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China unveils revolutionary 50-year battery based on nuclear tech

A Chinese startup has achieved a major breakthrough in battery longevity, developing a miniature power unit that can continuously supply energy for up to 50 years.

Betavolt’s BV100 runs on radioactive nickel-63, harnessing the energy emitted during its gradual decay process. Nestled between layers of diamond semiconductor, the nickel isotope decays at a stable rate inside the tiny 15mm cube device, generating a perpetual 3 volt, 100 microwatt power supply.

With an energy density over 10 times greater than lithium batteries, the BV100’s exceptional lifespan eliminates the need for recharging and maintenance over its 50 year runtime. While miniscule in its current form, Betavolt plans larger versions for low-power applications including medical implants like pacemakers and powering remote sensor devices.

Future regulations permitting, the company also envisions mainstream use in smartphones and consumer gadgets as a radically longer-lasting battery alternative. The self-contained nature of the nuclear battery renders it impervious to damage from drops, crashes, heat or other external forces.

“The BV100 shows the vast promise of nuclear energy in a stable, safe package,” said Betavolt CEO Yao Xiuming. “With further development, our atomic batteries could free mankind from the burden of frequent recharging, while enabling innovative technologies dependent on autonomous, inexhaustible power.”

The nuclear battery operates emission-free, with no risk of ignition, explosion or radiation leakage, alleviating environmental and safety concerns. It also helps overcome limitations in harnessing renewable energy like solar and wind power that suffer from intermittency issues.

As betas continue across 2023, Betavolt expects to offer the BV100 commercially next year for specialty applications. The company also has its sight set on even higher capacities to replace petrol generators and traditional batteries in vehicles to usher in a new era of transportation.

“This is just the beginning,” Yao teased. “Soon we may power the phones in our pockets, the cars on the highway and devices across every industry with near perpetual atomic energy.”

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