If you could drive a car that ran for 100 years without ever refueling, would you do it? Some might say that such a car belongs only in the realm of science fiction. But in fact, the technology is real and a concept car has already been developed.
Enter The Thorium Car. Designed by a company called Laser Power Systems, the Thorium Car can run for 100 years on just 8 grams of fuel. And yes, that fuel is indeed radioactive. Named after the Norse God of Thunder (Thor), Thorium is a mildly radioactive element that exists in large quantities around the world. It’s also one of the densest materials on Earth – 20 million times more energy than a similarly-sized piece of coal. And unlike its dangerous cousin Uranium, Thorium is apparently safe enough to be shielded by a single sheet of aluminum foil, or even hold a lifetime supply of it in your hand. It’s far cheaper, cleaner, and safer than Uranium. Point a laser at it, and it produces intense heat, which turns water into steam, which powers a turbine engine. They say that just 1 gram of Thorium has the same energy content as 7,500 gallons of gasoline. That’s a lot of driving miles with no carbon emissions!
So why aren’t we already driving Thorium Cars? Well, there has to be a market before companies will invest in its production, right? And right now companies are heavily invested in gasoline. So we probably won’t be seeing any Thorium cars anytime soon. What is more likely is the production of Thorium turbines the size of an air-conditioner, used to power houses, office buildings, and even small towns.
So what do you think? In spite of scientists’ claims of Thorium being safe, will it prove to be yet another danger to society? Or will people’s fear of radioactivity prevent scientists from moving forward with Thorium research and development? Who knows? If what supporters of Thorium are telling us is true, then maybe the God of Thunder will end up saving the planet from global warming. How cool would that be?