New power cell works for nearly 20 years

October 11, 2005

University of Missouri-Columbia scientists say they've developed a power cell capable of providing continuous power for years.

The scientists from the university's research reactor and the Qynergy Corp. say their discovery will create new capabilities for applications that require longer power life in compact, low volume containers. The cells have the potential of continuously generating small amounts of electricity for nearly 20 years.

"In our research, we were able to obtain an energy conversion efficiency of 11 percent, while the highest success to date had only been 5 percent," said David Robertson, associate director of research and education at research reactor.

The technology used in betavoltaic power cells is similar to solar power generation, but uses radioisotopes as the energy source, researchers said. The cells use isotopes that are fully contained within the power cell -- similar to the radioactive source found in many smoke detectors -- and can be used without external risk.

The technology transforms beta particles into electrical power with the capacity to generate electricity for years, depending on the energy and half-life of the isotope used.

The project was funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Stabilizing molecule could pave way for lithium-air fuel cell

Related Stories

A new sensor increases smartwatch battery life five times

April 26, 2017

Nearly 80% of the battery power in smartwatches is used up by the heart-rate monitor. But a new generation of sensors developed by EPFL startup ActLight consumes five times less energy. They have been tested and calibrated, ...

Recommended for you

SpaceX to launch classified US govt payload Sunday

April 29, 2017

SpaceX on Sunday is scheduled to make its first military launch, with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which makes and operates spy satellites for the United States.

Is dark matter 'fuzzy'?

April 28, 2017

Astronomers have used data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to study the properties of dark matter, the mysterious, invisible substance that makes up a majority of matter in the universe. The study, which involves 13 ...

Mineral resource exhaustion is just a myth: study

April 28, 2017

Recent articles have declared that deposits of raw mineral materials (copper, zinc, etc.) will be exhausted within a few decades. An international team including the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, has shown that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.