A Chinese startup, Betavolt has unveiled a new battery called BV100 that can generate electricity for 50 years without the need for charging or maintenance. The energy density of this battery is rated at 10 times more than that of lithium batteries and is not prone to fire or explosions.This battery is based on nuclear reactions which turn the heat from decaying radioactive elements into electricity by some sort of thermocouple making it different from conventional batteries. Presently, BV100 is of size measuring 15x15x5 cubic millimeters and can generate 100 mW of power at 3V. However, the company is trying to achieve 1W of power output by 2025. The company has also claimed that it is the first battery in the world to realize the miniaturization of atomic energy.
BV100 uses a combination of a nickel-63 (⁶³Ni) radioactive isotope and a 4th-generation diamond semiconductor. Diamond layers are doped with radioactive isotopes (⁶³Ni) which emit Beta (β⁻) particles. These Beta (β⁻) particles are essentially high-energy, high-speed electrons. When Beta (β⁻) particles are released, the diamond matrix acts as a semiconductor to generate an electric current. The whole configuration of BV100 is sealed in a protective case to shield against radiation exposure and to protect the battery against physical damage. This battery is capable of working in temperatures ranging from -60℃ to 120℃.
In an official statement, Betavolt stated, “Our atomic energy batteries can provide enduring power in diverse scenarios, such as aerospace, AI equipment, medical devices, microprocessors, advanced sensors, small drones, and micro-robots.” The company has also said the next-generation battery had already entered the pilot testing stage and will eventually be mass produced for commercial applications like phones and drones.
Since this battery does not require continuous charging and replacement, it can be an efficient energy source for electric vehicles replacing Li-ion batteries which mostly and sometimes cause explosions or fires.