Project Log 36: Power source Off-topic...? Fluorescent Batteries.

A project log for DIY Mech/Exoskeleton suit.

Mechs are not viable, nor cheap, so I will try to design and build one alone anyway.

fulanodetailFulanoDetail 03/20/2023 at 21:372 Comments
Monday, 17:39, 20/03/2023

Well... To be honest, I don't feel quite confortable with this Project Log in particular for a couple of reasons, but the most important one is that I'm talking about something completely hyphotetical and absolutely outside of my expertise (as if a mech/exo suit don't fit in this category).

And also because I didn't think through this, giving more attention to detail, it is one of these moments I am super hyped for an idea and share that idea before I start thinking on the downsides of said idea.

So, take this entire project log with a biiiiig spoon of salt, because I will mostly definitely talk a lot of... Crap...?

Anyway, the subject:

BEFORE you pull your hairs out with the idea of DIYing nuclear stuff, let me explain in a simple way:

Some slightly radioactive stuff (like glow in the dark painting) emit light in other wavelengths, and a solar cell can react to that glow and produce a little bit of electricity.

On the example above, Matt Murray uses the radioactive crystal of a smoke detector to power a transistor, and if you aren't aware of it, some transistors, some LED's and some solar cells are basically the same thing, but "in different flavors".

But, as told in the first video, you just produce a few hundred nanowatts.

A nanowatt is 0.000000001 watts.

So, in order to produce A SINGLE WATT hour of power, you would need 1 BILLION units of those.

So, if you had a 1 cubic centimeter nuclear battery and stacked those, you would have a 1000 cubic meter device, a literal cube with 1 kilometer of height, 1 kilometer of length and 1 kilometer of width...

To produce a SINGLE WATT.

Needless to say, this is not viable device for our common use on earth, those devices are meant for deep space sattelites that will operate for decades or even centuries that uses a super small amount of energy.

With that in mind, you could just use non-radioactive phosphorecent/fluorescent light sources and achieve the same result. 

That's why I named this project log "fluorescent battery" instead of "nuclear battery".

And the best part of possibly using "phosphorecent" liquid is that those liquids absorb invisible UV light, so you could literally pump the fluid throughout an enourmous area that would absorb the sunlight more efficiently than a 2D plane solar panel (because the phosphorecent liquid is slightly transparent, so you would have a whole cube worth of sunlight absorbption rather than a panel).

And then you could pump the liquid to stacked solar panels to absorb the sunlight transported by the phosphorecent fluid (I think).

Or you could power an UV light on the liquid powered by a solar panel, I don't know which one would be the more efficient, but you know the drift.


I forgor to say this, but I was thinking on doing this for the mech/exosuit, basically, cover it on transparent sacks/boxes (covered on one-way filters) and power the exosuit this way. Dunno if would be practical/efficient/viable, but hey, I think it is interesting. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Of course, you may be thinking the same as myself:

"IF this could be more interesting than a plain solar panel, why don't we see more of those?"

And the asnwer is: I don't fricking know.

That's why I was kinda reluctant to make this Project Log: because I genuinely don't know and it will probably be a waste of time to mess around a find out.

Imagine how much time and money one would need to find out the answer.

I feel like this would be a "DIY mech project" with hundreds of Project Logs worth of a rabbithole that I'm kinda afraid to search more about the subject.

I mean, even if it worked, would it be worth the trouble?

You see, this guy uses tritium to make a "fluorescent battery" and it gives around 1200 nanowatts when he puts two solar cells facing each other with the tritium in the middle and wrapped in aluminium (around the 21:27 minute mark, or the "testing" section of the video).

I made the math and:

1200 nanowatts, 0.000012 watts, if we assumed that every fluorescent battery cell has 1 cubic centimeter, I would need 0,1 cubic meters to produce a single watt. Which is around 100 liters of volume.

If I wanted 7000 watts to power a 10 hp electric motor, I would need 625 cubic meters.

If we assumed each cell is 5 cubic milimeters, one would need 3,75 cubic meters to produce this amout of power.

Of course, it is not a very energy dense battery, so it obviously isn't suitable for mobile applications.


Let's take a moment here to process what I just showed you:

A common house consumes around 3000 watts per hour daily, and one would need a single room worth of batteries to power the entire house...

And this radioactive material would last CENTURIES.

Basically "free" energy for 4 lifetimes.

I could power a 10 hp car that definitely wouldn't make something more than 40 kilometers per hour with a small container...

For almost forever.

Of course, it is not all flowers, if you mass produce something, you will absolutely mass produce trash.

And even though slightly radioactive paint (or other materials like glass) aren't going to give you cancer in a billion years, just imagine the amount of radioactive material (and thus, heavy metals, toxic gas and so on) that a mass produced device would cause.

I mean, the global concept of "safe discard of sewer water" is putting the sewer pipe further from the beaches people frequently visit.

Now, imagine radioactive trash/waste. :|

I hope the phosphorecent idea is better...

So, without much scientific thought process, I thought that ina fluorescent battery, "increase in surface area = increase in power output", and I got wondering what should be the best way of doing that.

I mean, the best way I though would be to make a porous solar cell, you know, like a sponge.

But how would one do that?

The closest things I could find were silica gel (that is silicon oxide) and graphene aerogel, and somehow, coat the entire thing in a photovoltaic material that somehow transmits the electricity to the conductive graphene that somehow doesn't short-circuit and somehow can be used.

There is a lot of "somehows" there, and all of those "somehows" are a paint in the butt head cracking of problem solving rabbithole by themselves.

And by the way, I know that every time someone talks about graphene, the insane price of graphene goes to mind, but it is an aerogel, the amount of graphene content on this sponge is minimal, because it is mostly air.

I found this free article on a graphene aerogel that can withstand 100 thousand newtons of compressive force (around 10 tons of compressive force) and it is super light.

Also, check this video to see little more about the subject (and interesting enough, there are a couple of DIY graphene videos on youtube):

Well, this is it for this Off-topic Project Log.

I wish I had an "Eureka moment" and solved the energy crisis of this mech/exo suit project of mine (and maybe the world, who knows?), but I'm not an engineer, not a chemistry mastermind like Alter White, I'm not a materials science expert, I'm just goofy goober guy messing around trying to build a silly mech suit.

If you test this out and you actually make it to work, then go ahead. It will be your merit, after solving all these problems. lol


kelvinA wrote 04/02/2023 at 22:06 point

What about a flexible solar cell coiled like an electrolytic capacitor?

  Are you sure? yes | no

FulanoDetail wrote 04/02/2023 at 22:19 point

I tried to calcualte this too, unfortunately, flexible solar panels are more expenseive and less efficient on generating electricity. I would need hundreds of kilometers/miles to make this thing to work out. :/

  Are you sure? yes | no