On E-Cat Powered Vehicles (Zack Iszard)

The following comment was posted on this thread by Zack Iszard

My favorite potential application of the E-Cat technology is automotive.

TL;DR: Given the announced power density in this thread of 10 kW/L, an E-Cat-based electric drivetrain for a large freeway-capable passenger vehicle weighs less than 600 kg, comparable to modern gasoline-based systems. The E-Cat technology is already competitive in power density for automotive applications, and would be revolutionary in large transport vehicles such as buses and cargo trucks.

An ideal configuration for cars involves immediate-delivery capacitors (for power) coupled to buffering batteries (to let the reactor warm up). This ideal configuration for any portable nuclear reactor (also works for thorium molten salt systems) is this energy flow: [Reactor] -(steam)-> [Steam turbine generator] -> [Battery bank] + [Capacitor bank] -> [Electric motors].

The mass of these systems can be estimated. 50 HP of generator continuous output (max) is completely sufficient for a large passenger vehicle to cruise at freeway speed. Assuming the heat exchanger setup is comparable to power plant efficiencies, steam turbines are roughly 30% efficient. 50 HP / 0.30 * 0.745 (kW per HP) = 124 kW. This reactor would occupy about 12.4 L of space.

The reactor’s maximum density is likely to be less than that of the bulk of the fuel, Nickel; using this as an upper bound, the reactor here would weigh 12.4 L * 8.9 kg/L = 111 kg. Huge assumption for heat exchanger/turbine mass of not more than twice the reactor weight itself, 222 kg. This totals to 333 kg. Battery and capacitor banks for this purpose need not be heavier than about 50 kg, now a sum of 383 kg. Electric motors, one per wheel with the necessary drive linkage, would weigh about 50 kg each, for a total of 200 kg. The total mass of the drivetrain and energy system of this hypothetical vehicle as estimated here is 583 kg, which is comparable to the gasoline engine, transmission, and drive linkage of a modern SUV, and this is a liberal weight estimate. With modern or cutting-edge materials, this design could easily be reduced by 100 kg or more, for example by using EEStor’s capacitor technology to replace the battery bank.

I must disclaim that I did not find actual mass numbers for most components, but instead I estimated based on several existing sys tems: 50 kg of batteries and capacitors is derived from 10% of the mass of the equivalent system in the original Tesla Roadster, for example.

Given that Rossi seems to think the E-Cat power density will only increase from here, we may very well see high peak output reactor/generator systems developed for cars that completely crush the EV competition in a short number of years. Such a vehicle would have all of the intrinsic benefits of EVs but with *staggering range*. The reactor/generator system would replace much of the mass of batteries, with only a small bank to act as a buffer to provide quick-demand power as is needed in cars. An even more prominent usage of the E-Cat for transport would be to replace combustion systems in buses and cargo trucks, again to exploit the staggering range of a reactor-based electric drive. I personally would like to own an RV with such a system!

Assuming the 1MW plant performs as hoped and makes mainstream announcement by the end of this new year, I expect luxury car makers (Mercedes-Benz, specifically, due to it’s early investment in EV systems) to have a reactor-driven luxury SUV or large car available by 2020; this company also has a market share in cargo trucks.

Zack Iszard

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