Black holes, what if we used them as a source of energy?


You can use black holes as real ones rechargeable batteryand then use them to produce electricity? This is the question from which Zhan-Feng Mai and Run-Qiu Yang, researchers at the Department of Physics of Tianjin University (China), started. A question they tried to theoretically answer in a study published on Physical overview D. Conclusion? The equations say that yes, in theory it is possible to reason harness the gravitational force of a certain type of black hole to produce electricity. However, the practice is remote to say the least. Also because we don’t yet know if black holes of the “right” size for this type of application (if we can call it that) actually exist or just on paper.

The primordial black holes

Black holes are usually divided into three categories based on their mass: They exist super massiveyou medium weightand the so-called “stellar mass”which are formed by the collapse of a star with a mass equal to or greater than 20 times that of the Sun. Then there would be a fourth category, primary holeswhose existence we are not sure yet.

It should arise in the very first moments after the formation of the universe as we know it, starting with “agglomerates” of very hot and dense material. Subsequently, with the progressive expansion and gradual cooling of the universe, the conditions necessary for the formation of this type of black holes would disappear.

If they exist, they are primordial black holes small items compared to other types of black holes. It is for this reason that they could “evaporate” over time due to a quantum process (also hypothetical) known as Hawking radiation, which would, so to speak, absorb smaller black holes faster. However i Larger primordial black holes may still be present somewhere in space, waiting to be discovered and possibly used to generate energy.

Black holes like nuclear reactors

According to Mai and Yang’s calculations, they could actually act (in theory, always good to remember) in terms of size like primordial black holes. nuclear reactors from which electricity can be obtained. Specifically, they would be black holes the same size as atom and weight in order 1015-1018 kilograms to suit the case (for comparison, Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole present in our galaxy, has a mass equal to four million times that of the Sun, which weighs about 2×1030 kilograms).

An option proposed by two researchers based on the results of complex equations would be “charge” this type of black hole by providing alpha particles (which are obtained by radioactive decay) that would transform into positrons, the antiparticles of electrons.

According to the results presented in the study, this would be possible at best recover the equivalent of 25% of the particle mass in the form of energy feeding it into the primordial black hole. Not bad if we think that the efficiency of photovoltaic panels is on average around this percentage. But first it will be necessary to wipe out the primordial black holes (if they exist) and then deal with the whole series almost insurmountable challenges. But science and research, on the other hand, fulfill their duty even “just” by opening the way to new questions or to new ways of looking at a problem. And finding a way to extract energy from black holes is a matter that has heated the minds of theoretical physicists for some time.


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