from the urs-we-dig-up dept
Battery technology is a significant bottleneck for a lot of gadgets, and the limitations of batteries even prevent the widespread adoption of renewable energy solutions. Storing energy efficiently and safely is just a difficult problem. Quite a few energy storage solutions have been proposed, ranging from giant flywheels to burying pressurized air. One far out option that doesn’t get much attention is the nuclear battery, so here are just a few links on this obscure technology with a decently long half-life.
- Physicists have successfully captured and observed ions from an unstable isotope of bismuth which could help predict further nuclear reactions and lead to a practical nuclear battery. Being able to control a trapped form of nuclear energy is critical to the development of nuclear batteries that could hold a million times more energy than a conventional battery. [url]
- Both of the Voyager spacecrafts are powered by radioisotope thermionic generators that have lasted for decades without any moving parts or maintenance. No one is going to start using the heat of decaying plutonium-238 for powering any terrestrial gadgets any time soon, but these power plants are definitely reliable. [url]
- A thumb-sized battery called the NanoTritium could last 20 years or more, but it only delivers nanowatts of power. This betavoltaic power source will be commercially available, but it won’t be cheap at over $1,000 per battery. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.