Columbia, Missouri – From cell phones to cars and flashlights, batteries play an important role in everyday life. Scientists and technology companies constantly are seeking ways to improve battery life and efficiency. Now, for the first time using a water-based solution, researchers at the University of Missouri have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used for many applications such as a reliable energy source in automobiles and also in complicated applications such as space flight.
“Betavoltaics, a battery technology that generates power from radiation, has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s,”
The battery uses a radioactive isotope called strontium-90 that boosts electrochemcial energy in a water-based solution. A nanostructured titanium dioxide electrode (the common element found in sunscreens and UV blockers) with a platinum coating collects and effectively converts energy into electrons.
The ionic solution is not easily frozen at very low temperatures and could work in a wide variety of applications including car batteries and, if packaged properly, perhaps spacecraft.