With climate change at the forefront of increasingly more news outlets, and as our attention is drawn to the damage that we are all doing to our planet, scientists are continually working hard to come up with new, innovative and sustainable energy alternatives which are more efficient than ever.
One of these new discoveries involves nuclear waste being converted into radioactive black diamond batteries which have a life of over 5,000 years.
Scientists and researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered a method by heating graphite blocks, which then gives off the radioactive carbon as a gas, which is then gathered and turned into the radioactive by using a high temperature chemical reaction. Through this chemical reaction, carbon atoms are left on the surface in small, dark diamond crystals.
It was found that these diamonds can produce a small electrical charge when they are placed near a radioactive source.
The newly created radioactive diamonds, the surface of which emit less radiation than a single banana, are then encased within a layer of non-radioactive diamond, to make them safe to handle.
The researchers have claimed that this method could create a battery which would be capable of generating clean electricity for as long as human civilisation has existed.
Tom Scott, a Professor in Materials at the University of Bristol Interface Analysis Centre, said, “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.”
Plans are in place for the first carbon-14 batteries to be created in the New Year, which would deliver an electrical charge of just 300 joules each day, compared with a standard and commonly used AA battery which outputs 14,000 joules per day.
This could be an energy friendly alternative to current batteries, with interests from scientists at NASA, as well as technology firms which would use them for internet devices.
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Jess Murray is a wildlife filmmaker and conservation blogger, having recently returned from studying wildlife and conservation in South Africa, she is now striving to spread awareness about the truth behind faux conservation facilities throughout the world. You can follow Jess on Facebook Here