Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2010 2:35 am 
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Joined: Dec 08, 2009 6:07 pm
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Location: Albuquerque NM USA
Rare earth elements are NOT needed for battery electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, or wind generators.

The Tesla electric (sports) car uses and induction motor, and induction motors do not have permanent magnets and therefore do not use rare earth magnets. The Tesla does quite well without rare earth magnets, since it can accelerate from 0 - 60 mph in not much more than 4 seconds and go about 250 miles on a charge; it uses lithium batteries. At > $100K, the car is basically for the well-heeled.

The Toyota Priapus (Prius is a shortened form of the Roman god) does use rare earth magnets in its traction motor, but it could use instead a VSR motor. In fact, a VSR motor might actually be better. Rare earth magnets have limited mechanical strength, which limits the speed of the motor because of centrifugal force, and will become demagnetized if they become too hot. VSR motors are more tolerant of high temperatures which can increase the power available and because the rotor is simply Fe, which is stronger than rare earth magnets, they can run at much higher speed. However, they can be noisy (motor whine) and the electronics to control them are somewhat complicated.

Wind generators can use alnico or similar magnets, at the expense of weight, or they could use VSR generators. Actually, many of them use asynchronous generators, which are basically the same as induction motors.


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PostPosted: Mar 04, 2010 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Aug 21, 2008 12:57 pm
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Senators Hatch and Reid Introduce New Energy Legislation Important to U.S. Rare Earths, Inc

“We have abundant domestic supplies of thorium, and when used in a nuclear reactor, thorium is non-proliferative, it produces much less volume of high-level waste, and it can be used to dispose of existing plutonium stockpiles. We certainly want to make sure it is a viable option in our nation’s energy mix,” Hatch said.

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