A set of 3 radioisotope thermoelectric generators that

set of 3 fuel cells were used to power this space craft, as previously stated
theses sells used a reaction between oxygen and hydrogen to produce an
electrical output. Re waste product, water, was used as drinking water on the
Apollo spacecraft. On each cell there was separate compartments of oxygen and
hydrogen, with electrodes in them, in total 31 cells were connected up and
produced a output of 563- 1420 watts.

The aside image is a prior model used, which was the Gemini fuel source,
this system utilised a liquid oxygen and hydrogen source that was reacted
across a proton exchange membrane, this was a permeable polymer sheet that was
coated with a platinum catalyst (to speed up the reaction rate), this system
was the power generation.


This probe utilised a set of 3 radioisotope thermoelectric generators
that utilised a thermocouple to produce an electrical output. A thermocouple is
essentially a device that is made of 2 electrical doctors, these convert
thermal heat energy from radioisotope decay into electrical energy. This system
utilises a Seebeck effect system, where one end of the thermocouple is placed
outside the probe in deep space, where temperatures are extremely cold/
freezing, while a second thermocouple is placed in a high temperature
environment inside the probe. The difference in temperatures generates an
electrical current that is used as energy. Each generator was filled with 24
spheres of isotope, for this craft the isotope chosen was Plutonium-238 oxide,
this craft was able to produce 470 watts of electrical energy, however it
should be noted that that value is based on the initial output. The isotope
chosen has a hive life of 87.7 years thus over time the power output has
declined, this is coupled by the structural deterioration of the thermocouple

Viability of portable battery/
cell technology:

Over the years the fuel cell application has boomed, however from my
analysis of this rise in electrical usage, the use of secondary/ rechargeable
cells is the dominant factor, for this analysis I shall be looking into the
applications of fuel cells in automobiles and mobile devices.

Mobile devices:

As mobile phone technology is growing in its intricacy, its demand for
power, reduced recharging time, size and weight of the battery as well as its
storage capabilities are on the rise. New and more advanced mobile devices have
incorporated a fast charging feature, this feature is obtained through a change
in the battery itself, previously and currently in many mobile phones the
battery is using a lithium ion base while the more advanced and modern cellular
devices are using a solid-state battery; a solid-state battery works by passing
an electrical current though a solid , where as in previous generations, a
current was passed through a polymer or liquid , such as in lithium ion
batteries. It is assumed that these new batteries can be recharged to full
power in half their normal time if not faster

Fuel cells and automobiles:

In recent years hybrid cars and electric cars have been on the rise.
Governments have sectioned laws stating that by the year 2040, all petrol or
traditional fuel powered cars are to be decommissioned and no longer used on
the roads, this paves the way for the future of electric cars, as they will be
the only legal road car available. New electric cars like the Hyundai
manufactured car named NEXO, are made to be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell,
this cell is made to have a higher fuel efficiency rating than any other fuel
cell currently available. Other examples of advancing portable fuel cells on
the automobile department are the Hydrogen fuelled busses that are found in
parts of London, such as the No.8 bus, these new electric engines use hydrogen
fuel cells to produce a electrical current strong enough to power and move a
bus loaded to capacity with people, its waste product is clean water and water
vapour that is let out via the exhaust. These new hydrogen fuel cells are made
to have an increased range of travel compared to previous iterations.

To conclude by looking at the technological advancements made over the
years from the fuel cells used in Apollo and Voyager as well the modern
applications of fuel cells in phone batteries and car’s, fuel cell technology
is every evolving. The use in phone batteries has led to the development of
faster recharging secondary fuel cells that are smaller, thinner and lighter
than previous, this is proven by looking at the early rechargeable cells used
in the old Nokia 365 phones that where bulky and weighty compared to the modern
battery cells found in phones like the IPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 edge,
where the cells are now less than 1mm thick, they are lighter than ever, and
have large energy storage capabilities that can be recharged faster than ever.
Cell efficiency has increased, in larger terms, cars and busses have been
developed to be powered using hydrogen fuel cells that have ranges of 370miles.