Discovery reported that a new form of uranium could lead to a small nuclear power plant that could fit in your car and power it! Scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory have worked on and created a molecule called uranium nitride which promises to be cheaper and much safer. Uranium Nitride could also extracting more energy from fossil fuels making cars more fuel efficient.
Scientist Jaqueline Kiplinger said in an interview, “Actinide nitrides are candidate nuclear fuels of the future but they can also break carbon-hydrogen bonds, which are very strong.”
Ripping hydrogen off the carbon atoms is not an easy task but Uranium Nitride is able to do so. A lot of energy typically in this process, is lost as heat in car engines. If that lost energy is somehow retained then gasoline could give us much more mileage per gallon.
Scientists did stumble upon a road block. The Uranium Nitrade molecule destroys itself after ripping the hydrogen atoms from the carbon atoms. For this new molecule to be commercially successful it needs to retain itself and not self destruct after the splitting of one hydrogen atom from carbon.
If this technology were to work with Uranium nitride acting as a catalyst in the reaction to break hydrogen and carbon atoms, this could lead to smaller, cheaper and mobile nuclear power plants. NASA is first in the race for smaller nuclear power plants to power rockets and space ships on long distance flights.
The new molecule is relatively harmless unline uranium it self which emits harmful radiation.
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