Researchers explore technology to power batteries with micro black holes: ‘The ultimate physical limit on battery efficiency’

May 7, 2024 | by

Two physicists are contemplating a mind-blowing innovation that could one day power your electric vehicle with perhaps the most mysterious objects in known science: black holes.

Astoundingly, the idea proposed by Norwegian University of Life Sciences’ Espen Gaarder Haug and the University of the Andes Foundation’s Gianfranco Spavieri won’t require an antimatter reactor operated by Geordi La Forge, most likely.

But they caution that the proposal, which would stably leverage micro black hole power in the form of a battery, is “quite speculative.”

“Today’s batteries are extremely inefficient compared to their ultimate potential, and we are likely just at the very beginning of a battery revolution,” the researchers wrote in a lab report published by ScienceDirect.

Black holes are in outer space and have immense gravity. Not even light can escape from them, as described by NASA. They have been a part of physics conversations since Albert Einstein offered his theory of general relativity.

ScienceAlert provides perhaps the most concise description for how to harness the energy, assuming that tiny ones exist.

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“These black holes would need to be charged and tiny … so that when bundled together into cells packed with similarly charged black holes, their electromagnetic repulsion offsets the pull of gravity, creating stable energy storage that doesn’t gobble itself up.

“In theory, oppositely charged micro black holes could then be brought together, one by one, leading them to merge into a single black hole that ‘evaporates’ very quickly into pure energy. The extracted energy wouldn’t come from within the black hole, but just outside it: where gravity concentrates,” Clare Watson wrote for the publication.

The merging process produces energy via gravitational waves, which the experts said could be captured — in theory. They explained the concept in the ScienceDirect report using lists of equations and graphs.

EV owners seeking powerful, long-lasting batteries will likely be impressed with the results, which could be substantial. The experts claim that a 2.2-pound black hole battery would provide 470 million times the energy of a 441-pound lithium-ion battery. Or, “enough energy for a family for generations.”

That should ease range anxiety, to say the very least.

“While achieving such a level of technological advancement is certainly not imminent, it is not inconceivable that battery technology development could follow a trajectory similar to that of computer technology,” the physicists wrote.

Energy technology is advancing rapidly, as battery innovations using cheaper, better materials are announced regularly. Nuclear fusion breakthroughs could provide abundant, clean energy without the radioactive waste that current fission reactors produce, as well.

Perhaps black holes will become part of our renewable energy future, helping to provide power without planet-warming pollution.

And even if they remain theoretical — Haug and Spavieri say current technology suggests they’d need an “unrealistic” particle accelerator the size of the solar system to pull it off — we are likely only at the onset of fascinating innovations.

“Even if this turns out to be impractical, it still represents the ultimate physical limit on battery efficiency in the future based on today’s knowledge of physics,” they wrote. “… Never say never.”

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