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#264778 - 11/04/13 05:00 AM Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


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Registered: 08/03/04
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Loc: Whittier, California
Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century

Quote:
Current models of the engine weigh 500 pounds, easily fitting into the engine area of a conventionally-designed vehicle. According to CEO Charles Stevens, just one gram of the substance yields more energy than 7,396 gallons (28,000 L) of gasoline and 8 grams would power the typical car for a century.




Laser Power Systems


Edited by Jeffery J. Haas (11/04/13 05:08 AM)
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#264779 - 11/04/13 05:25 AM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


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Registered: 08/03/04
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Loc: Whittier, California
The website is overflowing with very rosy "forward looking" statements.
That's par for the course...of course! Whenever an inventor trots out something they're in love with they tend to paint pictures which dazzle with brilliance whilst baffling with bullsh!t.
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#264781 - 11/04/13 10:15 AM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Registered: 09/09/11
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It is a fetish of mine, but I distrust websites that are ful of speeling end grammatic erors.

I do believe in the promise of alternate fuel sources, and I embrace the concept of innovative thinking. We do need bold, new, outside-the-box ideas. I even sometimes invest in promising ones. Missing from many such breathtaking concepts, however, are considerations of legacy systems, like the power grid, transportation systems, and industrial dependence; and "unintended consequences," like environmental degradation from mining, unemployment from worker displacement, and disposal of byproducts.

Still, dreaming is what gives society its energy.
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#264801 - 11/04/13 11:06 PM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
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That article implies that the high density of Thorium somehow is used to generate power. I suspect the author heard something about "energy density", which is a metric of the amount of energy that can be stored or produced by a battery, divided by the battery's weight. The only way a super-dense material could be used to generate a lot of energy is if it was something like neutron-star material or a black hole and you fed matter to collapse into it. The big problem with that as a vehicle engine is that when you turn, the black hole tends to just keep going straight. The acceleration would be pretty sluggish, too. smile

Building a Thorium Reactor Infrastructure makes excellent sense for many reasons, especially for a country like India with vast Thorium reserves and little Uranium. One of the main reasons we have all of this Uranium Reactor Infrastructure in the US is that we needed Uranium and Plutonium to make nuclear weapons. If you don't need to make such weapons, then Thorium is a much better choice.

But making a portable nuclear fission reactor that doesn't fry the vehicle passengers is extremely inefficient: Much better to build large stationary reactors and use their power output as the energy source for your vehicles. That could be as electricity to run the current crop of plug-in cars, or something with higher energy-density like making ammonia from the atmosphere to run fuel cell cars.

I'm actually considering installing a couple extra kilowatts of PV panels so I can push enough power back into the grid during the day so I can charge a Nissan Leaf overnight for free. That would be MUCH cheaper than any kind of individual fission reactor that could be built.

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#264832 - 11/05/13 11:28 PM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: NW Ponderer]
Schlack Offline
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Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 9715
Loc: Ireland
Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
It is a fetish of mine, but I distrust websites that are ful of speeling end grammatic erors.


hey..... im sure this is a dig at me!

The article does stink of investor bait alright or else the story has been teleported directly from the 1950s

the Nucleon
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#264835 - 11/06/13 12:01 AM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: Schlack]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8799
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Originally Posted By: Schlack
...The article does stink of investor bait alright or else the story has been teleported directly from the 1950s

the Nucleon

Jeepers! That Nucleon is sure swell!
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#264843 - 11/06/13 06:19 PM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: logtroll]
Ardy Offline
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Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 12005
Loc: San Jose, Ca USA
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Originally Posted By: Schlack
...The article does stink of investor bait alright or else the story has been teleported directly from the 1950s

the Nucleon

Jeepers! That Nucleon is sure swell!


A friend of a friend of a friend of an acquaintance may have obtained one of these beauties. He has never put a drop of gasoline in it!
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#264845 - 11/06/13 09:36 PM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: pondering_it_all]
rporter314 Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/18/03
Posts: 6414
Loc: Highlands, Tx
ok ponder...all ... you have convinced me you may have an insight into this stuff ... so i gotta couple of questions

if i recollect the article stated 8g was enough etc ... how much would 8g of Th cost ... ok i did the research and it would appear about $30 or thereabouts would do it

next and most important ... the engineers are using lasers to heat the Th to drive a turbine etc ... I have also read that there is no known science to do what the engineer claims

you have some thoughts on the process???
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#264852 - 11/07/13 12:03 AM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: rporter314]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7613
Loc: North San Diego County
The article seemed like a bit of known scientific fact tossed into a large salad of "gee-whiz-what-if?".

The 8 grams figure is based on the energy released if you completely reacted that much Thorium inside a nuclear reactor. Here is a very complete explanation of the Thorium fuel cycle, as we know it today:
Thorium Fuel Cycle Wiki Page

Thorium is "fertile but not fissile", which means it is able to accept neutrons that you throw at it and then transmute into some other element that will spontaneously have a fission reaction. In this case, that element is Uranium-233. That fission reaction releases a LOT of energy as both heat and ionizing radiation.

So to make your Thorium reactor actually run, you need to have a source of high-energy neutrons. That can be some radioactive element, like Uranium et al, or it can be done by hitting a target made of a neutron-emitting material with some very energetic particles from a linear accelerator, or hitting something like Deuterium plasma with a very high-energy photon beam. (Check out the "Neutron Source" wiki page.)

Maybe these guys are thinking of using the latter with a laser to drive the neutron release? This would be theoretically possible, but so far these things have been done in labs behind lots of lead shielding to protect the researchers from all the radiation produced. The Thorium fuel cycle may produce 1/10th or 1/100th the radioactive waste compared to the more usual Uranium fuel cycle, but this is still some of the most toxic stuff on Earth. I sure as Hell would not want to be driving around with one of these in my trunk!

But there have been plenty of Thorium research reactors built and operated for years. I think they still have one running in India, and if they (the Indians) are smart they will soon have a lot more producing power.

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#264854 - 11/07/13 01:10 AM Re: Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
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Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
Zero - 60?
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