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Scientists want to use tiny black holes to generate electricity

Published Nov 29th, 2023 3:31PM EST
ultramassive black hole in space
Image: Vadimsadovski/Adobe

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Black holes are terrifying and massive cosmic objects, but what if I told you that tiny black holes exist? Further, scientists believe they can be subatomic in size. Now, some scientists are hopeful they’ll be able to take a primordial black hole and use its energy to create electricity.

Just reading that scientists want to use tiny black holes to generate electricity sounds wild; I’m not going to lie. When I first read the headline of other reports on the subject, I was baffled. Not only because of how dangerous black holes are but also because using them as power generation must mean that scientists are confident they can create these tiny black holes themselves or at least find them somewhere.

Primordial black holes are currently just a theory. Where normal black holes form in the aftermath of the collapsed cores of massive dead stars, primordial black holes are believed to form when there is an overdensity of primordial plasma in the universe, which happened following the Big Bang.

black hole in space, man-made black hole could teach us more about black holesImage source: unlimit3d / Adobe

Further, researchers believe that a tiny black hole could be perfect for generating energy to use as a nuclear power source. But how exactly would that work? Well, according to the researchers, they would want to use the mass that the tiny black holes eat to fuel the power generation.

Of course, there’s also the concern of Hawking radiation, which is the mass lost by a black hole that is caused by the interaction of the black hole’s event horizon and the quantum fields directly around it. Scientists believe that mass is lost faster thanks to Hawking radiation in tiny black holes, meaning they could evaporate quickly if they lose all of their mass.

But, the researchers involved in the theory are confident that they could feed a primordial black hole with a certain mass just enough to keep it around and to produce electrical energy. This could potentially give us an unlimited energy source that is capable of converting 25 percent of the input mass to energy, making it more effective than the current top-rated solar panels.

However, testing something like this is pretty much impossible. We aren’t even sure if these tiny black holes exist or if we could actively tap them to generate energy.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.