Thorium is a Denser Form of Energy than LNG

My friend Rod Adams has encouraged me to make comparisons between thorium and fossil fuels, and did one today that I thought might be worth posting.

It compares the recently constructed Cameron Liquefied-Natural-Gas (LNG) terminal on the Calcasieu Channel, 18 miles from the Gulf of Mexico in Hackberry, LA. Cameron was started in August 2005 and commercial operations will begin mid 2009. It has three huge tanks holding 180,000 cubic meters of LNG each. Based on an industry estimate of roughly 3100 kilowatt*hours of electricity that can be produced from each cubic meter of LNG, Cameron holds 1.5 billion kilowatt*hours of potential electrical energy.

I got curious how much thorium holds a similar amount of potential electrical energy. Based on a calculation of 11 million kilowatt*hours per kilogram of thorium in an efficient LFTR, it takes about 140 kg of thorium to make a similar amount of electricity. This volume of thorium metal would form a sphere about 28 centimeters (11 inches) in diameter.

That’s a pretty compact form of potential energy!

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