Infinite Power promotes new electricity from radioisotopes technology

Posted: July 3, 2021 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags: ,
iso-tech2

Credit: Infinite Power

Are power companies and solar panel producers getting nervous yet? If not, they may see difficulties ahead for this idea.
– – –
Infinite Power’s breakthrough is a semiconductor that can convert high energy beta particles, X-rays, and gamma rays into electricity.

The Infinite Power cells function similarly to a photovoltaic solar cell, with two critical differences: The precise materials and design of the cells allows us to replace solar radiation with high energy releases from natural decay of radioisotopes.

Critically, our proprietary semiconductor can withstand higher energy releases associated with radioisotope decay over a long period of time.

WATCH A SHORT VIDEO

Infinite Power Cells
The breakthrough came when Infinite Power discovered the correct material and process to be used to create the semiconductor material that works readily with most radioisotopes.

This newly discovered semi-conductor material could then be used by Infinite Power in conjunction with virtually any radioisotope as the energy source, replacing the light waves of the sun as the energy source.

This new semiconductor material is the heart of the Infinite Power Cell; it performs the same job as the black solar cells that sit on your roof. Its job is to convert the energy emitted from a radioisotope into electricity.

The high energy gamma waves contain far more energy than the infra-red and visible light waves from the sun that power solar cells. And they emit that energy constantly. Energy waves produced from radioisotopes (like those used in an X-Ray machine) stream constantly to produce power 24 hours-a-day, every day.

The similarities with solar cell technology means that a great deal of off the shelf manufacturing processes already developed by the solar industry is directly applicable and useable in the commercial manufacturing and roll out of the Infinite Power Cell, dramatically lowering costs and production timelines.

Continued here.

Comments
  1. tallbloke says:

    The video is worth watching. On my rough calc a 1m^3 box of this tech will make enough power to run a home using 40kWhrs a day for 600 years! Doesn’t look like they’ll be offering these modules to the public though, likely due to nuclear security concerns. They’ll be stacked at power stations feeding onto the grid.

  2. oldbrew says:

    From the IP website:

    Infinite Power Cells operate in a similar way to how solar cells convert the Sun’s light into electricity. Though we need to remember the light from the Sun is made up of various components, including, Infra-Red (IR), Visible Light, Ultra Violet Light, X-Rays and Gamma waves, solar cells only convert the IR and visible light waves into energy.
    . . .
    Infinite Power’s breakthrough is a semiconductor that can convert high energy beta particles, X-rays, and gamma rays into electricity.

  3. Tim Spence says:

    I can see it working and I’m enthusiastic about this method because I believed something like this would come along. The price per kWhr would devastate all generation alternatives if the night time performance doesn’t drop off.

    Bit concerned that they’re punting for investment and aren’t just rolling it out, moreso because China will have a working prototype 7 days after seeing video.

    Could totally change the world and rid us of these troublesome priests of CO2 doom.

  4. Bloke down the pub says:

    It would provide a use for stored radioactive waste. Or just think of a banana boat, powered by the cargo it carries! Only downside to that is the return journey.

  5. oldbrew says:

    While waiting for radioisotopes to save the world…

    In California, where summer electricity blackouts are apparently ‘inevitable’ (see 30 second video below), householders can agree to a ‘free smart thermostat’ and play blackout roulette.

    – – –
    Then there’s this classic… 🤣

    JUNE 30, 2021
    California tests off-the-grid solutions to power outages

    “We’ve had outages before, but they were not severe. This one lasted almost three days for us,” said Shad Overton, a manager at Mad River Hatchery. “The electricity from the microgrid pumped the diesel fuel we needed for our generator.”

    https://techxplore.com/news/2021-06-california-off-the-grid-solutions-power-outages.html

  6. parlington says:

    Has anyone checked their numbers, this from our-business-model page, looks odd:

    One Million times more energy than a Lithium-Ion Battery
    40,000 times more energy than Petrol.
    600% more output than solar cells.
    400% more efficient than Wind Power.
    Cheaper Power costs and Higher Profits.
    Zero-carbon footprint…And Zero Waste
    Runs for up-to 100 years Non Stop.

    Plus why have it concealed in a lead lined box with an isotope, and not use it to collect energy from actual sunlight! like a current solar array, is it a dream method to resolve existing nuclear waste?

  7. Bloke down the pub says:

    tallbloke says:
    July 3, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Well their website only expects a 100 year lifespan, so maybe power six houses for 100 years. Not too shabby.

  8. stewgreen says:

    We have definitely discussed this device before
    about 1-2 years ago
    A radio-active source with a lead lined box, so that particles hit a solar panel type wall which converts it to electricity.
    I can’t find where we discussed it

    The problem is : it breaks the too good to be true rule
    It only actually counts as working , when you show me the working model
    rather than just an idea on paper,

    SEPTEMBER 25, 2020
    Infinite Power seeks to raise funds for UK power cell plant
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-infinitepower/infinite-power-seeks-to-raise-funds-for-uk-power-cell-plant-idUSKCN26G0RZ

    @GC just wrote
    : in February Paul’s bête noire Ambrose Evans-Pritchard had an article about Infinite Power
    “The possibilities for the UK’s net-zero drive are tantalising
    It may sound far-fetched, but research in Cumbria has found a way of creating power from radioisotopes”
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/02/07/britains-energy-future-lies-little-box-tricks/

  9. oldbrew says:

    Nuclear power is going to have to be beefed up somehow, if fuel burning continues to be strangled.

    Investors are backing uranium for reliable emission-free electricity
    By Ronald Stein |June 28th, 2021

    Share prices in uranium miners are on the rise, much to the horror of the weather dependent wind and solar industries.

    The market seems to be taking the threat of looming net-zero emissions targets seriously. Knowing that the only serious measure of meeting any such target is nuclear power, the smart money is backing any company with uranium mining interests or even the mere prospect of developing such an interest.

    https://www.cfact.org/2021/06/28/investors-are-backing-uranium-for-reliable-emission-free-electricity/

  10. RoswellJohn says:

    It’s a scam! In the 60s you could get radioisotope power at 1 watt per cubic foot. Nothing I saw in the video made me think they have had a breakthrough in power generation different from that. If they had powerful radioisotope sources then the guy wouldn’t have been handling them that close. And one cell/box wouldn’t be generating that much power. Enough to light an LED? Sure that only takes miliwatts.

  11. oldbrew says:

    From stewgreen’s Telegraph link…

    “It is modular so we just add more boxes. Our plan is a one gigawatt plant within two years,” said Mr McLeod. The company has signed a letter of intent to build its first 30 megawatt plant in the UK.

  12. ivan says:

    A few questions that have been left unanswered:
    1) since the animation /film is over a year old why are there no operating examples of this technology?
    2) since the process is supposed to be patented in a lot of countries why is no one manufacturing the units?
    3) why do I get the feeling that this is just another pie in the sky scam?

    As parlington says above, there are far too many inconsistencies when you read the fine print.

  13. MrGrimNasty says:

    I’ve already commented on NALOPKT, but another thought occurred to me……

    ……if this were such a dead cert. as ‘the solution’, then the CCC, Boris, etc. would be singing from the roof tops and throwing money at it, instead of paying Nissan to make a few ‘ordinary’ car battery packs in Sunderland.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Telegraph:

    The UK government has jumped on Infinite Power’s cobalt-60 battery to help solve an immediate conundrum: how to switch from combustion engines to EVs without breaking the grid, already under transition stress as it goes from being a 20th Century fossil-based system to a 21st Century flexible system of distributed green power.
    . . .
    “We’ll be rolling out the first EV charging points within twelve months. The UK government is extremely positive. They see it as a way to promote export-led industry and rebuild trade links with Commonwealth countries,” said Mr McLeod.

    Trade as in buying their cobalt.

  15. Graeme No.3 says:

    Voyager 1 launched in 1977
    powered by radioactive thermoelectric generators. Low efficiency (<10%) and 23 years after production, the radioactive material inside the RTG had decreased in power by 16.6%. A related loss of power is the degrading properties of the bi-metallic thermocouples used for the Seebeck effect. the RTGs were working at about 67% of their total original capacity instead of the expected 83.4% but are expected to work until 2025.

    Thermophotovoltaic cells work by the same principles as a photovoltaic cell, except that they convert infrared light emitted by a hot surface rather than visible light into electricity. Thermophotovoltaic cells have an efficiency slightly higher than thermoelectric modules and can be overlaid on top of themselves, potentially doubling efficiency.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator

  16. stpaulchuck says:

    I’m with the rest of you guys. Where’s the working prototype??? Sounds a lot like magic beans to me.

  17. Graeme No.3 says:

    The University of New South Wales has a wonky reputation after Chris Turney, professor of earth sciences, led the Ship of Fools expedition to Antarctica some years ago. They were stuck in ice for a week before being rescued at great cost and disruption to legitimate personel. As far as I know the only discovery they made was the recipe for peanut butter smoothies.

    The engineering side is different and has been working on solar cell technology for years, especially in layered cells with high (>40%) efficiency. It is possible that they found a thermophotovoltaic cell using infrared from a radioactive source. Whether that source is readily available isn’t clear as there are limited choices of suitable isotopes e.g. the Voyager 1 & 2 used plutonium 238 which was only produced in kilograms per year. Pure speculation on my part.

  18. jb says:

    Nothing said about load sharing problems with stacking of cells. And what to do with the spent cells? That’s a lot of waste product requiring special handling, unlike solar and wind devices.

  19. oldbrew says:

    Proven Concept; You can visit our R&D facility tomorrow and watch one being constructed in-front of you.

    https://infinitepower.life/our-business-model/

  20. saighdear says:

    THanks for the video link. Now that does look promising. 10kW per cubicmetre is not a power density for mobile applications: BUT who said the module had to be cubic in shape?Sinceso many peoplehave determined that Electriciy should / shouldnot power vehicles, maybe Society should instead question it’s demand for high horsepower vehicles to go 0-60mph in a 20’s plenty zone, or 30, or 40 or 50 even, in under 10 secs. ( the brain controller by many accounts can’t handle that acceleration).so 20kW could be accommodated in the vehicle footprint. Trucks at >12m long x 2m wide=50sqm –>500kW …. is that not enough? so why all the negative waffle in many of the coments?
    Gov. should get their collective fingers out of everyones’ er – chez and once and for all get rid of the stupid electric vehicle , as it currently is, propaganda. They’re fine for street hopping, if you wish, but leave it at that. Good Luck to the researchers on this project.

  21. tomo says:

    At this stage of the game I’d expect a pilot plant / demonstrator to be out – front and centre. The company filings are rather thin….

    I’ve now seen too many academic incubator “magic beans” to bother chasing the detail. Innovate UK’s database of UK public money spaffed on unworkable (some curious stuff in there…) schemes is a good starting point….

    The Sydney Morning Herald has a bit of background on Peter Bond the boss who seems to be quite an expert on toxic bullshit?

    Not much about Steve Whitehead seems to suggest that nuclear power is a core competency…

    Too much reticence about the detail implementation, no demonstrator, pushing buzzword buttons (like crazy) and a previous company name that hints at a perpetual motion machine – I wouldn’t bet the farm on this outfit 🙂

  22. MrGrimNasty says:

    “The UK government is extremely positive. ”

    Reminds me of the deluded people in Dragon’s Den saying a major retailer is extremely positive, who then get asked how many have they ordered – response 0!

    “Proven Concept; You can visit our R&D facility tomorrow and watch one being constructed in-front of you.”

    You can power 3 LEDs with a line of lemons or potatoes……

    A decade old this technology – where is the house or car running on it?

  23. AC Osborn says:

    Why aren’t there any out there you all ask.
    Well maybe it is because of the licencing needed for anything radioactive at the moment.
    Maybe it is the resistance to anything “nuclear”.
    Maybe it is a scam, only time will tell.

  24. tom0mason says:

    What the project needs is a charismatic front man who can energize the media and get funding.
    My offer for a candidate would be someone like Andrea Rossi.
    🙂

  25. ullix says:

    I am joining the skeptical crowd.

    The small units seem to be the building block for even a GigaWatt factory. In this unit the “solar cell” is as thick as 10 mm or even bigger.

    This would suggest that the radioactive source emits neither beta nor alpha, but only gamma.
    Since the claimed lead-lining of this small unit is thin, yet is claimed to absorb most energy, the gamma quanta cannot have high energy, i.e. not in the MeV range, but more in the “several 10keV” range, like indeed a doctor’s office Xray.

    Sunlight is most intense at green light, which has an energy of near 2eV per photon. So even the low energy presumed for this magic has a 10000 times higher energy per photon. For this to work requires a solar cell with matching band gaps also 10000 times wider.

    Until this is proven, I’d also say “too good to be true”!

  26. pochas94 says:

    When people are emotionally averse to fossil fuel burning can we really expect a warm welcome to this?

  27. stpaulchuck says:

    pochas94
    July 4, 2021 at 2:47 pm
    ———————–

    it’s more a matter of the anti nukes crowd who are bought and paid for by Big Oil and Coal to keep nukes out of the competition.

    That’s why Carter got swindled into an EO forbidding fast neutron reactors for the scare story about plutonium production. The FNR’s can ‘burn’ spent fuel rods after a bit of processing and then reburn and reburn until there is very little left and that of low grade. So now we’ve got tons and tons of spent rods clogging up the storage, a deliberate move to choke the nukes. Consider why all the hoopla about Yucca Mountain facility. It would take away the big choke point and revive the nuclear power industry. That would satisfy the Satanic Gases mob when we finish shutting off the coal power plants.

    Follow the money and the issue is NEVER the issue.

  28. Phil Salmon says:

    Thanks Roger – this is a logical next step. In the coming years it will gradually become clear that only nuclear based solutions have any chance of meaningfully displacing fossil fuel energy.

    With this dawning realisation will come another one in parallel. This is that the anti-nuclear culture of irrational radio-phobia that the left wing media have cultivated so strenuously over the last half century, is a disastrously stupid own-goal. It will all have to be undone if our self-righteousnessly green societies are to retain even a fraction of the availability of transport and home heating or air conditioning that we were once used to.

  29. Phil Salmon says:

    I’d like to know which isotopes they are using but the promo is so dumbed down – pretending that it’s just a modified sort of solar power – that this information is not given.

    From my experience of X-ray cameras, claims of “radiation hardened” are not very convincing. So a weakness in this technology is that the cells harvesting energy from whatever nuclides they are using, will burn out quickly and need frequent replacement.

    Plus ccd type chips are being phased out of the detector market in favour of the cmos type. So I hope they can get the parts they need into the future. Maybe I’m being pessimistic but we’ll see if anyone’s still talking about this in a year’s time.

  30. oldbrew says:

    The isotopes will be cobalt-60, from cobalt-59.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_cobalt
    – – –
    A British-Australian start-up with research operations in Cumbria has found a way to harness gamma rays from the radioactive decay of cobalt-60.
    . . .
    The raw material for cobalt-60 is cobalt-59. This comes from mines in Canada, Australia, Zambia, and more controversially from the Congo.
    . . .
    Mr McLeod said the isotope can be recycled again and again by putting it back in a reactor every ten years. By then the isotopes have partly decayed into nickel.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/02/07/britains-energy-future-lies-little-box-tricks/

  31. ullix says:

    Cobalt-60? Really? I doubt that too. If Co60 is present only in trace amounts, as Wiki says, then how could mining be a source? You would have to activate it first, i.e. you go into a nuclear reactor, and activate it. This means, you first have to put the Gigawatt into the Co before you can get it out!

    And further, Co60 is a weak beta source, which means it is unlikely to penetrate any of the “solar cells”, as I had already suspected. But gamma at >1MeV means each photon is 500000 times more energetic than a sunlight photon.

    Which semiconductor material has a bandwidth in that magnitude to convert those gammas to current? It smells like BS.

  32. oldbrew says:

    From: The Many Uses of Nuclear Technology

    The first practical application of a radioisotope was made by a Hungarian man named George de Hevesy in 1911. At the time de Hevesy was a young student working in Manchester, studying naturally radioactive materials. Not having much money he lived in modest accommodation and ate his meals with his landlady. He began to suspect that some of the meals that appeared regularly might be made from leftovers from the preceding days or even weeks, but he could never be sure. To try and confirm his suspicions de Hevesy put a small amount of radioactive material into the remains of a meal. Several days later, when the same dish was served again, he used a simple radiation detection instrument – a gold leaf electroscope – to check if the food was radioactive. It was, and de Hevesy’s suspicions were confirmed.History has forgotten the landlady, but George de Hevesy went on to win the Nobel prize in 1943 and the Atoms for Peace award in 1959. His was the first use of radioactive tracers – now routine in environmental science.

    https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/overview/the-many-uses-of-nuclear-technology.aspx
    – – –
    The function of many common consumer products is dependent on the use of small amounts of radioactive material.

    Smoke detectors, watches and clocks, cookware, and photocopiers, among others, all utilise the natural properties of radioisotopes in their design.

    https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/radioisotopes-research/radioisotopes-in-consumer-products.aspx

  33. oldbrew says:

    From the Telegraph article:

    The larger issue is that cobalt-59 has to be converted in an industrial reactor by bombarding it with neutrons. There are 85 such reactors in Europe, some already producing isotopes for X-rays, scanners, smoke detectors, measuring devices, and so on. Others are scattered all over the world. They are crying out for business, especially in ex-Soviet states such as Armenia and Kazakhstan.
    – – –
    ullix says: July 5, 2021 at 8:59 am
    Which semiconductor material has a bandwidth in that magnitude to convert those gammas to current?

    Of course we don’t know what’s in the patents.

  34. ullix says:

    … and if it is Co60 with gamma energies of 1.2 and 1.3MeV, this would be almost completely retained by an almost invisible lead-lining of the small container? No way.

    This gets smellier by the minute.

  35. ullix says:

    I think this is fake from top to bottom, and the Co60 is an extra BS topping! Let’s go through it with some physics perspective.

    The claimed radiation properties did not make sense to me, so I downloaded the video in its highest resolution (=FullHD), and looked through the relevant sections single-picture wise.

    Look in the video at time 8′:06.6”. You see this “powerbar”, and on its side can read:
    “Pm 147 18.5GBq ”

    Pm147 is Promethium, a reactor product with a half-life of 2.6a. It is a 100%(!) beta emitter – that is: no gamma at all! – with a beta energy of 224keV.

    Where did the Co60 crap come from?

    One would already suspect a non-gamma source when they show that their Geiger counter showed “Alarm 500” but only after they went very close to the “powerbars”. This is what you would expect from a beta source; a gamma source would go up in counts more smoothly and begin at a greater distance (1 over r-squared law, while beta has a max range).

    It later, @8:46” becomes clear, that the unit is in µSv/h. This also putting up a question mark, as a µSv/h unit is only meaningful for a gamma source, and only for whatever the instrument is calibrated for. I doubt that nuclear experts would make this error!

    Since this is a rather low beta energy, let’s calculate what an electron’s range will be e.g. in Aluminum. Take the formula on page 13 in my “Potty Training” (an article about the use of Potassium with Geiger counters, found here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/geigerlog/files/Articles/ )

    The range of 0.224 MeV betas is 50mg/cm^2. Given the density of Aluminum of 2.7 g/cm^3, the range becomes: 0.2mm! This is the range for only the few fastest electrons, while the vast majority will be stuck within the first 100 Micrometer, like in this picture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RaE1.jpg

    So, what is the point of making a stack of “solar-cells”, when the only radiation, the betas, does barely go into the upper surface of the first “solar-cell” in that stack, let alone penetrate it and go through the others?

    Furthermore, when you look at this small, orange colored container, you can’t see any lead lining. It is pure Aluminum, perhaps 3mm wall thinkness. And of course, its first 200 micrometer are perfectly sufficient to stop all betas, no lead needed.

    Later, at the closed container, they show their Geiger counter with “1.35 µSv/h”. Well, if there were a typical background radiation, it should read about “0.1µSv/h”. However, they do not show what the background is in their lab, but as they do handle radioactive sources an elevated background is likely. But more likely is, it will be Bremsstrahlung from their beta radiation inside the container.

    This is solid fake. Are you sure it isn’t some students prank?

  36. Gamecock says:

    A pile of decaying radioactive material gives off enough energy to set off a Geiger counter . . . if the Geiger counter has batteries in it.

  37. tallbloke says:

    Ullix; thanks for the well informed comment, and for taking the time. I wonder if they used the promethium in the video as a safe substitute for what they intend to use when production is fully automated. Which of course begs the question of how much testing has been done on the ‘real’ unit they intend to mass produce.

    A pdf of the Telegraph article OB referred to can be found here:
    https://tinyurl.com/58n8bpxm

  38. ullix says:

    Sorry, but I couldn’t help looking into more of this absurd nonsense.

    The activity of the powerbars is stated as 18.5GBq. Wow, that is a lot given that my favorite toy for meaningful physics experiments with a Geiger counter is Potassium Chloride (KCl), which has an activity (due to its K-40 content) of rather measly 31.6 kBq per kilogram. Yet easily detectable with a Geiger counter. However, this is a 500000 fold difference!

    So, it sure is a lot, but what is it in every day’s units, like Watt? With 224 keV per decay and

    1eV = 1.6 * E-19 Ws (Watt * second)

    you find the powerbars have a nuclear power of 0.00066 Watt. Yes, 660 micro-watt.

    This energy comes from the combined energies of an emitted electron with accompanying neutrino. If you could capture neutrinos in that tiny box, you’d had a Nobel prize already. So, you won’t capture neutrinos.

    Let’s be optimistic and say you could capture all betas and they make up half the energy (compare with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RaE1.jpg). Then one powerbar gives 330 micro-watt.

    To build a 1 GW power station, as they claim on being planning, assuming a generous 50% efficiency, and 2 powerbars in each little yellow unit, they need 3E+12 units. In words: 3 trillion units (English trillion).

    For a price of how much per unit? Just a reminder: the cost of big power stations is currently counted in billions, not trillions!

    At the end of the video they show an LED being lit up by one such yellow unit. Such an LED uses probably 3V@20mA, or needs 60mW power. And is lit from a unit capable of 0.33mW?

    I guess it helps to have left space in that yellow unit for a few alkaline batteries …

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