Direct Energy Conversion Technology
BetaBatt is a Houston-based company in the business of developing long-lasting reliable power sources. The Company has researched and patented a novel 3D energy conversion architecture named the DECTM
Cell, based on nano-scale porous silicon. The DECTM
Cell is able to convert decay electrons to electricity 10 times more efficiently than conventional 2D devices using standard semiconductor manufacturing methods. The company's first commercial product, a quarter size battery with a 12-20 year lifespan and mission critical reliability, has performance characteristics that address current problems faced by medical implant, oil and gas, and remote sensing industries, as well as military and space organizations. Going forward, BetaBatt intends to apply its novel architecture to Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), Mesh Networks, Smart Dust and other micro/nano architectures requiring long-lasting reliable power sources.
Semiconductor devices based on Direct Energy Conversion (DECTM
) technology will generate electric current from a radioelement source. The efficiency of the DECTM
Cell stems from its single step capture-and-conversion method. DECTM
Cells use energy produced from the decay of a radioactive isotope, not a chemical reaction. The Company's patented architecture - based on the same physical principles that are employed in solar cells - and the selection of beta emitters ensures a power source that emits no radiation and is safer than chemical batteries for a broad variety of industrial and medical applications.
A key innovation is the distribution of the beta emitter energy source throughout the DECTM
Cell volume. This means that the current generation is not just a surface effect, but occurs everywhere within the active volume. Thus, DECTM
current sources are extremely efficient, converting a large fraction of the available decay energy into electric current. The first and second generations of tritium-powered BetaBatteriesTM
are expected to produce 50- and 125-micro-Watts per cubic centimeter of active device volume, respectively.
current sources are long-lasting, based on the selection of the beta source. Tritium has a half-life (T½) equal to 12.3 years. This means that after 12.3 years, the current output will be half its original value and a tenth of the original after 40 years. This productive life is orders of magnitude longer than chemical batteries. The decline in output for DECTM
power cells will be quite predictable and can be accommodated by appropriate electronics design for each specific application.
are far more reliable than chemical batteries, and have significantly longer life spans. They have about the same energy density as a lithium battery, but last ten or more times longer. BetaBatteriesTM
can be stacked or scaled to meet application-specific requirements. When compared to chemical batteries, BetaBatteries are strongly differentiated by their intrinsic features:
- Small or Big
|MEMS to "D" size
- High Efficiency
|From Direct Energy Conversion
- Green And Safe
|No harmful radiation, leaching, or contamination
- Long Life
|12 - 100+ years (depending on energy source)
|Wide form factor variety
- Extreme Environments
|100°C to +150°C, shock tolerant
|Well known semiconductor techniques
may be used in two ways:
- In stand-alone mode for low current applications
- Paired with chemical batteries for high current, limited duty cycle applications
BetaBatteriesTM increase shelf life and ensure readiness by acting as a trickle charger, thus enhancing capability, reliability and useful life.
The properties and performance characteristics of DECTM
Cells make them particularly suitable for applications which benefit from a constant and sustained current and one or more of the following:
- Battery replacement is difficult, costly or high risk
- Mission-critical reliability
- Size or form factor constraints
- Performance in extreme or fluctuating environments (e.g., outer space)
A major advantage of DECTM
power cells is their "always on" capability. This means they would be ideal for permanent or semi-permanent "install and forget" applications in remote or inaccessible locations. Another advantage is that DECTM
technology is scalable. DECTM
current sources could be used to power the smallest realizations of MEMS devices and sensors. By selecting appropriately-sized semiconductor wafers and connecting the resulting DECTM
Cells together, a very wide range of BetaBatteryTM
power levels can be delivered. Another advantage of DECTM
technology is that the high efficiency of energy conversion gives rise to a very small amount of waste heat. This means that in the majority of applications there will not need to be any extra design effort nor auxiliary systems installed to remove excess heat.
technology has many advantages compared to Radioisotope Thermal Generators (RTGs) including high efficiency, little waste heat, low mass, no shielding requirements and a zero noise signature in all energy regions important for astrophysical investigations.