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: A stabilizing influence enables lithium-sulfur battery evolution

Related Stories

The untapped power of fuel cells

October 15, 2018

In recent years, renewable energy has been on the rise in the United States. Still, the overwhelming majority of our energy comes from fossil fuels. And, renewable energy needs to overcome significant limitations and obstacles ...

A novel catalyst for high-energy aluminum-air flow batteries

October 15, 2018

A recent study affiliated with UNIST has introduced a novel electric vehicle (EV) battery technology that is more energy efficient than gasoline-powered engines. The new technology involves replacing battery packs instead ...

Cells in 'little brain' have distinctive metabolic needs

October 10, 2018

Cells' metabolic needs are not uniform across the brain, researchers have learned. "Knocking out" an enzyme that regulates mitochondria, cells' miniature power plants, specifically blocks the development of the mouse cerebellum ...

Recommended for you

Pushing the extra cold frontiers of superconducting science

October 18, 2018

Measuring the properties of superconducting materials in magnetic fields at close to absolute zero temperatures is difficult, but necessary to understand their quantum properties. How cold? Lower than 0.05 Kelvin (-272°C).

Superflares from young red dwarf stars imperil planets

October 18, 2018

The word "HAZMAT" describes substances that pose a risk to the environment, or even to life itself. Imagine the term being applied to entire planets, where violent flares from the host star may make worlds uninhabitable by ...

First proof of quantum computer advantage

October 18, 2018

For many years, quantum computers were not much more than an idea. Today, companies, governments and intelligence agencies are investing in the development of quantum technology. Robert König, professor for the theory of ...

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.