Re-fuel Every 100 Years With the New Thorium Car!!!

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Mar 29, 2014.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI

    If you haven’t yet been amazed by the hybrid car that runs on air or the water-powered engine, this vehicle is sure to make you think twice about the alternative forms of transportation which will one day rule the road.

    The new Thorium car, created by a company called Laser Power Systems, is completely emission-free, turbine-free, and is electricity generated. It’s one of the new sustainable-powered engines to show just how unnecessary modern day propulsion engines are and also offer an exciting alternative.

    Fueled by nuclear thorium lasers, this engine only needs 8 grams of fuels every 100 years. Charles Stevens, the CEO and chairman of the Connecticut-based company, claims that one gram of thorium yields the energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline. Harnessed by heating the energy from an external source, the energy becomes so dense the molecules produce heat. A vehicle that needs refilling once a lifetime.

    It seems many countries and military agencies have been experimenting with this type of energy to power vehicles for a number of years. And now with designs to create a car for the public, those who find their gasoline budget a sensitive topic may find relief in this model.

    Go Thorium sheds insight to its long-time study: “What China is attempting is to turn the nuclear clock back to the mid-1960s, when Oak Ridge successfully operated a reactor with fuel derived from thorium and cooled with molten salts. The lab also produced detailed plans for a commercial-scale power plant. Despite considerable promise, the thorium test reactor was shut down in 1969 after about five years of operation. Research was effectively shelved when the Nixon Adminsitration decided in the 1970′s that the U.S. Nuclear industry would concentrate on a new generation of uranium-fueled, fast-breeder reactors. For a range of technical and political reasons, not least the public’s fear of nuclear plants, these new uranium reactors have yet to come into widespread commercial use.”

    Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive element, and may be best known for its potential to replace current nuclear energy generation by implementing reactors fueled by thorium. This element is an alternative for the use of uranium, therefore it’s a much safer fuel for civilian power plants.

    Fang Jinqing, a retired nuclear researcher at the China Institute of Atomic Energy shared his thoughts on the subject, “If a thorium, molten-salt reactor can be successfully developed, it will remove all fears about nuclear energy.” In addition, “The technology works in theory, and it may have the potential to reshape the nuclear power landscape, but there are a lot of technical challenges.”

    It is quite clear that modern day nuclear reactors are no longer needed. The technologies to fuel alternative modes of transportation are becoming more widely implemented, and with growing awareness surrounding the necessity to adopt greener transportation, no doubt their prevalence in mainstream society will grow in time.


    Collective Evolution

    Thorium Fuel Benefits, IAEA

    Re-fuel Every 100 Years With the New Thorium Car

    This Car Runs For 100 Years Without Refuelling – The Thorium Car | Collective-Evolution

    Cadillac’s World Thorium Fuel Concept. Courtesy Cadillac

    thorium lasers: The thoroughly plausible idea for nuclear cars

    By Steven Ashley

    Some proposed technological innovations seem so far out that they are easy to reject out of hand. But sometimes, a new idea has a kernel of plausibility. Such is the case with a new project to develop a thorium laser power generation system that its creator says could provide electricity for the grid, stand-alone power applications and even cars.
    Charles Stevens, an inventor and entrepreneur, recently revealed that his Massachusetts-based R&D firm, Laser Power Systems (LPS), is working on a turbine/electric generator system that is powered by “an accelerator-driven thorium-based laser.” The thorium laser does not produce a beam of coherent light like conventional lasers, but instead merely heats up and gives off energy.

    Thorium, a silvery-white metal, is a mildly radioactive element (with an atomic weight of 90) that is as abundant as lead. It is present in large quantities in India and is a much-touted stand in for uranium in nuclear reactors because its fission is not self-sustaining, a type of reaction called “sub-critical.”

    The idea has energized the small but active thorium community, which holds that it is the answer to our clean energy needs because it could, effectively, power a car forever. The new technology “would be totally emissions-free,” Stevens said, “with no need for recharging.”

    Laser Heating

    The LPS power plant, for all its whiz-bang properties, isn’t a complete departure from traditional power generation: the thorium is lased and the resulting heat flashes a fluid and creates pressurized steam inside a closed-loop system. The steam then drives a turbine that turns an electric generator.

    A 250-kilowatt unit (equivalent to about 335 horsepower) weighing about 500 pounds would be small and light enough to put under the hood of a car, Stevens claims. And because a gram of thorium has the equivalent potential energy content of 7,500 gallons of gasoline, LPS calculates that using just 8 grams of thorium in the unit could power an average car for 5,000 hours, or about 300,000 miles of normal driving.

    Stevens isn’t the only one who believes thorium could power cars. In 2009 Cadillac introduced a thorium-powered concept car at the Chicago Auto Show. Designed by Lorus Kulesus, the sleek World Thorium Fuel Concept did not contain a working thorium-fueled nuclear-fission reactor that could generate the electricity to power it. But somebody at General Motors thought the idea to be sufficiently interesting to build a vehicle to show it off.

    Thorium as a Power Source

    Researchers in Russia, India and more recently, in China and North America, have studied using thorium as fuel for nuclear reactors, partly because it is more difficult to use in atomic weapons than uranium or plutonium. In addition, only a thin layer of aluminum foil is needed to shield people from the weakly emitting metal.

    Although prototype thorium-fueled nuclear reactors have been developed, the technology has never been adopted for commercial use because the nuclear powers opted after the Second World War to focus on uranium-based atomic energy. (Incidentally, the major powers chose to focus on Uranium reactors precisely because it could be weaponized, Stevens has said).

    Thorium-Based Laser

    Stevens’ innovation is to use thorium to make a laser, not a nuclear power reactor.

    Indeed, the use of radioactive materials in lasers is not unheard of either. After all, when Bell Labs researchers demonstrated the second laser ever in 1960, they used a flashlamp (a very bright light) to excite a crystal of uranium-doped calcium fluoride to lase in the infrared light spectrum. Because of the need for a cryogenic (ultralow-temperature) system to cool the hot laser-gain medium during operation, however, uranium lasers never found much practical use.

    The key twist to Stevens’ thorium-laser power concept is that it would use a radioactive element-based laser to produce heat, not a beam of coherent light.

    Remaining Technical Hurdles

    Stevens says that developing a compact turbine and generator set is proving to be more difficult than making the thorium laser itself. “We can build the laser, but the biggest problem has turned out to be integrating it efficiently with the turbine and generator,” he notes. LPS’ thorium laser itself is simply an adaptation of the MaxFeLaser, a design Stevens built in1985.

    Stevens said his company has fabricated a modified Tesla turbine (no relation to the car company) to convert steam pressure into rotary motion. Unlike more familiar turbine types, a Tesla turbine is a bladeless centripetal-flow unit with a set of smooth disks that are placed in motion by directing moving gas, via nozzles, at the edges of the disks. The viscous (boundary-layer) drag on the disk surfaces that is produced by the gas flow causes them to rotate.

    Further, after having found no off-the-shelf high-speed generators that fit his special application, his team has had to design a custom unit to efficiently produce electricity for his one-of-a-kind power plant.

    Whether authorities will allow thorium-powered cars to roam the streets is another question. Stevens has not set a date for a prototype version (Ed. a prior version of this story incorrectly stated he had).

    Top image: Cadillac’s World Thorium Fuel Concept. Courtesy Cadillac

    Steven Ashley is a contributing editor at Scientific American magazine, where he writes and edits articles on general science and technology topics. Ashley’s work has been published in Popular Science, MIT’s Technology Review and Physics Today, among others.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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