California company NDB says its nano-diamond batteries will absolutely upend the energy equation, acting like tiny nuclear generators. they’re going to blow any energy density comparison out of the water, lasting anywhere from a decade to 28,000 years without ever needing a charge. they’re going to offer higher power density than lithium-ion battery. they’re going to be nigh-on indestructible & totally safe in an electrical car crash. And in some applications, like electric cars, they stand to be considerably cheaper than current lithium-ion packs despite their huge advantages.
The heart of every cell may be a small piece of recycled nuclear waste. NDB uses graphite reactor parts that have absorbed radiation from nuclear fuel rods & have themselves become radioactive. Untreated, it’s high-grade nuclear waste: dangerous, difficult & expensive to store, with a really long half-life.
This graphite is rich in carbon-14 radioisotope, which undergoes decay into nitrogen, releasing an anti-neutrino & a decay electron in process. NDB takes this graphite, purifies it and uses it to make tiny carbon-14 diamonds. The diamond structure acts as a semiconductor & heat sink, collecting the charge & transporting it out. Completely encasing the radioactive carbon-14 diamond is layer of cheap, non-radioactive, lab-created carbon-12 diamond, which contains the energetic particles, prevents radiation leaks and acts as a super-hard protective & tamper-proof layer.
To create A battery cell, several layers of this nano-diamond material are stacked up and stored with integrated ckt. board & a small supercapacitor to gather , store and instantly distribute the charge. NDB says it’ll conform to any shape or standard, including AA, AAA, 18650, 2170 or all manner of custom sizes.
And so what you get may be a tiny miniature power generator in shape of A battery that never needs charging – NDB says it will be cost-competitive with, and sometimes significantly less costly than – current lithium batteries. That equation is helped along by the very fact that a number of the suppliers of the genuine nuclear waste can pay NDB to take off their hands.
Radiation levels from a cell, NDB tells us, will be less than radiation levels produced by the physical human body itself, making it totally safe to be used during a sort of applications. At the tiny scale, these could include things like pacemaker batteries & other electronic implants, where their long lifespan will save the wearer from replacement surgeries. they might even be placed directly onto circuit boards, delivering power for the lifespan of device.
In a consumer electronics application, NDB’s Neel Naicker gives us an example of just how different these devices would be: “Think of it in an iPhone. With an equivalent size battery, it might charge your battery from zero to full, 5 times an hour. Imagine a world where you would not need to charge your battery in the least for the day. Now imagine for the week, for the month… How about for decades? that is what we’re ready to do with this technology.”
And it can proportion to electric vehicle sizes and beyond, offering superb power density in battery pack that’s projected to last as long as 90 years therein application – something that would be pulled out of your old car and put into a latest one. If a part of a cell fails, the active nano diamond part are often recycled into another cell, & once they reach end of their lifespan – which might be up to 28,000 years for a low-powered sensor which may , for ex. , be used on a satellite – they leave nothing but “harmless byproducts.”
In the words of Dr. John Shawe-Taylor, UNESCO Chair & University College London Professor: “NDB has the potential to unravel the main global issue of carbon emissions in one stroke without the expensive infrastructure projects, energy transportation costs, or negative environmental impacts related to alternate solutions like carbon capture at fuel power stations, hydroelectric plants, turbines, or nuclear stations. Their technology’s ability to deliver energy over very long periods of your time without the necessity for recharging, refueling, or servicing puts them in ideal position to tackle the world’s energy requirements through a distributed solution with on the brink of zero environmental impact & energy transportation costs.”
Indeed, the NDB battery offers an impressive 24-hour energy proposition for off-grid living, and therefore the NDB team is adamant that it wishes to devote a percentage of its time to providing it to needy remote communities as a charity service with the support of a number of the company’s business customers.
Should the corporate chew throughout the world’s full supply of carbon-14 nuclear waste – an opportunity that might take some extremely serious volume – NDB says it can create its own carbon-14 material simply & cost-effectively.
Company claims to have complete-proof of concept, and is prepared to start building its commercial prototype once its labs reopen after COVID shutdown. A low-powered commercial version is predicted to hit the market less than 2 years, and therefore the high-powered version is projected for 5 years’ time. NDB says it’s well top leading to its competition with patents pending on its technology & manufacturing processes.
Should this pan out as promised, it’s hard to ascertain how this would possibly not be a revolutionary power source. Such a long-life battery would fundamentally challenge the disposable ethos of the many modern technologies, or cause battery packs that buyers carry with them from phone to phone, car to car, laptop to laptop across decades. NDB-equipped homes are often grid-connected or not. Each battery is its own near-inexhaustible green energy source, quietly turning nuclear waste into useful energy.
Sounds like remarkable news to us!
The properties of supercapacitors are well known: high power density allowing fast charge & discharge, long lifespan, & low energy density – meaning they will store only alittle amount of energy per volume.
Such a system – a trickle-charged supercapacitor – might be useful for sustained, low-power applications, & for emergency applications like Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) which will slowly charge themselves for weeks or months between periods of discharge, but wouldn’t generate power anywhere near quickly enough to be used in long-range electric or other applications requiring sustained high power outputs from a compact battery pack.
NDB speaks of low & high-power versions of the cell in development, but until we see some output figures the claims are still hazy, and until we see some proof, they’re in fact just claims. We’ll keep you updated.