Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Water Powered Car

Ok I've seen spam e-mails about this and they're easy enough to delete but when Reuters does a piece about a Japanese company claiming they can drive a car for an hour at 50mph on a liter of WATER it makes me confused. Yeah my first reaction isn't OMG! all our problems are solved! It's much more WTF than OMG. All it says is that,

"Once the water is poured into the tank at the back of the car, the a generator breaks it down and uses it to create electrical power, TV Tokyo said."

You can break water down into Hydrogen and Oxygen and make power from those, unfortunately I recall quite vividly from my chemistry classes in high school that it takes considerably more energy to break the water down than you can get from the separated elements. Did they invent a catalyst that breaks down water? is it a total sham? I really don't know, but I won't say I'm not curious.


The Chemist said...

Hmm, interesting. I have some guesses. I'm racking my brains for potential catalysts of any kind.

Still if this really is a new invention, why stop at cars? Why not go for the big bucks of industrial power production. I'm skeptical that this isn't just some marketing gimmick.

HumanistDad said...

Always be skeptical. Here, read this article (it's also available as an mp3 file):


When you're done that, click on the 'Episode Guide' and see what else he has to say about many other things!

Finally, enjoy this documentary he produced here:


Jake Doyle said...

Indeed, high school chemistry and physics would tell you this isn't possible. And the report is so superficial; hopefully something deeper soon. But a troop of soldiers marching in unison caused such resonance as to collapse a bridge in Japan in WWII, much the way an opera singer shatters a mirror or Joshua brought down the Jericho wall with his horn. A Hungarian particle physicist was recently asked if water could be similarly "shattered" with less energy than the resulting free hydrogen could produce. "It's possible," he said.

Kilgore Trout said...

If there was a known catalyst for water then this technology would probably already exist, and on a big scale.

The resonance does sound familiar now that you mention it, I think I saw that report... maybe they are onto something.

And don't worry, I'm generally pretty skeptical. I'll check out that article, thanks!

John Morales said...

Here's a good discussion on this.
Perpetual Motion via Fuel Cell
Category: bad math > bad physics
Posted on: June 13, 2008 12:33 PM, by Mark C. Chu-Carroll