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Old 08-16-2011, 02:59 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default The thorium-powered car: Eight grams, one million miles




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Laser Power Systems from Connecticut is developing a method of propulsion that uses thorium to produce electricity to power a car engine.
Thorium is an element similar to uranium and because it is such a dense material it has the potential to produce massive amounts of heat.
According to Laser Power Systems CEO, Charles Stevens, just one gram of thorium produces more energy than 28,000 litres of petrol. Mr Stevens says just eight grams of thorium would be enough to power a vehicle for its entire life.




In an interview with Ward’s Auto, he explained small pieces of thorium were used to generate heat and were positioned to create a thorium laser. The lasers heat water to produce steam and power a series of mini-turbines.

Mr Stevens said an engine weighing approximately 227kg would be light enough and compact enough to fit under the bonnet of a conventional car.
If it were that simple though, petrol would already be a thing of the past.




Mr Steven said developing turbines and generators that were usable and portable was much more difficult than making the thorium lasers.
“How do you take the laser and put these things together efficiently?” This is the question Mr Stevens and the 40 workers at Laser Power Systems are currently trying to answer.

If they can get the technology to work, however, Mr Stevens says thorium-powered cars could “run for a million miles”.
“The car will wear out before the engine. There is no oil, no emissions – nothing.”


If thorium does become a major power source of the future, Australia would be well placed to become a global energy giant.
According to the US Geological Survey, Australia has the second highest level of thorium in the world with 333,690 tonnes – accounting for somewhere between one quarter and one sixth of the world’s thorium reserves.

The concept of the thorium-powered car is not brand new. In 2009, Loren Kulesus presented the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept (or the WTF as it became affectionately known).



Kulesus said apart from adjusting the Cadillac WTF’s 24 tyres every five years, not one element of the vehicle would need to be added or subtracted in 100 years.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
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OK What do you think Len??
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:12 PM   #3
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Instead of heating a medium and using that to spin a turbine and then using that turbine to power a generator and then power the vehicle.


Lets find a way to extract electricity from a substance DIRECTLY, or use the earths magnetosphere to power a vehicle, or use ZPE (Zero point energy)..... Why must we heat something and rely on steam?


Something out there has to give off electricity when given the proper stimuli.
Oh and making the laser requires power, and seeings how you can't make a device over 100% efficient where the hell are the lasers getting this power from?


Bam, big ass hole in his car theory.
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Perpetual motion machines are machines that are supposed to disobey one of the laws of thermodynamics.
so how does it work?
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:36 PM   #4
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The article seems over simplied.
I'd like to know how you go from heat produced by radioactive decay to lasers.
Skip the laser and just heat the water.
or
If you're making electricity to power the laser, just drive an electric motor.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:36 PM   #5
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Sorta what i was thinking, Why go to steam?? Just use the electricity to an electric motor. But what hell do I know, when comes to Thorium. Maybe you have to displace the heat anyway..
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrier View Post
The article seems over simplied.
I'd like to know how you go from heat produced by radioactive decay to lasers.
Skip the laser and just heat the water.
or
If you're making electricity to power the laser, just drive an electric motor.
From what I gathered
Quote:
In an interview with Ward’s Auto, he explained small pieces of thorium were used to generate heat and were positioned to create a thorium laser. The lasers heat water to produce steam and power a series of mini-turbines
They're using the Thorium AS the laser medium and not a gas, but that still doesn't make any sense.


So I call bull****.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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They have made "small" Thorium reactors before, (I think) there was a prototype that was supposed to power a cold-war era heavy bomber.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOOTnMOUTH View Post
so how does it work?
Duh!

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Old 08-16-2011, 04:20 PM   #9
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Look up the basics of an Uranium based nuclear reactor or even a steam engine. Same exact thing. You use the heat from the nuclear material(bit fuzzy on this part) which heats water until it becomes steam which goes to spin turbines that generate electricity.

The difference here is they are using Thorium instead of Uranium. It has a higher density but I don't understand what the advantage is exactly. Besides not being heavily regulated nuclear fission material .
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allch Chcar View Post
Look up the basics of an Uranium based nuclear reactor or even a steam engine. Same exact thing. You use the heat from the nuclear material(bit fuzzy on this part) Uses a heat exchanger to heat water that goes to the turbines using the cooling liquid from the actual reactor while maintaining the separation of both liquids (they never actually touch) which heats water until it becomes steam which goes to spin turbines that generate electricity.

The difference here is they are using Thorium instead of Uranium. It has a higher density but I don't understand what the advantage is exactly. Besides not being heavily regulated nuclear fission material .

The idea behind a nuclear reactor is very simple, heat water using a LONG lasting fuel source, keep the turbine water separate from the reactor coolant, make steam, turn a turbine, connect turbine to generator and create electricity.


My point was, why stick with basically a VERY complex steam engine, instead why not look for a way to turn a substance DIRECTLY in to electricity.

For instance, copper creates electrical current when radio waves pass through it, space is full of radio Xrays and other radiation types that could potentially be used. I'm not a physicist tho.
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by AVANTI R5 View Post
OK What do you think Len??
Ok, so my field of research is decidedly impractical, foundation-of-the-universe type stuff. So I didn't know anything about this Thorium business until I read about this.

Having said that, after a brief googling of the subject, it seems like this is probably a hoax. I mean, it's safe to assume that 99% of the "new energy source" claims are fake, and I don't see any source that I would consider reputable that can explain to me just what the hell this device does.

Thorium can be a nuclear fuel. Ok, I get that. But that's not what this is, apparently. The problem is that I don't know what they mean by thorium laser. Usually, when people say XXX laser, that implies that XXX is the gain medium. The medium is not an energy source, but essentially an amplifier. It uses external energy to amplify input light into high intensity, monochromatic light. But I don't think Thorium can be used as a medium, at least I have no reason to think that nor do I see any source that suggests that. So what the hell do they mean Thorium laser? And how do they make Thorium to generate heat? Through fission?

None of it makes sense to me.
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len View Post
Ok, so my field of research is decidedly impractical, foundation-of-the-universe type stuff. So I didn't know anything about this Thorium business until I read about this.

Having said that, after a brief googling of the subject, it seems like this is probably a hoax. I mean, it's safe to assume that 99% of the "new energy source" claims are fake, and I don't see any source that I would consider reputable that can explain to me just what the hell this device does.

Thorium can be a nuclear fuel. Ok, I get that. But that's not what this is, apparently. The problem is that I don't know what they mean by thorium laser. Usually, when people say XXX laser, that implies that XXX is the gain medium. The medium is not an energy source, but essentially an amplifier. It uses external energy to amplify input light into high intensity, monochromatic light. But I don't think Thorium can be used as a medium, at least I have no reason to think that nor do I see any source that suggests that. So what the hell do they mean Thorium laser? And how do they make Thorium to generate heat? Through fission?

None of it makes sense to me.

Which is what I stated above, why the hell are they using thorium as the medium instead of a gas. If they aren't using thorium as the medium then why are they shooting a laser at the thorium to begin with, unless it gets stupid reactive at higher temps and this creates a slight run-away effect continuing the reaction process on its own?



I've always wondered why we don't use trunk sized nuclear reactors in cars, a chunk the size of a thimble would run a car for at least 20yrs. (closed loop system) so at most you'd replace a bit of the turbine water (non radioactive).
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by FOOTnMOUTH View Post
I've always wondered why we don't use trunk sized nuclear reactors in cars, a chunk the size of a thimble would run a car for at least 20yrs. (closed loop system) so at most you'd replace a bit of the turbine water (non radioactive).
Oh come on, Americans don't even want to put a reactor in the middle of a desert. You think they'd be ok with having it in their cars? Even I would be against it.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:39 PM   #14
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I have to admit, I wondered that myself. hey works great in a sub, etc..
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:45 PM   #15
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1. Collect Underpants
2. ?
3. Profit
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len View Post
Oh come on, Americans don't even want to put a reactor in the middle of a desert. You think they'd be ok with having it in their cars? Even I would be against it.
Think of the aftermarket....


(literally)
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len View Post
Oh come on, Americans don't even want to put a reactor in the middle of a desert. You think they'd be ok with having it in their cars? Even I would be against it.
If I buy a nuclear-powered subcompact, I'd put one of those Pinto stickers from the '70s on there

"Hit me and we both die"
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyeflyistheeye View Post
If I buy a nuclear-powered subcompact, I'd put one of those Pinto stickers from the '70s on there

"Hit me and we both die"
Shouldn't it say "Hit me and we ALL die"?

But regarding the Thorium laser, APPARENTLY it's possible in theory. There is a paper on Physical Review Letters, which is the most prestigious physics journal in the US, on this topic. Here is the abstract.

Quote:
A possibility of the amplification of the 7.6 eV γ radiation by the stimulated γ emission of the ensemble of the 229mTh isomeric nuclei in a host dielectric crystal is proved theoretically. This amplification is a result of (1) the excitation of a large number of 229mTh isomers by laser radiation, (2) the creation of the inverse population of nuclear levels in a cooled sample owing to the interaction of thorium nuclei with the crystal electric field or with an external magnetic field, (3) the emission or absorption of the optical photons by thorium nuclei in the crystal without recoil, and (4) the nuclear spin relaxation through the conduction electrons of the metallic covering.
Did I read the paper? Nope. Do I understand everything in the abstract? Nope. But it's a THEORY paper that suggests a new way of producing laser, which might be of some interest scientifically.

HOWEVER, it has NOTHING to do with alternative energy. It's just a potentially new medium for laser. Nothing magical here. I'm even more convinced now that this Thorium turbine thing is a complete BS. According to the author,
"In my opinion, it is interesting to see a ‘nuclear light,’” he said. “An application of nuclear light is the nuclear metrological standard of frequency, or the ‘nuclear clock.”
That's it.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:13 PM   #19
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Well I am going to send an E-mail to Mr. Stevens with this link and ask him to explain it to us ..
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:20 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by AVANTI R5 View Post
Well I am going to send an E-mail to Mr. Stevens with this link and ask him to explain it to us ..
Oh, if he ever replies to you, PLEASE post it here. I predict it will be very interesting.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:40 PM   #21
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Nuclear power plants really, really, really don't like to cycle up and down. Cars tend to do that. A lot.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:47 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Len View Post
Oh, if he ever replies to you, PLEASE post it here. I predict it will be very interesting.
done
For media inquiries, please contact Rob Sisti, VP Marketing & PR at 401.497.3919 or rsisti@laserpowersystems.com.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:53 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Stanley View Post
Nuclear power plants really, really, really don't like to cycle up and down. Cars tend to do that. A lot.
Well, as long as they put a big red handle that says "push to insert control rods", you KNOW you can safely turn your car off.

And then if that thing gets jammed, you can have your own private Chernobyl in the comfort of your garage.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:53 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len View Post
Shouldn't it say "Hit me and we ALL die"?

But regarding the Thorium laser, APPARENTLY it's possible in theory. There is a paper on Physical Review Letters, which is the most prestigious physics journal in the US, on this topic. Here is the abstract.



Did I read the paper? Nope. Do I understand everything in the abstract? Nope. But it's a THEORY paper that suggests a new way of producing laser, which might be of some interest scientifically.

HOWEVER, it has NOTHING to do with alternative energy. It's just a potentially new medium for laser. Nothing magical here. I'm even more convinced now that this Thorium turbine thing is a complete BS. According to the author,
"In my opinion, it is interesting to see a ‘nuclear light,’” he said. “An application of nuclear light is the nuclear metrological standard of frequency, or the ‘nuclear clock.”
That's it.
(I know nothing beyond what LASER stands for.)

Maybe is it kind of 'self-stimulating'? The decay acts as the stimulation and it also acts as the amplification medium?
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:27 PM   #25
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Thorium only becomes critical when being bombarded by an outside source of neutrons.
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