Energy summit in Wise focuses on promising technologiesA $25,000 thorium car? Well, not if Obama and his Democrats get a hold of it and tax/regulate the hell out of it.
By Debra McCown, reporter, Bristol Herald Courier
Wise, Va. – Amid discussion of the shortfalls of U.S. energy policy and the nation’s future, the Southwest Virginia Technology Council highlighted five promising technologies Monday during its third annual Energy Technology Summit.
These technologies included thorium, Hydrocoal, fly ash, aneutronic fusion and sunshine advances.
Thorium – is it the fuel of the future?
Like uranium, thorium is an element that can be used to produce energy, said Charles Stevens, who said he recently revived a technology he worked on as a U.S. government subcontractor back in the 1980s.
Unlike uranium, he said, thorium doesn’t generate radioactive waste or encourage proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“It’s sustainable energy, and it represents energy independence for the United States,” he said.
Stevens, CEO of Laser Power Systems, based in Massachusetts, added that the technology uses high-energy lasers to turn water into steam, which then drives a turbine and generator. It works, he said, without the chain reaction of a nuclear reactor.
At the price of $1.85, he said one gram of thorium can produce as much energy as 7,500 gallons of gasoline or 2.2 tons of coal. A thorium-powered car could travel 300,000 miles before refueling.
A 2,000-megawatt thorium power plant could fit in a 50,000-square-foot building, he said – less than a third the size of a typical big box retail store – and he believes the technology will be ready to go commercial in 12 to 18 months.
Among his first customers are Third-World countries, which are seeking the technology as a means of generating electricity and clean water without the kind of expensive power infrastructure that’s used in the United States, Stevens said.
For a house, he explained, a thorium power system could cost about the same as a furnace/hot water system – less than $15,000. It would come fueled, potentially cutting heating bills by 80 percent for a typical American homeowner.
Cars, he said, would be priced around $25,000, and could run a million miles. [link]
But here's to the thinkers and dreamers. May they come through with concepts that will keep civilization moving forward.