Scientists have converted nuclear waste into diamond batteries that last 1,000 years
By: April Carson
Despite the fact that nuclear power plants generate a large quantity of dangerous radioactive waste that is extremely difficult to process and remove, it is considered a clean energy source since it has zero carbon dioxide emissions. Now, scientists may have potentially developed a remedy for nuclear wastes that may revolutionize battery technology as we know it.
The team behind the battery believes that it could be used to help store energy generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar, which are intermittent. As the world looks to move away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner forms of energy, this battery could play a pivotal role in enabling a low-carbon future.
Back in 2016, a team of academics, physicists, and chemists at the University of Bristol began developing what would become known as radioactive diamond batteries. The device they created was dubbed a betavoltaic device, which means it's fueled by nuclear waste beta decay.
A nucleus with an excess of particles decays by beta decay, which happens when an atom's nucleus has a deficit in particles and releases some of them in order to attain a more stable proton: neutron ratio. Beta radiation is a type of ionizing radiation produced by this process, which is characterized by a high number of fast and energetic electrons.
The team's device was able to harness this beta radiation and convert it into electrical energy, which could then be used to power small devices like pacemakers or sensors. Even more amazing, the diamond batteries they created were estimated to have a lifespan of around 1,000 years.
A betavoltaic cell consists of numerous thin layers of radioactive material sandwiched between semiconductors. The decaying nuclear material emits beta particles that jostle electrons loose in the semiconductor, generating an electric current. However, the power density of the radiative source is lower as it gets farther away from the semiconductor. This implies that nuclear batteries are less efficient than other sorts of batteries. The polycrystalline diamond (PCD) is where this comes in handy.
The production of radioactive batteries entails a chemical vapor deposition process, which is frequently used in the creation of artificial diamonds. Researchers have modified the technique to grow radioactive diamonds by utilizing irradiated reactor graphite blocks with a carbon-14 radioisotope, which is present in radioactive methane. These diamonds can both serve as a radioactive source and a semiconductor because they are made from radioactive methane containing the radioisotope Carbon-14, which is found on irradiated reactor graphite blocks.
If you're exposed to beta radiation, you'll get a long-lasting battery that doesn't require charging. The nuclear waste within its interior renews itself over time, allowing it to charge for hundreds of years without significant deterioration. A single battery may theoretically last for more than 1,000 years without being replaced or recharged in practice.
The battery is a prototype that can presently be utilized in common applications like PCs and cell phones, but it isn't yet finished. Because the energy it delivers is so little, its usage is limited to tiny gadgets that don't require too much electricity.
Researchers are attempting to develop and maintain the invention using technology that would allow them to create and sustain the invention on a large commercial scale.
ARKENLIGHT, an English company who is commercializing Bristol's radioactive diamond battery, intends to market its first product, a micro-battery for pacemakers and sensors, in the latter half of 2023.
This technology could potentially revolutionize the way we deal with nuclear waste, as it offers a way to safely and effectively dispose of it while also generating clean energy. It's an incredible example of how science can be used to solve some of the world's most pressing problems.
The story was originally published on Thebrighterside.news.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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