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|User Info||Krugman - Still Proving PhDs Are Worthless; entered at 2010-12-27 15:19:28|
To expand on the math in the post I linked to before:|
A cubic yard of topsoil weight about a ton (1). Thorium in soil occurs at roughly 6 ppm on average (2). This means every cubic yard of dirt contains 0.2 ounces of thorium.
How much energy is this?
In a molten salt reactor 1 ton of thorium can produce 1 GWe·year (3). This means every cubic yard of dirt contains enough energy to produce 55 MWh of electricity.
What is the equivalent in barrels of oil? Using a conversion factor of 1.7 MWh per barrel (4) gives 32 barrels of oil equivalent.
That's how much energy we are sitting on just in terms of trace thorium in the soil alone. That doesn't even get into all the 10%-30% thorium ores that can be mined or the fly ash from coal plants that's sitting around in landfills.
We're sitting on a virtually unlimited supply of energy and we've had all the knowledge and technology necessary to harness it since the 1960s.
EDIT: To compare this to shale oil, a ton of shale produces about 7 barrels of oil (5). This means we can extract four times as much energy from an average ton of dirt as we can from a ton of oil shale if thorium extraction from soil requires a similar amount of energy as oil extraction from shale.
Last modified: 2010-12-27 15:39:11 by abn0rmal