It works by harnessing energy from nuclear decay.

Lil Chernobyl

Imagine never having to change a battery in a device ever again — or, in fact, a battery that could outlive you.

That’s what Betavolt, a Chinese tech company, is claiming with its newly unveiled miniature nuclear battery that it says can keep working for up to 50 years.

The Beijing-based company claims to have entered the "pilot stage" for the battery, which is smaller than a coin and will soon put it into mass production.

The company anticipates the battery being used in industries ranging from aerospace to robotics and to smartphones.

"If policies permit, atomic energy batteries can allow a mobile phone to never be charged, and drones that can only fly for 15 minutes can fly continuously," the company claims.

Energizer Bunny

The company's claims aren't completely inconceivable. Commercially available batteries that work similarly already have a lifespan of 20-plus years.

The battery measures at 15 x 15 x 5 millimeters and is made of wafer-thin layers of nuclear isotopes and diamond semiconductors. It's a type of betavoltaic device, meaning it works by harnessing energy released from radioactive isotopes, in this case an isotope of nickel, by picking up and converting electrons as the material decays.

Betavolt says the radiation poses no danger to the human body, making it usable in medical devices such as pacemakers. The nickel isotope decays to a stable copper isotope, making it easily recyclable.

But before you get too excited over the prospect of this wondrous source of energy, incredible claims call for extraordinary evidence. Case in point, another startup called NBD raised over $1.2 million in investment for a similar battery that it said would last thousands of years — but the device still hasn't materialized, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission is now going after the company for fraud.

More on energy: Colossal Cache of Lithium Found in US May Be World's Largest

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