Next-Gen Power: Moving Beyond Lithium-Ion Batteries with Radioisotopic Power
Lithium-ion power dominates both consumer and industry applications, but it has significant mission-critical limitations. Direct Kinetic Solutions (DKS) proposes a disruptive new solution: long-lasting radioisotopic power that has high energy density, high efficiency, and can harness power from the United States Department of Energy waste.
From iPhones and Tesla cars to cubesats and IoT sensors — lithium-ion power is a near-ubiquitous energy source for consumers and industries alike.
Lithium batteries are not, however, without their limitations. Although current power solutions continue to improve, issues related to size, longevity, and maintenance, have yet to be solved.
While the world’s dependence on lithium continues to surge, so too does concern for the responsible treatment of resultant battery waste and associated mining practices.
The Current State of Power
Between 2005 and 2015 alone, the international output of lithium-ion batteries grew 10-fold and is projected to grow five times as large by 2025. To a lesser extent, solar technology has also provided a popular industry power option, especially for small-satellite operations.
Despite the advantages lithium-ion batteries and solar energy have, they both pose significant drawbacks depending upon the industry-specific use case, like asset tracking and cubesats.
To serve these market needs, beyond offering radioisotopic power, DKS also presents opportunities for these technologies to work in tandem.
“In the case of solar power, DKS’ radioisotopic solution can work in tandem with solar arrays affixed to cubesats. When the CubeSat is in range of solar energy, it can switch to solar as its main energy source, once enough solar energy has been stored.” — Isabella Taba, President & CTO
While synergies are present, there remain clear advantages to radioisotopic power sources over traditional lithium sources and solar sources, despite the continued evolution of both solutions.
Radioisotopic power sources outperform chemical-based counterparts by orders of magnitude in terms of energy density, useful life, and design flexibility.
There are three key advantages, among others:
Improved battery life, as long as 100 years
Reduced maintenance burden
Reduced weight and tiny size: a single cubic centimetre
"Lithium-ion batteries are found in almost every portable electronic device in use today, from deep-sea drilling equipment and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to smartphones and the Tesla Model S. Everyone knows what a blessing — and, sometimes, curse... Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have been." — Akshat Rathi, QUARTZ
Our Increasing Need for RFID
Thanks to the e-commerce boom, just-in-time shipments and improved supply-chain management have never been more important. But power longevity of RFID-based tracking remains an issue.
DKS will allow operators to track assets for decades, with a single power source. Increased efficiency, minimal maintenance, and better reliability all optimize your tracking ability that minimizes costs.
Key Issues with Lithium
Several issues associated with lithium-ion power are largely well known, including those related to transportation and longevity:
Longevity: In many cases, lithium-ion batteries can only endure 500-1,000 cycles before capacity falls.
Battery Size: Hardware required to house a lithium battery large enough for long-term use is heavy.
Maintenance: Lithium-ion batteries age whether they are in use or not. Even when used, capacity can be reduced over time.
Sensitivity: Battery protection is required, as lithium-ion cells and batteries are not relatively robust and are sensitive to reduced power from over-charging and discharging.
Environment: Lithium mining has increasing environmental ramifications as the need for power sources grows, and recycling proves difficult.
"The goal of current battery technology is to create a battery that can match or improve upon the performance of LiOn batteries, but without the heavy cost associated with their production." — Investopedia
The DKS Solution
Increased Lifespan: lasting up to 99 years depending on the application and business needs. The maintenance burden is thus reduced, with no recharging required.
Smaller Battery Size: Significantly smaller and lighter hardware, as small as a grain of rice, dependant upon the application.
Reduced Operational Costs: Millions of labour hours, some in hazardous conditions, can be saved by reducing the need to maintain devices.
Zero-to-Low Maintenance: DKS power can last indefinitely depending on the application. Storage does not pose the same limitations as lithium-ion power.
Robustness & Safety: The DKS solution is safe to use as radioisotopes are encapsulated.
Environment: DKS does not require hard metals, and does not discard hazardous chemicals. Increasing the lifespan of different applications also reduces environmental waste.
Uninterrupted power is made possible by beta-emitting power, which allows for reduced hardware weight and greater efficiency than standard battery devices.
Leaving Limitations Behind
While continuous hard work is done to improve lithium-ion power sources, Direct Kinetic Solutions aims to offer a better alternative to the market for unique and ambitious projects related to the booming satellite and asset tracking industries.
By improving energy output across key variables — longevity, size, maintenance, cost, and environmental impact — DKS will open up the world’s power options, making previously arduous or impossible missions a possibility.
To learn more about radioisotopic power, email the DKS team.