Nanodiamond batteries made from nuclear waste can last more than 20,000 years

TECHNOLOGY

Californian company NDB presented the concept of “battery of the future”, which can solve the problem of nuclear waste from nuclear power plants and at the same time provide mankind with a virtually inexhaustible and safe source of energy. This requires only sawing old graphite rods from reactors, which are rich in the extremely radioactive isotope carbon-14, into tiny nano-sized fragments. Each such piece will become the heart of a new battery.

The NDB designed the core structure of the future battery in the form of a diamond, into which carbon-14 needs to be turned. It will acquire the properties of a semiconductor and a heat conductor, which will make it possible to efficiently collect from its surface the charge obtained in the process of radioactive decay. All that remains is to add a supercapacitor for energy storage and a shell of non-radioactive carbon-12, which will become a barrier to dangerous radiation.

Nanodiamond battery

For practical purposes, diamond cells can be stacked in several layers to form a battery with the desired parameters. Specific characteristics are difficult to predict, but the NDB promises to develop low- and high-energy models. The company’s laboratories are still closed due to the pandemic, so there are no prototypes or practical developments yet, only a concept.

Despite this, NDB promises to create a commercial version of the nanodiamond battery in a maximum of two years. And they are already engaged in negotiations with the owners of the nuclear power plant on the transfer of spent graphite rods to them. Exactly what kind of batteries will be obtained – time will tell, but in potential they can be practically “eternal” sources of energy, which, with symbolic energy consumption, can work up to 28,000 years until all the carbon in the core is burned out.

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