At Tuesdays COP26 session called Economics of Climate Change a company called Infinite Power proposed a carbon neutral way to provide baseload for electricity grid. Their technology claims work by a "kinetic junction" a p-n junction optimized to turn alpha-, beta- or gammaradiation into electrical energy. This video contains more detailed technical claims including views of their radioactive material. In it they assemble and demonstrate a demo unit which charges an USB device (so the cell should be able to generate 2.5 W). They further claim a 1 cubic meter of (larger wafers of) such cells can provide 10kW peak and 9 million KWh life time power (probably continuously falling) over 100 years.

Is this plausible?

In particular does there exist an radioactive material (including it's decay products) that matches all these criterias:

Is there any radioactive material which has a sufficient energy density to produce so much power?

Is there any radioactive material which has a sufficient half life to produce so much energy over 100 years?

Is there any radioactive material that could be made with low enough price to make this financially plausible?

I am aware that betavoltaics with a single digit percentage efficiency exist in the literature what kind of efficiency would be required to make this work as assumed when answering above questions.


The company existed previously under a different name: Kinetic Energy

The session Economics of Climate Change is available here. Someone from InfinitePower talks here and InfinitePower also appears in video description.

The inability to control decay is hailed as feature to supply baseload. The decay of the material is not acknowledged since there is a complete decay chain, maybe it is sorta compensated.

It's obvious that 72*2.5 W doesn't equal 10kWh but those are demonstrator units only which have lots of empty space in them. The fact that those "laboratory scale units" are not meant to be the final product is acknowledged here.

  • 1
    In particular, could you give us a link to the reference stating they attended COP 26 on Tuesday, as the whole thing seems to stem from that and I'm unable to find any reference to their attendance (or eligibility to attend) and propose anything. Nov 3 at 0:45
  • 1
    They also state 72 of those rectangular boxes fit into the meter cube, if each is a USB charger as per the video - 72*2.5 Watts sure doesn't equal 10kW anyhow. Lots of inconsistencies. Their handling techniques in the vid were sloppy and deadly. Their patents are all for film deposition techniques, batteries - nothing about kinetic junctions. Nov 3 at 1:12
  • 3
    @JeromeViveiros: You don't need magic to convert radiation into electricity in a semiconductor. Photovoltaic cells are a glib answer. Less glib: betavoltaic devices are commercially available.
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 3 at 7:50
  • 1
    @ARogueAnt. At least one of their patents is for a "power battery using the energy from a radioactive material".
    – Dave
    Nov 3 at 8:26
  • 1
    Interestingly it's also in contradiction to the video which explicitly shows copper oxide layers being deposited - not zinc oxide - still not anything approaching straightforward and clear what they're up to except that they're obfuscating - a convincing sign that they're motivated to fudge the details (I wonder why, hmm). @Dave Nov 3 at 8:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .