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China-based Betavolt develops nuclear battery for commercial applications

China-based Betavolt New Energy Technology has successfully developed a nuclear energy battery (radioisotope battery), which integrates nickel-63 nuclear isotope decay technology and China’s first diamond semiconductor (4th generation semiconductor) module.


The 3V BV100 delivers 100 Microwatts from a volume of 15 X 15 X 5 mm—smaller than a coin. The company plans to launch a 1-watt battery in 2025.

Betavolt says the atomic energy batteries will be stable and self-generating for 50 years without maintenance. The batteries have entered the pilot stage and will be put into the market for mass production.

Betavolt atomic energy batteries can meet power supply needs in applications such as aerospace, AI equipment, medical devices, MEMS systems, advanced sensors, small drones and micro-robots.

Nuclear batteries convert the energy released by nuclear isotope decay into electrical energy through a semiconductor converter. This is a field that the United States and the Soviet Union focused on in the 1960s. At present, there are only thermoelectric nuclear batteries (radioisotope thermoelectric generator) used in aerospace. This kind of battery has large volume and weight, a high internal high temperature, is expensive, and cannot be used for civilian applications.

Recently, the miniaturization, modularization and civilianization of nuclear batteries have been pursued by US and European researchers. China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and Vision Goals for 2035 also put forward the future development trend of the civilianization of nuclear technology and the multi-purpose development of nuclear isotopes.

Betavolt nuclear batteries generate current through the semiconductor transition of beta particles (electrons) emitted by the radioactive source nickel-63. In order to do this, Betavolt’s team of scientists developed a unique single crystal diamond semiconductor with a thickness of only 10 microns.


Diamond semiconductors belong to the class of Ultra Wide Band Gap (UWBG) semiconductors; their dielectric breakdown strength is at least three times higher than that of SiC devices, and also offers superior thermal conductivity.

A 2-micron-thick nickel-63 sheet was placed between two diamond semiconductor converters to convert the decay energy of the radioactive source into electric current and form a separate unit. Nuclear batteries are modular, can be composed of dozens or hundreds of independent unit modules, and can be used in series and in parallel, so battery products of different sizes and capacities can be manufactured.

Nuclear batteries are not electrochemical batteries; the energy density is more than 10 times that of ternary lithium batteries. With 50 years of self-generating power, there is no concept of the number of cycles (2000 charges and discharges) as with electrochemical batteries. The power generation of the nuclear battery is stable and will not change due to harsh environment and load. It can work normally in the range of 120 degrees above zero and minus 60 degrees, and there is no self-discharge.

Betavolt says its device is safe and emits no external radiation. Atomic energy batteries are environmentally friendly, the company says. The nickel-63 isotope decays into copper with a half-life of approximately 100 years. After decay, it would not pose any threat to the environment. Therefore, unlike existing chemical batteries, nuclear batteries do not require an expensive recycling process, Betavolt said.

Betavolt has registered patents in Beijing and will begin to register global PCT patents. Betavolt has also communicated with Chinese professional nuclear research institutions and universities, and plans to continue to study the use of strontium 90, plethium 147 and deuterium and other isotopes to develop atomic energy batteries with higher power and a service life of 2 to 30 years.



No doubt the word 'nuclear' will induce a fit of the vapours in some.

From the same people who 'objectively speaking' colluded with the fossil fuel industry to stop deployment of nuclear power, not only causing huge numbers of deaths from mining and pollution, but with global warming as a freebie.


Wait. What?
A million questions. Weight, scalability, behaviour in burning crash, price per kWh, temperature usage range, repairability at local facilities, supply chain...
Interesting to see current tech papers/ progress in EU and US research/ commercial facilities...


It is a 100 microwatt battery and so fir very special applications, like (IMO) sensors or clocks or very low power processors. I do NOT see them running AI systems.


100 microwatts won't even light the average LED.



More or less 'proof of concept' stuff.
They do say though:

' The 3V BV100 delivers 100 Microwatts from a volume of 15 X 15 X 5 mm—smaller than a coin. The company plans to launch a 1-watt battery in 2025.'

And for instance a smartphone charger might draw 5-10 watts, so presumably if upscaling further is tough, they could be used in series?


Betavolt batteries date back to the 1970s. The use of the diamond semiconductors is based on 2018 Russian research.
A 1 watt battery would be interesting if it could be part of a smart phone power system. With over 8 billion phones globally, this could have a great impact.
The critical factors are Nickel-63 isotope production and battery cost.
Another reference for a NIckel-63 Beta battery from South Korea:
“Perrformance evaluation of Ni-63 betavoltaic battery”,김진주.pdf


Presumably smartwatches use even less than phones.

The business model of the manufacturers though relies on their being junked, with the battery the usual excuse.
Apple for instance provides no utility to allow charging up to 80%, which would greatly enhance battery life, and actively works against it.

I can't see their being keen on enabling very long life nuclear batteries.

Another tech I am keener on would use a 'solar' panel in all sorts of devices including phones etc to utilise just the light in the surroundings to power the device.

Since it would trickle charge, they should be good for very long lifetimes.

Manufacturers are likely to do everything they can to prevent such long life.


Now for a dose of reality.
While Betavoltaic batteries are feasible, they are very expensive, 1 gram of radioactive Nickel-63 costs around 4,000 USD. Tritium Betavoltaic batteries are already available (for military applications), however, though cheaper than Nickel-63 they are also expensive.

Solar power packs for cellphones already exist and cost around $60, if you need a portable power source.
“High-Energy Dense Betavoltaics for Unattended Operation in Extreme Environments”,
Betavoltaic Costs:
“ Nuclear battery based on beta decay of isotopes of radioactive elements”,



Yeah, high value applications only.
Radioactivlty is not exactly a sales plus point, but implants?


These are Beta emitters. A piece of paper will stop the radiation. Original applications were for cardiac pacemakers. However, this was replaced by lithium batteries.


As Every Innovations, Let this be useful for Human Race

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