An American company called Laser Power Systems has been working on creating an emissions free turbine/electric generator powered by nuclear thorium lasers.
Thorium is an incredibly dense, naturally occurring radioactive chemical element, and is most popular for its potential to replace current nuclear energy generation by implementing reactors powered by thorium, which would be an alternative to uranium.
Charles Stevens, CEO and chairman of the Connecticut-based company claims that one gram of thorium yields the energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline. That’s the equivalent of 509 full fill-ups of a 55-litre petrol tank, and when the average European Joe will only fill his tank about 50 times over three years, that makes thorium a huge deal.
Just eight grams of thorium is enough to power a car for a century, and while it’s in the early stages it’s genuinely viable.
The current prototype ‘engine’ is said to weigh about 225kg, making it comparable with internal combustion motors.
The energy is harnessed by heating the thorium with an external source, which then becomes so dense that its molecules emit heat.
Definitely a much safer fuel for civilian power plants than uranium. It produces 10 times less long-lived radiation than typical nuclear fission. At best, we’re talking 10,000 times less.
Bit of a no-brainer, really, especially if the government ends up deciding to bury it at the bottom of your garden.