- posted 9 years ago
We have no shortage of ideas here in the United States about how to
power our cars. We=92ve seen gasoline and electricity, and we=92ve heard
about fuel cells powered by water. The nuclear option is the only
thing left to discuss.
According to Txchnologist.com, a General Electric-sponsored blog,
inventor and entrepreneur Charles Stevens of Laser Power Systems (LPS)
is working to build a turbine-electric generator powered by a thorium
The laser isn=92t the conventional kind that shoots a beam of light. It
consists of an element that heats up and gives off energy. Thorium is
a mildly radioactive material that is as abundant as lead, according
to LPS. It is sometimes used as a stand-in for uranium in nuclear
reactors because its fission is nonsustaining.
Stevens says the technology could effectively power a car forever,
completely emissions-free--a lofty goal, to be sure.
The heat flashes from the thorium would create pressurized steam to
turn an electric generator. A 335-hp engine would weigh about 500
pounds, according to LPS.
NoOp Comment: Wonder how you could tweak this Lazer motor to generate
500+ HP? ;-)
As far as fuel, the company calculates that one gram of thorium equals
the output of approximately 7,500 gallons of gasoline. Based on that
math, eight grams of the stuff would power a car for about 300,000
There still are a few problems to solve, according to Stevens.
=93We can build the laser, but the biggest problem has turned out to be
integrating it efficiently with the turbine and generator,=94 he said.
The company is working on a bladeless turbine that uses the steam to
LPS makes big claims, and critics have noted several problems with the
theory. But the concept is intriguing. One additional question is
whether the government--and car buyers--will be OK with millions of
radioactive lasers on the road.