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New technology could allow cars to never refuel again

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posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:24 PM
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This would sure piss off the oil corporations.

Tiny block of thorium could power your car forever

So what is Laser Power Systems' fuel of choice, exactly? It's a heavy-metal element called thorium. And according to the company, eight grams of the silvery metal is enough to power a car throughout its lifespan. Included in the set-up needed to run the car is a laser that heats the thorium. The heat surges produced by the element create steam from the water within a mini-turbine, providing the energy needed to run the car.


Little problems however...

The element is plentiful enough — the United States has an estimated reserve of 440,000 tons of thorium. But no large-scale facilities dedicated to mining thorium exist, and it would take a lot of money to establish mining operations.

Which a STIMULUS package could be used for... it would create JOBS... and be worth a boatload of $$$...

Also...

Larger issues like where to get the thorium aside, Laser Power Systems still has to work on a turbine small enough to fit under a car's hood, but powerful enough to run the vehicle.

Which DARPA could work on, instead of working on freaking weapons... be used for the good of humanity for once.

Thorium is a little radioactive, but nothing to worry about.
edit on 16-8-2011 by Vitchilo because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:35 PM
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reply to post by Vitchilo
 


Well what would power the laser? Battery? Then it would need to recharge right? Sounds like just another variant of electic car.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:37 PM
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I can guarantee you this will never see the light of day because of one thing...OIL. The oil companies want their money. They have a huge influence in Washington and all across the world. It's because of this greed that the human race is being held back. We have technology that we could not even imagine, that is being held back because of money. It's completely selfish.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:45 PM
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Originally posted by NeoVain
reply to post by Vitchilo
 


Well what would power the laser? Battery? Then it would need to recharge right? Sounds like just another variant of electic car.


Not really. The battery would only need to be used until the laser heated up. Once the system is at operating temperature the system makes enough power to run the car and the laser. The gas companies will see hit never goes to market



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:51 PM
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The heat runs the laser (which is generating the heat) AND the turbine?????? Wow sounds like perpetual motion to me? Especially if the heat charges the laser's battery...



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:53 PM
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Originally posted by posthuman
The heat runs the laser (which is generating the heat) AND the turbine?????? Wow sounds like perpetual motion to me? Especially if the heat charges the laser's battery...


A fuel (thorium) is consumed in the process so I would not call it perpetual motion.
edit on 8/16/2011 by fixer1967 because: spelling



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:55 PM
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reply to post by fixer1967
 


Well if 8 grams of this fuel can power a laser and a car for 10+ years then it's as good as...

EDIT - I guess it's akin to the altenator systems we run today, although doesn't a car battery charge off of the kinetic energy from the motion of the vehicle? 8 grams? Seriously??
edit on 16-8-2011 by posthuman because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:59 PM
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reply to post by posthuman
 


It is as close to it as we will ever get. Too bad we will never see it on the market. It may be used to power space probes or rovers but the gas companies will make sure it is never used on Earth.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:03 PM
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Originally posted by DivineIntervention
I can guarantee you this will never see the light of day because of one thing...OIL. The oil companies want their money. They have a huge influence in Washington and all across the world. It's because of this greed that the human race is being held back. We have technology that we could not even imagine, that is being held back because of money. It's completely selfish.


t'would be nice to see them use said money to fix the leak in the ocean floor in the gulf and pump said oil out properly and turn it into fuel - there's technology for you.

here's an interesting site for you about those nasty oil company conspiracies
www.fuelsaving.info...

big oil is very competitive and highly regulated. I used to work for Exxon and can tell you they would love to have something to sell us to power our cars that was less toxic and more environmentally friendly - and they would be the first to set up a thorium refinery......forget the bankrupt government paying for it will ya?

the frackers, on the other hand - they are the fuel criminals, polluting our water table while the politicians turn a blind eye, and said pollies focus on forcing us to pay a carbon tax to save the planet

ignoramuses they be

edit on 16-8-2011 by Highlander64 because: added to post



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:04 PM
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reply to post by DivineIntervention
 


GM, GE, and many other automobile and power-system manufacturers also like money, and would -love- to be able to sell a car/engine/powerplant in this day and age that can state, with confidence, "never pay for gasoline again!"

The hottest and fastest growing companies/markets in this day and age are companies developing 'renewable' power systems. Wind turbine companies are popping up all over creation and are beginning to attrit as they compete with each other. Solar and biofuels are also doing quite well.

The fact is - people are just dumb. We've had the ability to shake off a dependence on oil for all but automotive transportation for some time, now, with nuclear power. However, people seem to hate the idea of nuclear power plants even though they are safer and less damaging to the environment than any other power source in existence.

It has very little to do with oil companies controlling things and more to do with people just being plain ignorant.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:06 PM
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Seems like I hear something like this at least once a year.

We have enough Natural Gas to run all the cars in the country as well. Last time I checked I didn't see any natty gas stations in the area. :/



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:11 PM
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I'm calling a big, fat HOAX on this story.

According to the article, a total of ONLY 8 grams of thorium are required over a period of 10 years.
It therefore follows that any energy produced/extracted from the thorium MUST be nuclear in origin as there is none or little useful chemical energy in such a small quantity of the material.

Also, to heat a useful amount of water to boiling point in order to produce large quantities of steam sufficient to power a turbine large enough to produce sufficient electricity, would require essentially a NUCLEAR FISSION type of reaction ... nothing else would come even close in power generation capability.

Then I can foresee problems in shielding and moderating the nuclear fission reaction.

So essentially you'd have a mini nuclear reactor sitting under the hood and within a metre or so of the driver and passengers ... and just pray to god that the technology is fail proof otherwise you just may end up with your own personal Fukushima or Chernobyl !

C'mon people ... use a bit of common sense, logic and physics and you'll see that this just has to be yet another in the long line of cheap, free energy scams !



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:12 PM
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As long as somone doesnt crack the reactor open and pour the thorium into drinking water.

You need to get rid of all teh crazy idiots or be able to fully controll them before you can allow such technology to be mainstream.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:14 PM
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Thorium is a common throwaway mineral in copper mines (more plentiful on earth in natural state than uranium) like the one open pit near Salt Lake City. India is the only country known to have a greater thorium reserve than the US, then I believe South Africa. Thorium has been demonstrated in use decades ago in a nuclear plant near Pittsburgh PA. It is regarded as a uranium 235 accelerator (natural nuclear progression) and has not been demonstrated to be used by itself. There are lots of wild stories about thorium being not only a clean nuclear reaction but so far as saying it can in time cleanse plutonium reactors to zero waste.

Do you really believe that being it was applied decades ago and still there is not one single dedicated thorium nuclear reactor on-line? Don't you think some capitalist money grubber would have jumped all over this?

Here's a link.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:17 PM
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OK so for those that are wondering how this would work:

What they are proposing is a small sealed nuclear power generation setup including a closed loop turbine assembly which generates the power to run the vehicle.

This is not perpetual motion.... it's just plain old nuclear physics.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:18 PM
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It would make more sense for the turbine to spin a generator, which in turn powers the actual drive train.

Turbines are horrible to use for a car's propulsion system. The lack of torque, being the main issue.

Plus the generator could power the laser as well.

The other problem I see with this is the water issue. This thing is basically just a steam engine that uses a turbine instead of pistons. You are probably going to have to carry around a bunch of water. If you carry, say, 100 gallons, that's close to 1,000 lbs of extra weight. This extra weight means the car will have to have a heavier frame and be larger, and will be far less efficient with all that water weight.

I don't know, I'm sure this can be made into a workable vehicle, but there seems to be a lot of issues. Nobody wants a car that takes 2 minutes to reach 60 miles a hour, how are you going to merge onto the highway? That's probably the kind of performance you would get with a steam turbine actually driving the car. An electric motor that gets its power from a steam turbine powering a generator would perform much better, but that's even more weight. Turbine, water, heavy/thick boiler, batteries, electric motor.

It just doesn't seem all that feasible. Now, if you could use something that directly turns heat into electricity, and use that electricity to power a motor, then you may be on to something. But the whole steam powered thing has a lot of issues when it comes to commuter vehicles.

All this assuming of course, that this Thorium power supply idea actually works.
edit on 16-8-2011 by James1982 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:28 PM
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Originally posted by roguetechie
OK so for those that are wondering how this would work:

What they are proposing is a small sealed nuclear power generation setup including a closed loop turbine assembly which generates the power to run the vehicle.

This is not perpetual motion.... it's just plain old nuclear physics.


Again, as I mentioned earlier .... this can only be considered a nuclear fission reactor which for normal, day to day, usage in a car just has to be considered one of THE worst "free energy" scams thought up yet.
Even disregarding the gaping physics holes in the idea, just image 2 of these thorium cars impacting head on causing the cooling and moderating systems to fail and initiating a thorium meltdown just 1 metre away from the driver/passengers.

Yeah, sure .... I can see millions of these thorium powered cars being sold and the average joe flocking to buy them ... what a ludicrous scam and even worse that so many of you are getting sucked in and flagging this



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:32 PM
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reply to post by tauristercus
 


This is what I mean by people being stupid.

www.popularmechanics.com...


Examining the reactions inside a thorium-fueled reactor, however, reveals some important differences. In a traditional light water reactor, uranium-235 interacts with uranium-238 to produce plutonium-239 as a byproduct—a radioactive isotope that can be used for weapons. But when thorium is used instead of uranium-238 as a fertile material to kickstart nuclear fission, the thorium eventually "becomes uranium-233, which fissions almost instantaneously in the reactor, generating other isotopes that make power," Grae says. That means usable weapons-grade nuclear material is not produced, which would theoretically eliminate some security issues now associated with nuclear plants. Grae also claims thorium-powered light water reactors produce a much smaller volume of waste products that decay to relatively safe levels in just six to seven hundred years. Lightbridge has completed test runs of its thorium-based fuels in Russia and hopes to conduct tests at Idaho National Labs next year, meaning its thorium-fueled reactors could be up and running here in the U.S. as early as 2015.

Read more: Thorium and Nuclear Power - Next Gen Nuclear Power - Popular Mechanics


en.wikipedia.org...


Some benefits of thorium fuel when compared with uranium were summarized as follows:[21][dead link]

Weapons-grade fissionable material (233U) is harder to retrieve safely and clandestinely from a thorium reactor;
Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste;
Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope, which does not require enrichment, whereas natural uranium contains only 0.7% fissionable U-235;
Thorium cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction without priming,[22] so fission stops by default.



wardsauto.com...


Natural thorium has little radioactivity, Stevens says. What isotopes there are could be blocked by aluminum foil, so the power unit’s 3-in. (7.6-cm) thick stainless-steel box should do the trick.



Stevens agrees, emphasizing his system is “subcritical.” This means no nuclear reaction occurs within the thorium. It remains in the same state and is not turned into uranium 233, which happens only if thorium is sufficiently super-heated to generate a fission reaction.


Perhaps you should do a little learning before trying to connect a concept to a past event. Thanks for posting, anyway, you posted almost right on cue with an example of why we still rely almost exclusively on oil for all our energy needs.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:32 PM
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reply to post by tauristercus
 


it uses a laser powered by a battery to create teh reaction in the thorium...

so as soon as the laser shuts off the reaction stops. A collisions in which the car was damaged would not result in a meltdown. Youd have to alter or remove teh cars built in failsafes to keep the laser constantly on after collision.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 10:36 PM
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Well im sure well see thorium based anti-armour warheads being used in combat before we see the consumer anywhere near it.

The millitary has to finish bogarting the honey pot untill they give us the sullyed sticky remains... for good reason but still as a tech junkie it hurts.



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