This caught my eye as I just recently finished reading a book (you’ll see the review here in a week or so) on Thorium in relation to atomic power. In this setting it’s being used with lasers to create steam to run turbines to make electricity to run a new concept car. This article is just one of many that have recently appeared about this system.
What’s interesting about Thorium is that, while being radioactive, it’s not particularly aggressively so, with one article I saw saying that you could shield it with standard aluminum foil. However, due to its density (its atomic weight is 90 – putting it way down on the bottom row of the Periodic Table) it tends to produce a lot of heat, making it very useful in generating power.
A company called Laser Power Systems has developed a closed-loop motor based on lasers, Thorium, and steam generators, which would weigh about 500lbs and run on about 8 grams of Thorium. Unlike other radioactive materials, Thorium is widely available (it’s as common as lead), and the U.S. has one of the largest reserves of it (estimated at over 400,000 tons) in the world.
Another article estimates that a single gram of Thorium would equal the energy output of 7,500 gallons of gasoline, with an 8gm system being good for 300,000 miles of driving … while being totally emission free.
That would certainly change a lot of systems … from our dependence on oil to the automotive slice of atmospheric carbon!
Get email notifications of new posts!
- Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button.
Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Follow Green Tech Chicago!
Filed under: Green Tech Articles