Ever since the 2015 discovery that neutrinos have mass, scientists around the world have been scrambling to uncover the secrets of these ethereal particles and their newfound energy-generating potential. For the first time, a recent experiment in Germany has determined the maximum upper limit of neutrino mass, which changes everything in the world of neutrino physics and has vast implications for the fledgling neutrinovoltaics industry.
We knew neutrinos have mass – Now we know what they weigh
On Sept. 18, the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment determined that neutrinos can only have a certain amount of mass. While the main purpose of this multinational initiative is improving our understanding of the physical universe, the KATRIN experiment also provides us with data that will take the world of neutrino physics one step further toward the development of consumer-level neutrinovoltaic devices.
Neutrino physics is pushing the boundaries of the possible
According to E=mc2, everything in the universe that has mass also has energy, and deriving electrical energy from mass is just a matter of conversion. Photovoltaic cells, for instance, transform photons into electricity, and now, neutrinovoltaic devices around the world are capturing the mass of passing neutrinos and transforming it into usable electrical energy.
The electricity that neutrinovoltaic devices produce can be used to power smartphones, LED light bulbs, dishwashers, or any other type of electronic device. At this point, the problem is scale. It’s been proven that electricity can be derived from the mass of neutrinos in laboratory settings, but the amount of electricity that can currently be produced is far less than would be needed to run even the most energy-efficient modern smartwatch. We clearly have a long way to go in the arena of neutrinovoltaic engineering, but we’ve already come so far in a mere four years that it’s truly stunning.
Consumer-level neutrinovoltaic devices are coming soon
Imagine a world in which there’s no need to charge your phone and you can run all the appliances in your home without plugging them in. Your utility bills drop substantially, and you suddenly have access to a sustainable energy technology that produces electricity anywhere, anytime.
People have always yearned for more freedom, and consumer-level neutrinovoltaic devices would take the next leap forward in improving human quality of life and access to opportunity. A mature neutrinovoltaic market will provide consumers with all the energy they need to pursue truly off-the-grid lifestyles, and as they scale up, neutrino energy devices will blend in seamlessly with the existing worldwide renewable energy infrastructure and take some of the strain off new photovoltaic array and wind farm production.
With the development of the solar cell, energy engineers got one step closer to the dream of free, unlimited energy that has lit up the human imagination ever since the days of Nikola Tesla. Most types of renewable energy are highly condition-dependent, however; solar cells only operate at peak efficiency in direct sunlight, and wind farms only produce electricity when it is windy.
Neutrino energy devices, however, work underground, at night, in submerged aquatic vehicles, and in all sorts of other conditions that are beyond the reach of current renewable energy technologies. Just as we’ve all watched solar cells go from a technology only capable of powering a calculator to a viable contributor to the energy grid, we’ll all bear witness to the gradual rise of neutrinovoltaic device efficiency and output. The days in which a neutrino energy device can produce the same amount of electricity as a standard solar panel aren’t as far off as you’d think, and the more we understand about neutrino physics, the closer we get to this vision.
Why measuring the mass of neutrinos is important
According to Diana Parno, a contributor to the KATRIN experiment, „[y]ou don’t get a lot of chances to measure a cosmological parameter that shaped the evolution of the universe in the laboratory.“ Parno’s sentiment reflects the majority opinion of the scientists who are working on KATRIN; while they’re aware of the emerging arena of neutrinovoltaics, this team comprised predominantly of cosmologists and astrophysicists is trying to understand more about one of the particles that were critically involved during the universe’s earliest formative stages.
There’s no denying that neutrinos remain one of the underlying mysteries of modern cosmology, and the effects of quantum mechanics on neutrinos are even more fascinating. While the research going on at KATRIN isn’t directly related to making a marketable neutrino energy product, the more research that goes into neutrino physics, the more our knowledge of this field grows, and the easier it becomes to produce the neutrino energy devices of the future.
By knowing the upper limit of neutrino mass, for instance, we can calibrate exactly how much output we can expect from neutrino energy devices. While this simple factor doesn’t appear all that important on the surface, it’s yet another vital piece of the puzzle that will eventually lead us all to a world of plentiful and reliable clean energy.
How the Neutrino Energy Group is making it happen
Neutrinos bombard our bodies and everything we see during every second of every day, but few people stop to give these invisible particles a passing glance. The scientists and engineers at the Neutrino Energy Group are different, however. Coming together from all parts of the world, this team of international collaborators is paying close attention to the steady neutrino storm that envelops our planet as they work tirelessly to produce the next generation of neutrinovoltaic devices.
Led by CEO Holger Thorsten Schubart, the Neutrino Energy Group confidently expects to produce neutrino energy devices capable of powering smartwatches and smartphones within just a few years. Laptops and electronics are next, and within decades, appliances and even whole households will be entirely neutrino-powered. With the Neutrino Energy Group, the future is closer than you could ever believe.