This is topic RITE GENs: cool real tech in forum Grist for the Mill at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=8;t=000269

Posted by billawaboy (Member # 8182) on :
I found this and thought it was cool - so wanted to share:

RITE GENs: Radioactive Isotope Thermoelectric Generators are a clever way of generating energy by using the heat generated by radioactive material (e.g. plutonium) coupled to a thermoelectric material which generates a current when heated - i.e. we have a long term low power battery!

What is also interesting is where they are useful. They are used as power sources in satellites, space probes and unmanned remote facilities, such as a series of lighthouses built by the former Soviet Union inside the Arctic Circle. They are usually the most desirable power source for unmanned or unmaintained situations needing a few hundred watts or less of power for durations too long for other power sources.

What I found very interesting is such a device is actually buried at the bottom of the pacific ocean from the failed Apollo 13 mission!!!

I can just imagine a story where an evil mastermind bent on world domination aims to collect all these forgotten RTG relics made decades ago...

Anyways, food for a variety of stories, I bet...

[This message has been edited by billawaboy (edited June 08, 2010).]

Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Of course if you cracked one open by accident, you'd die...
Posted by MikeL (Member # 9138) on :
That is if you are not wearing proper gear...

I have heard that these devices could power electric cars for many, many, many, years. They are very tough and are built withstand very high impact forces. Forces that would 'liquify' the human body.

These "low" power batteries are outlawed to keep competition up. Hmmm... Also, this tecnology is nearly 100 years old. Just think what a little research into thermocouple alloys could do. Especially, chip form.

But alas, those who "know" better decided that the world is better off not using this technology except in space. Go figure...

Posted by PB&Jenny (Member # 9200) on :
I'm sure you can find a You-Tube video on how to make one at home.

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2