A new type of battery could power robots for thousands of years.
As robots and electric vehicles become more common, there is a growing demand for more robust and longer-lasting batteries. The last few decades have seen giant leaps in lithium-ion battery technology, and today most electric cars run on these types of batteries. However, Lithium-ion batteries have some significant disadvantages - they are sensitive to high and low temperatures, can not be fully charged or discharged, are pretty expensive, and worst of all can burst into flames if damaged.
If humanity wants to go fully electric, we need a new power source for our cars, phones, laptops, and Robots. And the answer might come from a very different power source - nuclear power. Although the public opinion on nuclear power is usually negative, the scientific consensus is that it’s the best energy source we have today (until we figure out fusion, at least), mainly because it produces no greenhouse gasses. Nuclear power plants are considered very environmentally friendly, with one glaring exception: Nuclear waste. The process of producing energy may be clean, but we are left with unused, radioactive waste materials that can last thousands of years and need to be disposed of in a specific way.
Now scientists have figured out a way to use this radioactive waste in a new type of battery called Nano diamond battery. This technology, proposed by the University of Bristol Cabot Institute back in 2016, takes the radioactive materials left over by nuclear power plants and uses them to produce batteries that last for up to 28,000 years! According to NDB, who produced a working prototype, the battery is completely safe, with no chance of radiation leaks. Plus, it is extremely resilient and should produce a steady current for thousands of years.
However, the prototype can only produce a very low current at the moment and can not be used to power a cell phone or any other power-hungry device, but it could be used to power, for example, a small processor pretty much indefinitely.
With more research and development we can one day power our cars and robots without ever needing to recharge them, while also finding a way to use every ounce of nuclear waste currently being stored underground.
The knowledge that our robots will not suddenly stop working because of a dead battery will allow us to entrust them with more important roles, that require a job to be performed reliably for extremely long periods of time.
You can find more information about the Nano Diamond batteries in the following link: