NDB uses graphite nuclear reactor parts that have absorbed radiation from nuclear fuel rods and have themselves become radioactive

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Nano-diamond self-charging batteries could disrupt energy as we know it;

NDB uses graphite nuclear reactor parts that have absorbed radiation from nuclear fuel rods and have themselves become radioactive. Untreated, it’s high-grade nuclear waste: dangerous, difficult and expensive to store, with a very long half-life.

This graphite is rich in the carbon-14 radioisotope, which undergoes beta decay into nitrogen, releasing an anti-neutrino and a beta decay electron in the process. NDB takes this graphite, purifies it and uses it to create tiny carbon-14 diamonds. The diamond structure acts as a semiconductor and heat sink, collecting the charge and transporting it out. Completely encasing the radioactive carbon-14 diamond is a layer of cheap, non-radioactive, lab-created carbon-12 diamond, which contains the energetic particles, prevents radiation leaks and acts as a super-hard protective and tamper-proof layer.

To create a battery cell, several layers of this nano-diamond material are stacked up and stored with a tiny integrated circuit board and a small supercapacitor to collect, store and instantly distribute the charge. NDB says it’ll conform to any shape or standard, including AA, AAA, 18650, 2170 or all manner of custom sizes.

(Hat tip to Hans G. Schantz.)


  1. Gavin Longmuir says:

    From The Article: “Update, August 27, 2020: We have contacted NDB to clarify several of their claims in this article. At this stage we believe the power density claims may relate to the power delivered by the supercapacitor part of the cell, rather than to how much energy the carbon-14 diamond itself is capable of generating. If this is the case, we may be looking at a very slow trickle charge from the diamond into the supercapacitor, and a high power output from the supercapacitor.”

    Let’s wish them well. Recall that the separation of fertile Uranium-235 from basically inactive U-238 during the Manhattan Project required building massive plants at Oak Ridge to produce tiny amounts of U-235. Part of the drive for the use of Plutonium in the Manhattan Project was that chemical separation of Pu was much more efficient than physically separating isotopes of Uranium. Will it really be so easy to separate C-14 from C-12?

  2. Kirk says:

    It’s early days, yet, with this technology. It will either pan out, or it won’t.

    I do, however, have to wonder at the naivete of the developers. How the NRC is going to react to this sort of thing, and what the licensing would look like for a consumer-grade AA battery? I shudder to think.

    This will, I suspect, see a hell of a lot more use in things like satellites and deep space than here on earth. Military usage? Sure. Go down and buy a pack at Costco…? Not seeing that happen. At. All.

  3. Philip Ngai says:

    Not endorsing the rest of the technology, but the difficulty of separating isotopes of the same element is of course a mechanical process which exploits the difference in weight. The percentage difference from 12 to 14 is much greater than the difference from 235 to 238, so separating C-12 from C-14 should be that much easier. Also, it turns out that for the separation of uranium isotopes, it was much easier to work with UF6 which can be turned into a gas at reasonable temperatures. The F part is an expensive and dangerous element to work with.

    For Carbon, you could probably use CO2 which is much friendlier (and thus, less expensive outside of the radioactive part).

  4. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Philip Ngai: “For Carbon, you could probably use CO2 …”

    Here, we have to leave the realm of technological realities and enter the realm of Political Correctness.

    Just imagine the bureaucrat on whose desk lands the proposal to take radioactive graphite and first turn it into carbon dioxide before ….

    It does not matter if that bureaucrat is dealing with funding research proposals or permit approvals– the proposal mentioned making CO2! All bureaucrats have to check their brains at the door and subscribe to the Climate Change Scam, driven by the human generation of evil CO2. Funding denied! Permit denied!

  5. Steven P. says:

    EEVblog has already debunked NDB’s claims:


  6. Philip Ngai says:

    Yes, Gavin, that would be fun to watch. It’s like when they had to change NMR to MRI.

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