This is amazing. Yesterday researchers at the University of Bristol reported success in converting nuclear waste into artificial diamonds that can then generate electric power for over 5,000 years.
The researchers worked out how to heat radioactive waste from nuclear reactors, turn the radioactive carbon into gas, and then how to collect and compress the gas into a safe diamond battery. As University of Bristol Professor, Tom Scott, explains: “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.”
While standard AA batteries run out within 24 hours of constant use, the team’s Carbon-14 diamond battery would still be at 50% power after 5,730 years – about as long as the entire recorded history of human civilisation.
For years, nuclear scientists have looked for a solution to radioactive waste, while environmental scientists have looked for a way to produce small, long-life batteries. By combining the two problems and solving them together, Bristol’s physicists and chemists have made a major breakthrough which, in hindsight, makes everyone ask “Why didn’t we think of this earlier?”
Now, Professor Scott says : “Obvious applications would be in low-power electrical devices where long life of the energy source is needed, such as pacemakers, satellites, high-altitude drones or even spacecraft.”
“There are so many possible uses that we’re asking the public to come up with suggestions of how they would utilise this technology by using #diamondbattery.”
What big solutions can you come up with today by thinking outside the box (and ending up with diamonds)?