In a not too far away future we might find ourselves driving nuclear fuelled cars.
Charles Stevens, a researcher at the Massachusetts R&D firm Laser Power Systems, is creating a prototype of a thorium-powered laser that can be used to generate enough energy to power a vehicle while producing zero-emissions, according to an article in the Txchnologist. The system can produce a total of 250 kilowatts (equivalent 335 horsepower), weighs about 500 pounds, and can fit under the hood of a car.
Thorium has been touted by several nuclear scientists as a better nuclear fuel source than uranium. Less radioactive and more plentiful than uranium, thorium is being tested by researchers in China as a potential fuel for nuclear reactors.
While small-scale thorium-powered nuclear reactors are theoretically possible, none have been designed that could fit in a car. Stevens’ system uses a thorium-powered laser to turn water to steam, which could be used in a car.