Smartphones, smart wearables, among other electronic devices, have become increasingly popular and advanced over time. However, the potential of these devices is still hindered by the limitations of the batteries used to power them. When we talk about revolutionary batteries for the future, we think about how these batteries might last for months or a few years or maybe even decades after charging for a few minutes. However, is this the limit?
If we take one particular example, that is, of an electric vehicle, batteries play a massive role in determining the lifespan of the car. Renowned companies such as Tesla and Nissan promise up to 8 years of battery life for the electric vehicles. While this might sound impressive, what if we find a way to extend the battery life for a much longer period of time? We’re not talking about battery-life that can be extended upto hundreds of years. Instead, we are talking about batteries that can last up to thousands of years.
California-based NDB Inc., has devised a revolutionary battery that can last up to 28,000 years, on a single charge. NDB has created a self-charging nano-diamond battery by encasing carbon-14 nuclear waste in multiple layers of an artificial diamond case. The diamond layers serve as a protective shield to contain the radiations from nuclear waste material. This structure can be repurposed to adhere to the different battery size standards such as AA, AAA, etc. Additionally, the battery does not generate carbon emissions during operation.
Even though the charge in these batteries would deplete over time, it is sufficient to last longer than the life-time of an individual or even a device for that matter, rendering this innovation a charge-free solution.
The startup reached a significant milestone by establishing the proof of concept of the nano-diamond battery in a series of two tests.
An essential feature of these batteries is that they generate energy from the leftover nuclear waste from nuclear reactors. Disposal of radioactive material has been a challenge for a long time in terms of cost and storage implications. Therefore, if this battery is finally commercialized, assuming that it is entirely safe, it will be a win-win situation for the environment and humanity.
The company further claimed that this battery could be used to power smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart wearables, electric vehicles (EVs), cameras, sensors, aircraft, trains, rockets, satellites, etc. The company has also claimed that eventually, the batteries might be able to power houses. The surplus electricity can then be sold to the grid, adding an extra source of revenue to the household. Moreover, since frequent battery replacement can be cut down, the battery can be perhaps used in pacemakers and implants, where regular battery change is not feasible.
The company hopes to commercialize the battery eventually. As of now, the company is working on a prototype design to release the first commercial NDB battery. Although there is no available timeline as to when the batteries will be readily available, such advances are of utmost importance to explore the possibilities in battery tech and to push research.
The company has signed a few beta customers already. Although the name of the companies remains unrevealed, NDB stated that one company is a “leader in nuclear fuel cycle products and services,” while another one is “a leading global aerospace, defense and security manufacturing company.” This is not a surprise because the application of such a technology is inevitable in several industries, including aerospace and defense.
Other Revolutionary Batteries That Have A Promising Future
IBM’s Sea-Water Powered Battery
IBM Research discovered an eco-friendly battery chemistry as opposed to the traditional lithium-ion batteries. The scientists claimed that the battery is free from heavy metals and can surpass lithium-ion batteries in terms of performance. The materials required to power the battery can be extracted from seawater. IBM stated:
IBM’s battery is in the early stages of development. IBM Research has collaborated with Mercedes-Benz Research and battery manufacturing companies like Sidus and Central Glass to push research on these batteries.
Sand Batteries From The University of California
Researchers from the University of California designed an alternative type of the traditional graphite lithium-ion batteries to multiply the performance by up to three times. This battery uses silicon as a substitute for graphite in the anodes.
Scientists have been working on nano silicon for quite a while now, but it has its own set of challenges. Sand can be used to purify this material, and further powdering it and grinding with salt and magnesium can remove the oxygen component and to give pure silicon. This is believed to enhance the performance and life-time of the battery considerably.
Gold Nanowire Batteries From The University of California
Scientists from the University of California have cracked yet another challenge in nanowire batteries. The researchers have designed nanowire batteries that can be recharged over 200,000 times in a span of three months, without any degradation of the battery. The scientists have stated that this has opened up the doors for future batteries that won’t die quickly due to recharging. Nanowires are a thousand times thinner than hair and are considered to offer huge prospects in future batteries by scientists around the world.