Within 4 years your laptop battery may last for 30 years

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Within 4 years your laptop battery may last for 30 years

A new battery has been developed that could last for 30 years, well beyond the age of the product itself. Betavoltaics is an alternative energy technology that promises vastly extended battery life and power density over current technologies.

What is interesting is the science is being funded by the Airforce. Imagine the many applications a battery system like that would aid from sensors to communications, to maybe weapons.


Your next laptop could have a continuous power battery that lasts for 30 years without a single recharge thanks to work being funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

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.

Although betavoltaic batteries sound Nuclear they’re not, they’re neither use fission/fusion or chemical processes to produce energy and so (do not produce any radioactive or hazardous waste). Betavoltaics generate power when an electron strikes a particular interface between two layers of material.

The Process uses beta electron emissions that occur when a neutron decays into a proton which causes a forward bias in the semiconductor. This makes the betavoltaic cell a forward bias diode of sorts, similar in some respects to a photovoltaic (solar) cell. Electrons scatter out of their normal orbits in the semiconductor and into the circuit creating a usable electric current.

The profile of the batteries can be quite small and thin, a porous 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 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.

The best part about these cells are when they eventually run out of power they are totally inert and non-toxic, so environmentalists need not fear these high tech scientific wonder batteries. If all goes well plans are for these cells to reach store shelves in about 2 to 3 years.


By netchicken: posted on 2-10-2007

It really isn't that amazing that the U.S. Airforce is responsible for this tidbit of brilliance. We are always the beneficiaries of the military struggles for superiority.

So much can be attributed to the Soviets and their little Sputnik satelite, for example. Because of it, the Americans went absolutely batty and poured on the coal, bringing all sorts of neat gadgetry to us!

Ain't conflict wonderful?:jump
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 2-10-2007

This battery sounds ideal but I think for the applications the Airforce is seeking it, the power consumption is likely to be minimal. Where as a laptop and the like will need considerable amount of power and I wonder if this thing can produce as much power with the same compactness of today's batteries.

If it were to do so the amount of material being radiated by this object would make it very dangerous and a radiation hazard. A half used battery would also be a problem for concern.
By IAF: posted on 3-10-2007

There is an interesting debunking of the Betavoltaics technology on this Zdnet blog.
... Quote:
As with the best techno-rubbish, there is a story in there, but you'll be pootling around the skies in jetpacks before you're powering your Dell from neutron decay.
Zdnet blog
By netchicken: posted on 3-10-2007

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