Over a month ago I had talked about using lasers and CDs for hydrogen storage for cars. Some people may have thought that this idea was perhaps a little far fetched or a little too futuristic.
A few days ago I ran across an article that talks about high powered lasers that could one day create nuclear power from the fusion of hydrogen and boron-11. According to Professor Hora from the University of New South Wales, “The idea of a hydrogen and boron fusion reaction is interesting because it wouldn’t cause neutron production. Neutrons are a problem because they generate radioactivity.”
So, this billionth of a second pulse of lasers combined with hydrogen and boron-11 create no radioactivity whatsoever. In fact, the only byproduct is helium, which has the potential of making your voice squeaky for a few seconds if enough is inhaled.
The article doesn’t specifically mention that this kind of nuclear reaction would be used for powering automobiles. But, this idea isn’t as far fetched as it may seem either. In 1958 the Ford Nucleon concept car was put on display.
The Ford Nucleon was supposed to carry a liter-sized nuclear fission reactor in the trunk of the car. According to this website, “Ford’s engineers imagined a world in which full-service recharging stations would one day supplant petroleum fuel stations, where depleted reactors could be swapped out for fresh ones lickety-split. The car’s reactor setup was essentially the same as a nuclear submarine’s, but miniaturized for automobile use.”
The Ford Nucleon was a little ahead of its time. Scientists, researchers and engineers didn’t know how to harness the power of nuclear energy and especially how to do it without emitting radioactivity. The hydrogen, boron-11 and laser idea also may be ahead of its time. But, when that time does come, it could change the landscape of automotive technology as we now know it.