27 June 2024

IOM3 Energy Materials Group Webinar: Focus on Diamond Batteries

Dr Yannick Verbelen from South West Nuclear Hub & University of Bristol address the topic of diamond batteries.

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Recycling moderator graphite into diamond betavoltaics

The invention of 14 C-based solid state diamond power-cells offers unique opportunities for demonstrating a circular economy in relation to fissile energy production; and closed-loop recycling of these 14 C Diamond Betavoltaic Batteries. Register for the on-demand webinar to hear Dr Yannick Verbelen of University of Bristol explain this fascinating technology.


The next generation of nuclear power reactors will be fast spectrum type, which means there is no future use for the 40,000 m³ of graphite moderator blocks that reside in Magnox and AGR reactors. Once disassembled, this large inventory of irradiated graphite will become available for other applications. Of particular interest is radiocarbon (C-14), which is formed by neutron capture of the 1% C-13 present in natural carbon, or by transmutation of N-14 in the form of nitrogen impurities. Radiocarbon has many applications as tracer isotope in healthcare, but one of the most intriguing ones is its use as a material to grow artificial radioactive diamonds. Intrinsic monocrystalline diamond is not only one of the strongest materials, it also happens to be a semiconductor material. Diamonds grown of radiocarbon can thus be turned into diamond betavoltaics, power cells with a half-life of 5,730 years and endless opportunities for structural health monitoring or space exploration. In this talk, Dr. ing. Yannick Verbelen covers the ongoing work at the University of Bristol to extract value from graphite moderator blocks, and turn them into high-tech semiconductor power cells.

IOM3 Energy Materials Group Chair: Judith Driscoll | [email protected]
Webinar Moderator: James Lee | [email protected]

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