Le14 (14VS). It is one of carbon naturally present in our environment. It forms from d’ 14 (14N) present in the high . When they are hit by . But the 14C is also formed in a more artificial way. In the heart of some . However, carbon 14 is radioactive. It is an advantage for the 14C natural. Scientists have been using it for a long time to date all kinds of objects. From works of art to . But when it comes to 14C produced within , it is rather a disadvantage. Because even if its is ” weak “sa of life is long. About 5,700 years old. Enough to make carbon 14 an embarrassing radioactive waste.
And it was precisely then that the program ofof the United Kingdom had just started that researchers from the University of Bristol wondered if they could not find a solution to reuse this carbon 14. Because according to them, the quantity of 14C to in the next ten to fifteen years would be huge. Recycling it would considerably reduce the radioactivity of the remaining. As well as the duration and cost of dismantling operations.
What the researchers envision is to extract the carbon 14 from the blocks offrom old nuclear reactors to make . What interest ? Transform these radioactive in batteries…almost eternal! Because the diamond can behave like a . A bit like the which makes it possible to produce photovoltaic electricity from received from the diamond produces electricity from the energy emitted by the radioactive decay of the 14C.
To make artificial diamonds, researchers typically rely on a process called chemical vapor deposition. At high temperature, it grows a diamond film from a plasma mixture ofand methane. Researchers at Bristol University have adapted it to be able to grow radioactive diamonds using methane containing the radioactive isotope of carbon found on irradiated reactor graphite blocks. The diamond used in batteries is thus made up of thin layers of large crystalline grains. A structure also designed to prevent radiation leakage and minimize danger to human health. ” The particles of carbon 14, although energetic, do not travel very far. Because these particles are encapsulated in a dense matrix, the likelihood of the battery emitting radiation in a way that would penetrate human skin becomes negligible.”promise the researchers.
Still progress to make
But all the same, don’t expect there to be a miracle solution to both our problems of management ofand our power generation problems. In particular because these radioactive diamond batteries are much less efficient than the others. The storage capacity of an AA battery, for example, is around 700 per gram (J/g). That announced of a battery with radioactive diamond would be about 15 J/g. However, the first runs out in just one day, while the second can last nearly 6,000 years before the current produced is halved.
Other advantages of radioactive diamond batteries: their small size and robustness. They fit in less than a cubic centimeter. And they are not sensitive to high temperatures — they can withstand up to 700°C — or humidity or corrosive environments. Enough to imagine using them to power small detectors ormedical, for example.
A California-based company already announced a few months ago that it had developed prototypes of such nuclear batteries. For its part, Arkenlight, the company working on the industrial development of the idea of researchers at the University of Bristol hopes to market a first product from the end of 2023. From here, the engineers will work to combine several batteries into a single one. cell which, equipped with a small supercapacitor, could make it possible to improve the performances of the system. To go, why not, as far as powering a smartphone.
And other batteries of this type could also emerge in the months to come. Always batteries that would rely on radioactivity. Radiovoltaic batteries. Like the one also imagined by researchers at the University of Bristol, which this time would convert thein electricity. Systems operating from ambient radioactivity in certain environments and which could supply detectors in deposits of nuclear, for example.
Diamond batteries made from radioactive waste…
British researchers are proposing to make batteries made of diamonds containing a core of radioactive carbon-14, a material obtained from the graphite of dismantled nuclear power plants. No chemicals, no moving parts: just a carbon crystal that generates electricity for thousands of years. It is therefore abetavoltaic. We expect, however, to better understand and see at least a prototype…
Article ofpublished on 01/29/2017
specialist in radiation at the University of Bristol, caused a sensation during the 2016 session of the “Ideas for changing the world” colloquium. His, summarized in a in English, is to use a from closed nuclear power plants to produce electricity. This is the carbon-14 that forms in the graphite rods (carbon) used as a moderator in the heart of British nuclear power stations. The United Kingdom would have a stock of 95,000 tons.
According to Tom Scott, it is on the surface of the bar that this radioactive isotope of carbon is formed. He explains that it must therefore be possible to remove it easily by heating, the 12C stable lying inside. Turned into … As this “beta minus” radioactivity consists of , here is a generator. The principle has been known for ages: it is that of , which therefore produces its electricity directly. The carbon-14 being 5,730 years old, this “battery” produces electrons for thousands of years. Which would make it very convenient.ce would be used to make radioactive diamonds. His lecture at the symposium was, moreover, baptized
The battery-diamond could be used in space and in the human body
Still, no one has succeeded in making such an efficient generator, despite the efforts of researchers like , at the University of Missouri. So what about Tom Scott’s announcement? According to the , it does not use carbon-14 but only plans to do so. For now, his lab is working with nickel-63. He will have to make the diamond conductive, which we know how to do. It will then be necessary, as shown in the video, to encapsulate this radioactive in another, larger, charged beta radioactivity… but which will have to let out the electrons.
What power ? What cost? What uses? Tom Scott, who has not published his results, does not give details. It evokes spacecraft and, which could work for years. To find ideas, he asks Internet users by suggesting that they gather behind the hashtag #diamondbattery.