Power Options

Let’s focus here on three alternatives for car engines (out of other possibilities such as batteries): The magnetic motor, the thorium engine and the algae biofuel.

The Magnetic Motor

Nikola TeslaWe owe so much to Nikola Tesla.

The magnetic motor works on the simple principle that we all already know, ‘Like poles repel each other while opposite poles attract each other’. By arranging the magnets in a fashion where only like poles face each other, one can simply set the motor into motion. Once the motor is set into motion, one can treat it like a turbine and extract electrical energy out of it.

The device can be made to work a little better if a electromagnet replaces the opposing magnet in this setup. This is because, one can quickly switch the poles of an electromagnet. Although, this will require some amount of electricity to make the electromagnet work, the output of the magnetic motor will be much higher than the power used to operate the electromagnet. Efficiency of the device can be further increased by changing the design of the motor and positioning magnets in a way where the motor can run easily.

Electromagnetism 101 | National Geographic

But there is one major flaw in this whole setup. The electrical energy that can be generated out of such a system seems to be created out of no fuel at all and that is stumbling everybody. So far, all we know is that to generate electricity, we need some sort of a source, rays of the sun, kinetic energy from flowing water, or at least some fuel to be burnt so that the turbines can move and generate electricity.

But the magnetic motor challenges this notion and tells us that all you need is an arrangement of magnets (see video above: “how magnets work – the force of nature“) to put the motor in motion and generate electricity. And for many people, this seems to be breaking ‘the law of conservation of energy‘ making this concept very difficult to accept!

Magnetic_air_car_engine_concept_designBut in reality, it is the magnetic energy that is being used to put the motor into motion and over a period of time, the magnets will lose their magnetism and the motor will stop.

But again, all one needs to do is replace the magnets and the motor will be workable once again. There is some work that has been put into the type of magnets that can be used for such motors and Neodymium magnets have been claimed to offer the best results.

The Thorium Engine

Thorium is a weakly radioactive chemical element with symbol Th and atomic number 90. Thorium metal is silvery and tarnishes black when exposed to air, forming the dioxide; it is moderately hard, malleable, and has a high melting point. Thorium is an electropositive actinide, whose chemistry is dominated by the +4 oxidation state; it is quite reactive, prone to ignition on air when finely divided.

Car runs for 100 years without refueling

How does a thorium reactor work?

“If your car was powered by thorium, you would never need to refuel it. The vehicle would burn out long before the chemical did. The thorium would last so long, in fact, it would probably outlive you. The element is radioactive, and the team uses bits of it to build a laserbeam that heats water, produces steam, and powers an energy-producing turbine.”
– The Young Turks

Thorium Energy Cheaper than Coal

According to Robert Hargraves, founder at ThorCon International, low or non-CO2 emitting energy sources must be cheaper than coal or will ultimately fail to displace fossil fuels.

However, with CO2 emissions climbing seemingly beyond all bounds, pessimism is rampant and bold ideas are needed.

The Algae Biofuel

Algae can provide a diverse and highly desirable non-food source of the important renewable molecules that can be used to produce second generation biofuels. Some strains of algae can be optimised to produce bio-diesel precursors.

Algae has been regarded as a potential sustainable fuel option, but researchers have been hindered for the past decade in developing a strain that is high in oil content and grows quickly. The ability to sustain growth while increasing oil content is an important advance.

Algae has other advantages over traditional biofuels because it can grow in salt water and thrive in harsh environmental conditions, therefore limiting stress on food and fresh water supplies. While the breakthrough is an important step, the technology is still many years from potentially reaching the commercial market, but nevertheless, progress is being made.

How the Technology Works – Algae to Biofuels

How Algae Could Change The Fossil Fuel Industry

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