Chinese nuclear battery could power smartphones for 50 years without recharge

  • January 14, 2024

A Chinese startup has released a new battery that it claims can generate electricity for 50 years without the need for charging again or any maintenance.

Beijing-based Betavolt said its nuclear battery is the very first in the world to succeed in the miniaturisation of atomic energy, putting 63 nuclear isotopes into a module smaller than a coin.

The way the battery works is by converting the energy released by decaying isotopes into electricity, through a process that was first worked on in the 20th century. Scientists in the Soviet Union and United States were able to come up with the technology for use in spacecraft, underwater systems and remote scientific work stations, however the thermonuclear batteries were both expensive and large in size.

The goal of miniaturising and commercialising nuclear batteries was set under China’s 14th Five-Year Plan designed to work on the country’s economy between 2021 and 2025, while research institutions in the US and Europe are also working on their development.