UK researchers develop diamond batteries by recycling radioactive wasteStaff Writer | November 29, 2016
Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK have developed a man-made diamond battery which has potential to generate power when placed in close proximity to a radioactive field.
Technology A long-term problem of nuclear waste
The new method for radioactive energy development is expected to solve some of the problems of nuclear waste, clean electricity generation and battery life, the team said.
University Interface Analysis Centre materials professor and a member of the Cabot Institute Tom Scott said: “There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation.
“By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.”
The team has already developed and demonstrated a prototype diamond battery using the Nickel-63 material as the source of radiation.
However, further work is underway to develop next version of the diamond battery using carbon-14 as radiation source in order to significantly improve efficiency.
The carbon-14, a radioactive version of carbon generated in graphite blocks used to moderate the reaction in nuclear plants, was selected as it emits a short-range radiation which is quickly absorbed by solid materials. ■