I’ve read articles about a new technology for batteries but have never heard a name of companies engaged in development of this technology although I’ve heard that one company is actually producing this battery type. Can anyone share info about this?
Many of the concepts have the word “nuclear” in front of “battery”, so they probably aren’t going to be very popular on this discussion board.
First, there are carbon-14 batteries, which have the potential to last thousands of years. Not quite forever, but certainly a long time. The article below mentions a company developing them, but I don’t know if it is investable, nor would I recommend putting a lot of money into something still in development. Also, one of the drawbacks of this concept is the rather low power density. But they can put out a small current for a very long time. They could also use different types of radioactive substances, such as tritium, to increase the power density.
A much larger concept would be in the megawatt range. This would be enough to power a neighborhood, or perhaps a factory.
A reactor of this type is being developed for first use at the Idaho National Laboratory. The prototype design has run into some problems in licensing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is because, in my opinion, the NRC doesn’t have experience with these new type reactors, so they need to figure out the right questions to ask.
In the category of things actually working right now, there are at least two robotic rovers on the surface of Mars right now, which are powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). RTGs have been used by NASA for many years to power unmanned probes sent to Mars and the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto…) Lifetime of these batteries is around 20 years, but they could deliver small amounts of power for much longer.
Actually, hasn’t Russia (and the US) been using these RTGs for decades stemming from Space equipment?