Nuclear battery developed that can generate power for 50 years without recharging

Betavolt says his battery could power cell phones that never need charging and drones that can fly forever

3 mins read
Betavolt's "atomic energy battery" unveiled on January 8 is smaller than a coin (Betavolt Technology)

A Chinese startup has unveiled a new battery that it claims can generate electricity for 50 years without recharging or maintenance.

Beijing-based Betavolt said its nuclear battery is the first in the world to realize the miniaturization of atomic energy, packing 63 nuclear isotopes into a module smaller than a coin.

The company said the next-generation battery has entered the pilot study phase and will eventually be mass-produced for commercial applications such as phones and drones.

“Betavolt atomic energy batteries can meet long-lasting power supply needs in many scenarios such as aerospace, artificial intelligence equipment, medical devices, microprocessors, advanced sensors, small drones and micro robots,” the company said in a press release.

This new energy innovation will help China become the best in its field in the new round of the AI technological revolution.

The battery works by converting energy released from decaying isotopes into electricity through a process first discovered in the 20th century.

Scientists in the Soviet Union and the United States were able to develop this technology for use in spacecraft, underwater systems and remotely controlled science stations, but thermonuclear batteries were both costly and large.

The quest to miniaturize and commercialize nuclear batteries is part of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, designed to strengthen the country’s economy between 2021 and 2025, while research institutions in the US and Europe are also working to develop them.

Betavolt said that its first nuclear battery can provide 100 microwatts of power and 3V voltage with dimensions of 15x15x5 cubic millimeters, but it plans to produce batteries with a power of 1 watt by 2025.

Their small size means they can be used in series to generate more power, and the company imagines cell phones that never need charging and drones that can fly forever. Betavolt claims its layered design also means it won’t catch fire or explode in the face of sudden power, while it can operate in temperatures ranging from -60 to 120 degrees Celsius.

“The atomic energy battery developed by Betavolt is absolutely safe, contains no external radiation and is suitable for use in medical devices in the human body, such as pacemakers, artificial hearts and cochleae,” the company said.

Atomic energy batteries are environmentally friendly. After the decay period, the 63 isotopes turn into a stable copper isotope, which is non-radioactive and poses no threat or pollution to the environment


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