-diamond battery comes from radioactive isotopes used in nuclear reactors: “Radioactive isotopes could be extracted with two methods, one is the nuclear waste the other is to manufacture them. Different types of isotopes have different lifetimes.”
The battery’s radioactive core is protected by multiple layers of synthetic diamonds, one of the hardest materials to damage or break.
Dr Nima Golsharifi added: “We use diamonds to collect this charge and secure the battery’s structure from the radiation that is coming out from the radioactive isotopes.”
Mr Golsharifi said the battery, which could be used for a wide range of application from electronic devices to electric vehicles, will be soon available in the market – he added: “We should be able to have the battery for mobile phones and consumer electronics that will last nine years in about three years from now. We started this project in 2012 and we are now in the process of developing the prototype.”
He said the company could also create batteries for very niche applications that could offer 28,000 years lifetime for very low power applications that could be found in deep space.
He also admitted that the scientific team had to face various challenges during the development of the battery: “In terms of the components during the early stages, we noticed that access to radioactive isotopes was quite difficult but we managed to overcome it. Other challenges were the diamonds as their production is quite expensive and how we ensure the safety of the project.”