Move Over, Tesla – Thorium-Powered Cars Could Be The Way of the Future

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?

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Hogwash.

    You can’t fission thorium with a laser to produce the energy to propel a car, or even a spool of thread.

    This is a complete hoax, and any honest, credentialed nuclear physicist will tell you the exact same thing.

  2. Oh no, not this story again. Laser Power Systems is a crackpot or a scam, to get from fission to laser, a machine must take the heat from the fission to create steam to drive a turbine to create electricity to power a laser. What they describe isn’t even a good scam. Would everyone please stop writing about this, it’s distracting from the real potential that LFTRs and MSRs have.

  3. Why do they put a current date on an article that was written years ago and presented multiple times? If I am wrong that this is the same article I think I can be forgiven, it reads like the exact same stuff as before. I would forgive it if there was at least some update in the progress of a prototype. But of course there never will be because this makes about as much sense than the nuclear airplanes that were once promoted. So all I have to do to make a dirty bomb is steal someones car and rig it up?
    Nuclear will be an important part of the future. Stop making the people that think so look like crackpots. Or maybe that is the real purpose of these articles.

  4. A Thorium powered car would probaby be an insanely complex machine.

    If Thorium has potential as a car fuel it probably is in the form of a thorium power plant fueling an electric grid that powers the battery of an electric vehicle.

    Come up with a thorium reactor and a better EV battery and you have got yourself a thorium powered car.

  5. ian, are you aware that such a power plant is a nuclear reactor with heavy shielding and an onboard reprocessing plant? have you asked any insurance compnies what premiums they will charge?

  6. “Thorium is predicted to be able to replace uranium as nuclear fuel in nuclear reactors, but no thorium reactors have yet been completed.” & “is chiefly refined from monazite sands as a by-product of extracting rare earth metals.” :-/

    • ..and is worth all its 1.7 million for yet another product that simply isn’t finished, instead they’ve used a 90 times more potent than Uranium ‘by-product’ that will last
      for a hundred years, as waste.

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