Tech

This Diamond Battery Runs on Nuclear Waste and Will Last 28,000 Years

It could power our smartphones in the future. 
IMAGE NDB
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Imagine a world without chargers. One piece of tech could soon upend the entire world of electronics, just as the iPhone did in 2007. 

California-based company NDB (Nano Diamond Battery) is developing a diamond battery that runs on nuclear waste and can last up to 28,000 years. The wild claim has yet to come to fruition, but it is not impossible. Just really, really expensive. 

According to NDB, each battery would contain nuclear waste made of graphite from nuclear reactor parts. Although these are considered “waste,” they still contain vast amounts of energy that humans simply dispose of in underground nuclear landfills. The graphite is rich in carbon-14 radioisotope that releases energy as its particles decay. 

NDB will also use these graphite compounds to create the nanodiamonds, which will act as the battery’s shielding and semiconductor. The diamonds will absorb the radioactive energy and transfer it to a supercapacitor that stores the charge.

How will it be safe for humans?

A good question. After all, Marie Curie died because she casually kept radioactive material in her pockets. But according to NDB, the radiation from the battery will not exceed the radiation produced by the human body. 

On its website, NDB explains how super-thin sheets of diamonds are stacked together to prevent radiation leaks and provide thermal conduction. 

“The diamond nuclear voltaic (DNV) stacks along with the source are coated with a layer of poly-crystalline diamond, which is known for being the most thermally conductive material also has the ability to contain the radiation within the device and is the hardest material, 12 times tougher than stainless steel. This makes our product extremely tough and tamperproof,” NDB wrote. 

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What are the applications of the nuclear waste battery?

The battery was originally conceived as an alternative power source for space travel. Space stations need powerful and long-lasting batteries that require very little maintenance because sending people to space to replace them is very expensive. 

But the good news is that the project is highly scalable. 

According to NDB, applications for the nuclear waste battery can range from car batteries, smartphones, and almost anything that requires batteries today. For cars, the battery could last up to 90 years. If you’re planning to replace your car, you can just have the battery transferred to your new car. Electric-powered cars would also never have to plan trips around charging stations.

Because of its ability to provide smartphones with high power, it could also lead to the development of quantum smartphones, a new generation of devices with unprecedented computing power. 

It could also lead to the creation of personal quantum computers that could perform tasks similar to supercomputers.

Can the nuclear waste battery end global warming?

According to John Shawe-Taylor, UNESCO chair for artificial intelligence and professor at University College London, the battery could not only upend the world’s tech industry, but also save it from climate change. 

“NDB has the potential to solve the major global issue of carbon emissions in one stroke,” said Shawe-Taylor. 

According to Shaw-Taylor, the NDB can address climate change without the need for expensive infrastructure projects or overhauling the transportation sector—all forms of powered transportation need some form of battery. 

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“Their technology’s ability to deliver energy over very long periods of time without the need for recharging, refueling, or servicing puts them in an ideal position to tackle the world’s energy requirements through a distributed solution with close to zero environmental impact and energy transportation costs,” added Shawe-Taylor.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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