Nano-diamond self-charging batteries could disrupt energy as we know it – if the concept works

Posted: September 3, 2020 by oldbrew in Batteries, Energy, innovation
Tags: ,

As the report below points out: ‘until we see some output figures the claims are still hazy, and until we see some proof, they are of course just claims’.
– – –
California company NDB says its nano-diamond batteries will absolutely upend the energy equation, acting like tiny nuclear generators, reports New Atlas.

They will blow any energy density comparison out of the water, lasting anywhere from a decade to 28,000 years without ever needing a charge.

They will offer higher power density than lithium-ion. They will be nigh-on indestructible and totally safe in an electric car crash.

And in some applications, like electric cars, they stand to be considerably cheaper than current lithium-ion packs despite their huge advantages.

The heart of each cell is a small piece of recycled nuclear waste.

NDB uses graphite nuclear reactor parts that have absorbed radiation from nuclear fuel rods and have themselves become radioactive. Untreated, it’s high-grade nuclear waste: dangerous, difficult and expensive to store, with a very long half-life.

This graphite is rich in the carbon-14 radioisotope, which undergoes beta decay into nitrogen, releasing an anti-neutrino and a beta decay electron in the process.

NDB takes this graphite, purifies it and uses it to create tiny carbon-14 diamonds. The diamond structure acts as a semiconductor and heat sink, collecting the charge and transporting it out.

Completely encasing the radioactive carbon-14 diamond is a layer of cheap, non-radioactive, lab-created carbon-12 diamond, which contains the energetic particles, prevents radiation leaks and acts as a super-hard protective and tamper-proof layer.

To create a battery cell, several layers of this nano-diamond material are stacked up and stored with a tiny integrated circuit board and a small supercapacitor to collect, store and instantly distribute the charge.

NDB says it’ll conform to any shape or standard, including AA, AAA, 18650, 2170 or all manner of custom sizes.

Full report here.
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Interview: The NDB team on its revolutionary nano-diamond batteries — New Atlas
‘A cheap, safe, self-charging battery that delivers high power for decades without ever needing a charge? That’s a game changer. California-based company NDB is making some outrageous promises with its nano-diamond battery technology, which could completely disrupt the energy generation, distribution and provision models if deployed at scale.’

  1. Graeme No.3 says:

    If the carbon 14 fuel turns into nitrogen, how do they stop leaks?
    That gas will expand with heat so stress on the encapsulating layer?

  2. jeremyp99 says:

    Magic Battery #1773 in a never-ending series…

  3. tom0mason says:

    Any group that puts out such a childish cartoons to convince the general public of the merits of their proposed products usually are either criminal fraudsters or deluded cranks. Maybe this majic diamond battery has more potential then say, the cold fusion reactor — I remain skeptical.

    From the link

    “Update, August 27, 2020: We have contacted NDB to clarify several of their claims in this article. At this stage we believe the power density claims may relate to the power delivered by the supercapacitor part of the cell, rather than to how much energy the carbon-14 diamond itself is capable of generating. If this is the case, we may be looking at a very slow trickle charge from the diamond into the supercapacitor, and a high power output from the supercapacitor.

    Such a system – a trickle-charged supercapacitor – could be useful for sustained, low-power applications, and for emergency applications like Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) that can slowly charge themselves for weeks or months between periods of discharge, but would not generate power anywhere near quickly enough for use in a long-range electric car or other applications requiring sustained high power outputs from a compact battery pack.”

    So apart from the difficulty of making utterly flawless diamonds from super refined isotopes of carbon, it’s not a ‘real’ battery but a rechargeable supercapacitor, with all the destructibility and reliability that these offer.

    The bottom line is that this publicity promo looks very much like it is touting for money (government investments?) without actually telling us very much.

  4. Gamecock says:

    ‘Any group that puts out such a childish cartoons to convince the general public of the merits of their proposed products usually are either criminal fraudsters or deluded cranks.’

    The report has nothing to do with batteries. Double ought zero. The report is the monthly propaganda that renewable energy/battery storage/EVs can work. They don’t need actual breakthroughs. They need the public to believe that breakthroughs are possible, and it’s only a matter of time.

    People will accept the fraud if convinced that the saving technology is possible and on its way.

  5. A C Osborn says:

    Gamecock says: September 3, 2020 at 11:53 am

    I think that you are definitely wrong about this start up company, they really believe they are on to something.
    And why not small nuclear particles have been used for years in US Satellites.

  6. ivan says:

    @tom0mason, well said sir – I would not have been so polite. As you say it is nothing but pie in the sky PR speak looking for public money to keep them in conditions they would like to become accustomed to.

    @A C Osborn, Yes there are several satellites that have nuclear power sources but they are up in space where the stupid rules and regulations imposed by the anti nuclear zealots do not apply. With this mob one has to ask how they are going to get round the regulations down on the ground especially in California. It is all very well to play with the small amounts of nuclear waste that are allowed but scaling up hits the regulations and so in 10 or more years they might get a permit to do something and by that time people might have woken up and realised electric cars and ‘renewable energy’ are not the panacea the greens think they are.

  7. Curious George says:

    The article is short on numbers. I estimate that in the next 10 years they may manufacture batteries with a total power of 10 W. I mean the whole production, not one battery.

  8. Gamecock says:

    “I think that you are definitely wrong about this start up company, they really believe they are on to something.”

    They are not announcing a commercial product. Releases like this are an appeal for funding. If they had a good idea, they’d not need to beg for funding.

    New Atlas publishes it because . . . well, I stated above. Gives credence to the agenda.

  9. oldbrew says:

    From the interview:

    Loz: Right. This is perhaps a bit of a crass question to ask, but do you guys have to pay for this nuclear waste, or are people paying you to take it away?

    Irfan: (Laughs) I’m glad you brought that up! We’ve got a few places that have offered to pay us to take it away. It’s a nuisance for them. They have to store it, and you can imagine the regulations around that. In many cases, they have to keep the public a certain distance away. They’ll actually pay us to take this stuff away.
    – – –
    ”you can imagine the regulations around that” — indeed we can, but wouldn’t they also apply to NDB? 🤔

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Um, it creates electrons, but they need a positive sink to create a usable current. Where do the electrons go? Do you need an earth ground?

  11. hunterson7 says:

    My bunkonium detector is pegged in the redzone.
    But I hope it is wrong.
    As long as, unlike with “climate” and “renewables”, the principal of extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof is actually applied.

  12. oldbrew says:

    AUGUST 21, 2020
    Scientists develop an economical atomic battery with power increased by 10 times

    The battery can be used in several functional modes: as an emergency power supply and temperature sensor in devices used at extreme temperatures and in hard-to-reach (or completely inaccessible) places: in space, under water, in high-altitude areas.

  13. gbaikie says:

    Wiki: atomic battery:
    “An atomic battery, nuclear battery, radioisotope battery or radioisotope generator is a device which uses energy from the decay of a radioactive isotope to generate electricity. Like nuclear reactors, they generate electricity from nuclear energy, but differ in that they do not use a chain reaction. Although commonly called batteries, they are technically not electrochemical and cannot be charged or recharged.”
    So, kind of like battery {potential radioactive energy is “stored” or has half life]

    It not going to make N2 gas, it’s going to make N1, and should combine with the carbon-14, though already combined carbon-14, so becomes C3N- Cyanoethynyl radical? Whatever that is, and later perhaps into C2N2- Bisisocyanide again no clue.
    But carbon is diamond, it seems C3N isn’t diamond. Or don’t think one can compress C3N make into a diamond, so it’s an impunity in the diamond. Though seems it could remain more or less diamond for decades. And you could then recycle the nuclear waste.
    Anyway quite lethal to eat C-14, but otherwise harmless. Though everyone has some small amount C-14 in their body.
    It seems one wouldn’t have problem if ate a carbon-14 diamond- assuming it then “exited” relatively soon.

  14. ivan says:

    @oldbrew, the ‘battery’ they are talking about in that techxplore article will need a jump of several orders of magnitude to become useful.

    From the article we learn – ‘The output electrical parameters of the proposed design were: short-circuit current IKZ-230 nA /cm2 (in the usual planar construction-24 nA), the final power-31nW /cm2, (in the planar one-3nW).’ Note they don’t mention voltage. We must consider the fact that
    1 Nanoampere is one billionth of an ampere. (1 Nanoampere = 10^9 amperes. 1 nA = 0.000 000 001 A).

    Not going to be powering an EV any time soon.

  15. stpaulchuck says:

    sounds like rent seekers looking for “funding” because they need to trade in their two year old Mercedes.

  16. Glen Bowe says:

    Whether the company’s claims are greatly exaggerated or not, one thing is clear to me. If enough money and talent is thrown at the clean energy problem, a solution will be discovered or engineered. I just hope that more companies are willing to approach the problem with an open mind as well as an open wallet.

  17. Gamecock says:

    There is no problem, Mr Bowe.

    But the barrier is not money or enough engineers. The barrier is physics and the laws of thermodynamics.

    Note that money and talent HAS been thrown at the clean energy problem (sic) for decades. At some point, one should recognize the insanity of doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result.

  18. tom0mason says:

    The funniest debunk of this diamond battery marketing junk from

    Debunk like only an Australian could 🙂

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