Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tiny block of thorium could run your car forever

ThoriumThe magical element opening a new dimension in 'Go green' revolution

The Tech
World is moving towards more zero emission vehicles. Therefore, a lot of development is occurring in the field of electric vehicles. However, they do have the major problem of battery drainage and thus, its frequent recharging. People are reluctant to buy, due to fear of being stranded.

A R&D company in Connecticut has come with the laser turbine technology. The car powered with this technology can run throughout its life with only 8 gm of thorium. The technology combines thorium and laser plumbing technology that powers a steam turbine. They are claiming to build their first prototype by 2014.

What's new? (bit techie)
USAF revealed this brand new technology very recently. The technology will not employ any radioactive reactor. It is a high-energy generation by lasing thorium. The fission reaction delivers more energy than this technology, but thorium does not belong to class of fissile material. It needs a lot of processing before it can sustain any fission reaction. Moreover, the laser technology does not employ any neutron bombardment, thus it makes fission nearly impossible. It is also a cheap technology due to abundance of thorium. The IC engine will not require nuclear fission grade safety thus, making it cheaper

What's refreshing?
Unlike nuclear fission and chemical combustion, the technology does not release any toxic wastes or radiations. However, thorium belongs to radioactive class of element; therefore, a precaution is required for spent fuel disposal. An aluminum foil is sufficient to prevent its radiation surge that is utilized in electric car engine and its disposal is safe and cheaper. The technology is completely safe and we will not have to wear any protective suit while driving the car. The car will be completely zero emission and will be sufficiently powerful to fulfill your racing needs, the task which is nearly impossible with conventional electrical engine.

How it works?
The technology is brainchild of Charles Stevens, owner of Laser Power Systems (LPS). They are working towards its scaling down to level of car engines. It employs the technology, developed way back in 1960, to create uranium laser. The technology employs bombardment of thorium with laser, which produced a big splash of heat waves. These heat waves then heat the water in the boiler, creating steam, which runs the turbine to produce electricity. The electric engine of the car is a scaled down version. The car will use only 8 gm of Thorium and a laser power system, and can run for a lifetime. There are abundant thorium reserves in India and the US. However, the problem lies with its lack of enthusiasm in its mining as normal reactors does not need any thorium.

The impact
pending trials the technology may have a big impact on car market and oil based economy. It will lower down the need for fossil fuel to a bare minimum. It will also bring on a revolution in electric car sales due to its no input and zero emission advantage.

With this technology, we will have lighter and powerful vehicles.

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