Monday, October 1, 2007

BetaVoltaic Power-Cells

Laptops may potentially have a continuous power battery that will last longer than the laptop itself by 30 years … and do it without a single recharge. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is funding a research project regarding a new battery technology. The breakthrough betavoltaic power cells are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source. As the radioactive material decays it emits beta particles that transform into electric power capable of fueling an electrical device like a laptop for years.

The new battery technology doesn’t use a chemical processes to produce energy which mean it does not produce any hazardous waste. How it works is a little beyond my technology ‘know how’ but the size of the batteries looks to be quite small and thin. An absorbent silicon material is used to collect the hydrogen isotope tritium, which is generated in the process. The reaction is non-thermal which means laptops and other small devices like mobile phones will run much cooler than with traditional batteries such as the lithium-ion power batteries. The reason the battery lasts so long is that neutron beta-decay into protons is the world's most concentrated source of electricity, truly demonstrating Einstein’s theory E=MC2

Environmentalists should be thrilled at the prospects of the new technology. When the new batteries eventually run out of power they are non-toxic.

Source: Next Energy News

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