Update: August 19: Upon further research, the claims made by Laser Power Systems regarding their thorium technology seem to be inauthentic – however this article is preserved as originally published below.
Although most people aren’t yet ready to even drive an electric car, a new concept for a car powered by thorium could be the ultimate in sustainable transportation, due to the fact it would only need to be refuelled every 100 years or so. Based on those estimates, the car would be toast before the fuel was.
The concept for the thorium-powered car is introduced by Laser Power Systems, who claim to take the radioactive element and use it to generate a laser beam that in turn heats water, producing steam and powering the vehicle’s engine.
But if it’s radioactive, that makes it extremely dangerous, right? Wrong. According to Laser Power Systems’ CEO Dr. Charles Stevens, a single sheet of aluminum foil will provide passengers with enough protection from radiation when riding in the vehicle, even going so far as to claim “You will get more radiation from one of those dental X-rays than this.”
The really interesting thing about Laser Power Systems’ thorium fuel concept is that its end goal isn’t even to power vehicles. Instead, the company thinks thorium can be a clean energy producing alternative for buildings or towns in areas of the world that it’s difficult to get traditional energy. Further down the road, Dr. Stevens even suggests thorium could power individual homes.
What do you think of thorium as an alternative fuel source – would you drive a car powered by a radioactive material?