Ukrainian scientist Vladislav Kiselev claims that he has developed a type of battery that can power gadgets like smartphones and even cars for up to 12 years, without having to be recharged.
Kiselev, a senior researcher at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and Petrochemistry in Kiev, and professor at Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences, unveiled his intriguing battery prototype during the 2016 edition of Sikorsky Challenge, a prestigious international competition for research projects. The matchbox-like device looks fairly unimpressive, but the Ukrainian scientist claims that it has been continuously powering electrical devices for a year and four months without a single recharge, and will continue to do so for the next 11 years. That’s because his “battery” produces energy instead of simply storing it.
But with virtually all the world’s battery manufacturers and researchers struggling to come up with a real breakthrough in battery technology, how did Kiselev create one that he claims lasts for 12 years? The senior researcher says he was able to do it by taking advantage of a key property of tritium – the ability to emit electrons. He adds that American company City Labs also makes use of the radioactive isotope of hydrogen, but whereas they use tritium-covered solar cells, he opted for an enhanced electrochemical cells, which makes the battery 1,000 times more powerful. So whereas City Labs NanoTritium™ batteries provide low power to devices like medical implants and various sensors, Kiselev’s version can be used to power large electronic devices and even cars.
The scientist adds that electrochemical cells similar to the one he uses in his battery have been used in Ukraine since the 1930s, but no one has ever been able to use them for energy generation. He and his team were able to improve the design in order to achieve this.
Interestingly enough, Kiselev says that after failing to secure research grants for the project, he and his colleagues funded themselves. Now, after presenting the results of their labor at Sikorsky Challenge, Kiselev says that he is in talks with both Turkish and Chinese businessmen to produce a version of his tritium battery that can be used in mobile phones.
Regarding the radioactive properties of tritium, Vladislav Kiselev emphasized the fact that some radioactive substances are not hazardous to humans, and tritium is one of them. It is actually used as a radioluminescent light source in wristwatches.
Kiselev believes that tritium is the future of energy, and claims that the fact that 11 of the world’s most advanced countries are planning to build an international fusion reactor – also based on tritium – to produce energy is proof of that. However, he adds that while such reactors cost tens of billions of dollars to build, his tritium batteries are an affordable way to produce energy for up to 12 years.