Could you imagine owning a laptop or a cellphone that had a battery life of 30-years (without recharging)? Such a technology could render chargers extinct because it is much more likely that the battery will outlast the product itself. The betavoltaic batteries promise to do just that, and no they are not outrageously enormous. Pictured to the right is what one of them would looks like when placed next to a cellphone.
So how do they work? The betavoltaic batteries are made from semiconductor materials, and uses radioisotopes as the energy source. As the radioactive material begins to decay the beta particles that are released are turned into electrical energy that can be used to power laptops, cellphones, or pretty much any device. There is no heat involved with process so you don’t have to worry about your lap burning up from the computer sitting on it. In fact they don’t even get as warm as traditional Lithium-Ion batteries.
Who in their right mind would put a mini nuclear power plant on their lap? Actually betavoltaic batteries don’t use fission, fusion, or chemical processes for the decay to take place, and therefore produce no hazardous waste. When they run out of power they are completely non-toxic and inert, so disposal won’t be a problem.
Apparently these things are expected to be available to the public in the next 2 or 3 years, but what kind of price will you have to pay for such a technology? They could probably charge thousands for a single laptop battery, and it would be worth it given the rising cost of electricity.
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More information on how betavoltaic power works