Betavoltaics: from waste to energy

Betavoltaics: from waste to energy

Ever heard of Betavoltaics? This tech helps to convert waste to electricity. little wonder this article is titled: Betavoltaics: from waste to energy.

Nature made it possible for anything considered waste (in nature) to be recycled.

think about the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the oxygen cycle, and the ever amazing water cycle.

During photosynthesis, green plants give out oxygen as a waste product while animals breathe in oxygen as respiratory gas and give out carbon dioxide, which plants trap to complete the photosynthetic process.

it is such that what is considered waste by plants becomes something of value to animals and vice versa.

however, humans have created countless toxic and non-recyclable waste over the years.

This waste has led to environmental degradation and lots more. Now efforts are being made by man to reduce and recycle the waste.

Various research and development work is currently going on in a bid to convert waste and by-products which are environmentally harmful into useful products.

Many useful research works and projects are currently ongoing, these research works aims at helping in achieving, cleaner energy and making energy more efficient and sustainable.

These technologies include but are not limited to the following, Blockchain, Internet of things (IoT), Wireless energy transmission, Artificial intelligence, and Na-TECC just to mention a few.

Some persons also wonder what will become of energy if Oil should run out? shall we revert to older forms of energy such as Wind? or will Recycled waste play an important role? what will become of petroleum engineers?

These big questions has brought researchers back to the lab.

Betavoltaics: from waste to energy

Betavoltaics: from waste to energy

A Yee led group is currently converting Nuclear waste into electricity.

Betavoltaic tech converts waste into useful energy, in the same way, that photovoltaic cells work, the only difference is: instead of using photons from the sun, the Betavoltaic tech uses high energy emitted from nuclear by-products.

The Betavoltaic technology isn’t new tech, it has been around since the 1950s, but researchers have been focusing on tritium and nickel-63 as beta emitters.

The uniqueness of the Yee led research is that it aims at using a new Isotope, (Strontium-90), Yee said they are revisiting the technology from a radiation transport perspective.

strontium-90 is a prevalent Isotope in nuclear waste.

How it works

The uniqueness of the Yee research lies in the fact that the tech uses strontium-90, which emits two high-energy electrons during its decay process.

Moreso the energy spectrum of strontium-90 aligns well with the design used in the crystalline solar cells, making it possible to yield highly efficient energy devices.

Yee and his research team so far claim to have achieved a power conversion rate of between 4 and 18 percent.


Yee believes the betavoltaic devices could ultimately generate about one watt of power continuously for 30 years — which would be 40,000 times more energy-dense than current lithium-ion batteries.

This energy source could be useful and applicable in areas with little or no supply of electricity, including military campaigns especially when charging batteries becomes a problem.

Exposure to certain high levels of radiation, such as that from high-level radioactive waste, can even cause death.

Radiation exposure can also cause cancer, birth defects, and other abnormalities, depending on the time of exposure, amount of radiation, and the decay mechanism.

Betavoltaic devices may not only increase the availability of energy but will definitely prove instrumental, toward the reduction of nuclear waste and the associated environmental harm which it causes.

Betavoltaic devices might go a long way in helping to ensure that waste products generated by man will cause little or no harm to man and environment.

About the Author

A Petroleum Engineering writer, passionate about energy and related technologies

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