Talk:Water-fuelled car

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Would water be viable even if the idea works?[edit]

Even if one or more of these schemes to power vehicles with water prove viable or one will in the future, has there been any thought as to if the basic premise itself is viable; i.e., is it practical to substitute water for gasoline as a fuel? Isn’t water in short supply--at least fresh water--as it is or can the water be sea water?

If sea water could be used, it might actually be a solution to climate change concerns that sea water will rise due to global warming making such an invention invaluable to those concerned about the issue as it would kill the metaphorical two birds with one stone (greatly reducing carbon emissions while directly lowering sea levels in the process!)) I don’t know, which is why I’m asking. Perhaps these concerns might be addressed in the article by knowledgeable people. Thanks.HistoryBuff14 (talk) 20:06, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

The Extracting energy from water section seems very explicit that this whole idea is completely non-viable regardless of any practical considerations such as material supply. DMacks (talk) 20:14, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but why even the quest if the proposed fuel is not available in marketable quantities? I sure hope that governments wouldn’t allow millions of people worldwide to die of thirst so others can power their cars.HistoryBuff14 (talk) 20:37, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Not all of these nonsense ideas claim to require fresh water. A possible lack of available fresh water isn't what makes this a ridiculous waste of time and money:) But to play devil's-advocate, the product of burning the HHO or whatever is exactly as much water as was originally supplied, so one could just re-capture it and not really "use it up". After the first fill-up, only have to keep supplying additional small amounts to overcome evaporation or leaks, not on an on-going basis. But to play even more, just put this car on a treadmill to generate electricity that drives a desalination plant, so not only does it power its own fuel extraction, it also provides electricity and/or drinking water for the a community. DMacks (talk) 20:53, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
I’m uncertain if you’re speaking tongue-in-cheek, but, ah, if only it worked! It almost sounds close to the fabled perpetual motion machines that even rip-off “market your invention” outfits won’t touch! Thanks!HistoryBuff14 (talk) 21:14, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
I am being completely serious, taking at face value the claim of the devices themselves. I think you are starting to recognize the plausibility of the idea regardless of practical details. In point of fact, a water-fueled care would exactly be a perpetual motion machine. DMacks (talk) 22:53, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
@HistoryBuff14: your question is akin to, "I know unicorns do not exist, but if they did would it be possible to domesticate them?" Attempting to respond with a hypothetical answer requires too many assumptions to be meaningful. VQuakr (talk) 21:08, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn’t say that. The fact that so many have tried to invent this and have invested so much time and money in it implies that they think success would be valuable just like success inventing a perpetual motion machine would be. My question was simply: “Why do they assume it would have value?”HistoryBuff14 (talk) 21:19, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Most of the idiots who make this claim use similar miles-per-gallon numbers for their water to what a gasoline car gets. The world isn't lacking in water - there is 1,350,000,000,000,000,000 tonnes of the stuff in the oceans alone. We have less than one trillionth of that in oil reserves. If we could magically get free energy from water (which we most certainly CANNOT!) we could use it to convert sea water into "fuel" for our cars...no problem.
But this misses the point (as do 100% of water-fuelled-car nuts). If you had a machine to extract energy from water - you won't only use it to power cars. You'd use it for making electricity and a bazillion other things. But even that misses the point. A water fuelled car would be a perpetual motion machine - and a discovery of one of those would overturn the laws of thermodynamics. With a way to bypass the laws of thermodynamics, we'd have no problem finding yet easier ways to make energy for ourselves. The whole idea that this is about cars is crazy...it's not even about water. If some crackpot claims to have found a way to bypass the laws of thermodynamics - then making a car that uses no net energy and consumes no fuel at all should be a breeze. SteveBaker (talk) 18:38, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
To clarify StevenBaker's point a bit, the vast majority of the "Energy from Water" schemes involve splitting water into Hydrogen and Oxygen through "magically efficient electrolysis", then burning them, which again makes water. As many have pointed out, that makes it a perpetual motion machine, but it also means you'd never run out of water because it could be run in a completely closed loop (OK, maybe the recapture wouldn't be perfect and you'd have to add a teaspoon once in a while, but you get the idea). Again, though, I want to make it 100% clear that this is a 100% hypothetical comment about 100% bogus claims. Your comments are, however, valid about other free energy schemes. For example, there was a lot of excitement about "Hafnium reactors" (see Hafnium controversy) a few years ago. It turned out to be nonsense, but even if it hadn't been, Hafnium is crazy rare and expensive, so it would never have been a practical power source anyway.KaturianKaturian 16:12, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes but...![edit]

I know, I know, but the wording in places makes me uncomfortable. For a start, you can't run a car on petrol or methane alone, nor in fact hydrogen (not counting by compressing it and letting it run a turbine etc.) Those are things that generally are used as component fuels, used in a mix with complementary fuels such as oxygen. So why pick unfairly on water? One could in principle use water in suitable mix. A car of suitable design could run on a mix of water and fluorine or an active metal. Or water and carbon at high temperature. Or on very, very hot water etc. Or even water that creates a vacuum by evaporating through a semipermeable membrane or imbibition into a hygroscopic substance. Yes, I realise that such designs have little commercial attraction, but it might be worth rewording the article to put things into a more puristic perspective. If no one else feels like doing it, I wouldn't mind having a go. JonRichfield (talk) 17:59, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

It all boils down to the definition of the word "fuel". Wiktionary defines fuel as "Substance consumed to provide energy through combustion, or through chemical or nuclear reaction."
In the case of running a vehicle on hot water (like maybe a steam engine or a sterling engine), the water isn't chemically changed in the process - it's not "consumed" - so we call it a "working fluid" because the energy comes from elsewhere. So (to pick a silly example) a car powered by a little waterwheel that's fed from a tank of water on the roof is gravity powered not water powered. The water is merely an intermediary way to make gravity drive the wheels. It would be like calling my car a "steel powered car" because a rotating steel shaft carries power from the engine to drive the wheels.
In the case of a gasoline + oxygen reaction, we choose arbitrarily to call the gasoline the "fuel" - and that's because the energy is in the gasoline molecule. If you ran an engine on a chemical reaction between (say) sodium metal and water - you'd still say that the sodium was the fuel, not the water - although the distinction is a bit fuzzier.
Regardless of that, we don't have any claims for a "water fuelled car" in which the water reacts with some other chemical - so this is something of a moot point. However, if someone is ever crazy enough to create as sodium-metal-fuelled car - and they try to call it a "water fuelled car" - then we'll be sure to write about it. But trying to make this distinction right now simply blurs the lines.
The message of this article has to be that water fuelled cars (in the conventional meanings of "water", "fuel" and "car") is impossible - which is true. Muddying it with unimportant distinctions to cover entirely hypothetical cases isn't productive for an encyclopedia article. SteveBaker (talk) 18:19, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
OK, no big deal of course. I guess we can wait till someone makes an issue of it. JonRichfield (talk) 14:01, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Something this article lacks.[edit]

Why is it that whenever some wannabe inventor comes up with a supposed source of free energy, they immediately and unfailingly rush to claim that you can power a car with it? You'd think that getting the patent done and a demonstration machine that runs (for example) a generator to make electicity - or just spins a wheel on a bench-top demonstration would be vastly easier than getting it all to work in the confines of a car. Yet almost always this is the claim that's made.

I feel that there is some deeper truth to be understood from the phenomenon of water-fuelled cars - and that this article should somehow address it.

Trouble is that I can't imagine how to find references for this. It's clearly true...but that's not enough to allow us to write about it.

Any ideas? SteveBaker (talk) 15:11, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Every eejit owns a car. Many of them have changed spark plugs. Few eejits have been inside a power station, or have spun up a gas turbine. Therefore when they invent something / unmask the gas company conspiracy against gyroscopic water fuel, it's the familiar car in which they visualise it. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:26, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
I never really thought about this Steve. Andy has a point. But you know, the guys who do come up with such stuff tend not to be the most analytic of intellects and for them what matters is to see it in its final, concrete form. A benchtop toy/model doesn't blow up their skirts in the same way. Don't sneer; I read somewhere that when the inventor of computer tomography first demonstrated a model using i.a. a turntable and a cubic subject to a Physics Society for gosh sakes, one of the members present blew up and screamed at him for wasting their time on a toy! The eejits are everywhere in all guises, even as physicists! Get used to it! :) JonRichfield (talk) 19:26, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
The difference is: tomography works. Andy Dingley (talk) 23:25, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
This is true Andy, but my point was that I was shocked that a member of a physics society could react that way to a working demonstration of a creative principle, whether of tomography or anything else. I like to think that I slowly am becoming less shockable, but now and then I have to re-think... :) JonRichfield (talk) 05:14, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
I always wonder about how much those sorts of low-detail anecdotes grow in the telling. Things like "member of a physics society" are so delightfully vague, and imply a level of shadowy intrigue that just doesn't exist. I mean, the American Physical Society has something like 50,000 members; becoming a member – as near as I can tell – requires only filling out a form and sending the APS a cheque.
Was there really screaming and blowing up, or is that just dramatic license? The word "toy", as well, may not be as objectionable as it looks. Physics regularly uses terms like toy model and toy problem to describe simplified or illustrative systems. I can also imagine some frustration on the part of someone seeing a presentation of this device at a scientific meeting—"Okay, so you can calculate some resolution numbers and so forth using your test object. But why didn't you show us a single complex, real object? A human skull? A dead hamster? A weld joint with a bubble in it? Something that might so much as hint at a real-world application?"
And, of course, there's the ratio of false negatives to false positives to consider. "My new imaging modality will revolutionize medicine—look, it works on aluminum cubes!" is something the medical physicist probably hears as often as the biologist hears "My new drug will revolutionize cancer therapy—look, it kills HeLa cells!" TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:55, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Having read this as an at least second-hand remark from a source that I never documented, at least a decade ago, I refuse to speculate on its accuracy and context. The point that had struck me, even as the moral of a putative fable, is the tendency of many people, expert, inpert, or simply pretentious, to shout down or belittle anyone trying to introduce ideas or objects new or unfamiliar, or to lose their cool as soon as they are confronted with anything intellectually unfamiliar in their personal comfort zone. This applies both to people who are superficial exponents in established fields that they never could have advanced from scratch themselves, and to fringe followers who get challenged by facts and logic from someone who doesn't fall for their fluff because s/he really understands the field. If the demo had failed for an Al cube, that would have been failure indeed, either for the theory or the workmanship, but having worked for the cube, the presentation fundamentally deserved at least evaluation in principle, though not necessarily an immediate scramble for shares in a company. If the story is close enough to historical truth, the objector cannot possibly have understood the introductory talk or the significance of the demonstration. JonRichfield (talk) 07:17, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
This is a good question. I argued some time ago to move this article to "Energy from water", which is really the more fundamental issue (if you could really get energy from water, you would do plenty of other things besides run cars). However, as you say, they almost always start out by running a car. The very few cases that don't have been listed under History of perpetual motion machines - which is arguably where this whole topic belongs, anyway. KaturianKaturian 19:45, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Hasn't the Navy, in fact, already successfully prototyped a method of creating fuel from sea water? (http://rt.com/usa/navy-fuel-conversion-ship-197/)? Sea water contains carbon, making this possible. 97% of the world's water is sea water. Could the article perhaps be clarified to state that we are referring only to the 3% of water that is fresh water?

70.174.135.194 (talk) 21:03, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

The sea water article is extremely misleading. The process uses energy (probably from an onboard nuclear power plant) to produce hydrocarbons from seawater that could potentially be used as fuel in planes and such. It might be a useful technology, but it's not a source of energy. You cannot produce energy from fresh water or sea water. KaturianKaturian 17:57, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
In fact, you can't produce energy from fresh water, sea water, or anything else, only change its state (1st Law of Thermodynamics), correct? There's a picture of the machine they're using here: http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2014/scale-model-wwii-craft-takes-flight-with-fuel-from-the-sea-concept It doesn't appear to rely on nuclear power. But your point, which I take, is that they have a machine which uses energy to make fuel from seawater, as opposed to having the ship run on seawater itself. So it's not a sea water-fuelled ship. But it's a ship that uses fuel that was derived from seawater. Right? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.174.135.194 (talk) 16:49, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
OK, you see that big cable connected to the machine at the lower left? That's called an "electrical power cable". *That* supplies the energy needed to extract fuel from seawater. On a carrier at sea, that electricity will be coming from the onboard nuclear power plant (it wouldn't make *any* sense otherwise). The point is that you have to put in more energy than you'll get out, so this is not "using seawater as fuel", any more than separating water into Hydrogen and Oxygen and then burning them is "using water as fuel", because - again - you're putting in more energy than you're getting out.KaturianKaturian 16:07, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
It's also worth mentioning that "Sea Water" isn't just water. You could certainly (for example) filter plankton and other small plants and animals out of the sea water and use that as a fuel (after all, that's how some whales get their energy). That's very different from saying that they are extracting energy from H2O. You can also extract heavy water from the sea and use that as a fuel. There are many possibilities for what the Navy are doing that would genuinely entail extracting the energy from the ocean. However, it seems unlikely that this is what they are doing here. Almost certainly they are ADDING energy to the sea water and using the resulting chemical products to insert into some kind of chemical reaction that results in the production of a useful fuel. The most obvious and simple way would be to simply electrolyze the water and use the resulting hydrogen gas as a fuel. However, since they have lots of equipment that currently runs on hydrocarbon fuels - which may or may not (probably not) be convertible to run on hydrogen - you could see the attraction of making (say) methane or something by reacting various components from the seawater together.
But it's not "Energy From Water!!!" - it's "Using electrical energy to drive chemical reactions that produce useful products using all of the 'stuff' in sea-water as the feedstock"...which is a less exciting headline - but is for sure what's really going on here. 16:31, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
We can do a very rough number-crunch to get some idea of the feasibility of this. The article says that they take dissolved CO2 from the ocean - and combine that with water to make hydrocarbons. There are about 4x1019 grams of dissolved carbon in the world's oceans and 1.3x1024 grams of water. So carbon is present at about one part per 30,000 (by mass) in seawater. Since hydrocarbons are mostly carbon (by mass) - that probably means that you'd need to process about 30,000 gallons of seawater to make one gallon of fuel. The article claims that this process will result in fuel costing between $3 and $6 per gallon. I guess if your electricity is free (onboard nuclear reactor) and you have a considerable excess of it - then maybe this is possible...but the idea of processing 50 tons of seawater to make one gallon of fuel suggests that it's unlikely to be able to create fuel fast enough to satisfy the needs of a ship at sea. I think it's a stupid idea! SteveBaker (talk) 16:50, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Another case of the press not even asking the most basic scientific questions. I remember a news item a few years ago when they made a big deal out a a guy who could make saltwater burst into flames - by dumping *massive* amounts of RF power into it. The newscaster showed a picture of the flaming saltwater sitting between two large antennas with enormous feeder cables clearly visible, and said something about "energy from seawater". Argggghhhh! Any reporter who's going to be covering science should at the very least understand the concept of conservation of energy - or at least know to ask someone else about it.KaturianKaturian 17:02, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
You're probably thinking of either Rustum Roy or John Kanzius. Roy was a reasonably respectable scientist until he retired and started to go off into crazy-idea-land. He was an active proponent of Homeopathy (and when it was decried in a national newspaper, he accused them of "homeophobia"! ...um...yeah). Kanzius was a 'self taught' inventor, etc...he used high powered radio waves to split water into brown's gas (hydrogen + oxygen) which was then burned. Using salt water makes that easier - and the sodium makes for impressively pretty flames. He claimed everything from cancer cures to free energy for this device...but as you say, the amount of power that went into the radio transmitter was considerable. SteveBaker (talk) 18:56, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
It was Kanzius. The story was really about his "cancer cure". Discovering a "new source of energy" was just a unexpected side benefit. His idea was to use RF to dump heat into gold or Carbon nanotubes. "All he had to do" was get those things to bind to cancer cells - which he described as if it were some sort of minor detail. The reporter, of course, accepted it all without asking a single decent question. I was ready to throw a plate at the TV by the end of the segment.KaturianKaturian 23:10, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Move?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Armbrust The Homunculus 10:42, 8 July 2014 (UTC)


Someone put this message in my user talk page:

Regarding Water-Fuelled: According to this usage (http://grammarist.com/spelling/fuel/) and if most of the 'water-fueled' engines are American or of American origin, I would suggest using one 'l' in fueled instead of two. Fuelled looks strange and not how most Americans would spell it; I believe most Web usage is with one 'l'. Peace. Bwisok (talk) 15:03, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

- Anthony Appleyard (talk) 04:51, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Comment lacking two "ll" is wrong to me. And on the article, it lists a Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Filipino, in addition to Americans. All in all, this would be a WP:ENGVAR issue, which MOS:TIES is more significant? The original version of the article [1] used British English. -- 65.94.171.126 (talk) 06:50, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Globally relevant article with plenty of countries putting money into this technology so I don't believe MOS:TIES applies. Per ENGVAR we should stick with the style of English used in the first non-stub version and in this case that's British English. Jenks24 (talk) 16:05, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are charlatans and gullible idiots in all English-speaking countries, not just the U.S. Have we really nothing better to do? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:57, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Any additional comments:

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.