Talk:Water-fuelled car

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Proposed changes to "Chemical energy content of water" section[edit]

In the spirit of making articles more concise, I propose significantly trimming this section. While correct, it strays off topic into a largely un-cited chemistry lecture, including a discussion on Fluorine reactions, which play no part in any water fuel claims I'm aware of. It says nothing at all about ordinary electrolysis, which is the basis of 90%+ of the claims. If I don't hear any strong objections, I plan to reduce the existing content to a trimmed down version of the last paragraph, and to add a sentence or two about electrolysis.Prebys (talk) 16:56, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. If you can boil it down to the fact that water is at a low energy state, is indeed the result of combustion, and requires significant energy to turn it back into high energy components, I think that will suffice. Rklawton (talk) 03:45, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I took a shot at it and also changed the title of the section. Feel free to tinker with it.Prebys (talk) 16:00, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

It is all very well arguing that though fluorine (or of course sodium or calcium) could consume water, the reaction producing energy that could drive an engine, such reactions are not relevant to the discussion, but if that argument is to be put forward, then the persons sustaining it should refrain from sloppy verbiage such as "Water is fully oxidized hydrogen. Hydrogen itself is a high-energy, flammable substance, but its useful energy is released when water is formed—water will not burn." I do not expect non-physical-chemists and non-applied-mathematicians to follow thermodynamic arguments, and I ignore their own arguments that we cannot simply demand that they accept the "laws" of thermodynamics as given, but for us smugly to invoke those laws to beg the question is no advertisement for sound science, or for one's grasp of sound science, let alone didactics. JonRichfield (talk) 19:10, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Pseudoscience isn't even mentioned here[edit]


Amazingly, the pseudoscientific nature of this subject isn't even mentioned in this article. Not a single time. How can that be? There must be RS which clearly label this as pseudoscience. We can't label it as such without RS. That would be OR.. Please find them and create such content here. Then add it to Category:Pseudoscience. When that is done, it can be restored to the List of topics characterized as pseudoscience. Until that is done, I have removed it from that list. Let's get this right. -- Brangifer (talk) 17:44, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

I looked through this article and every section that is not a description of a car describes in detail how this is impossible re: "The claims for these devices have been found to be incorrect and some were found to be tied to investment frauds", "violate the first and/or second law of thermodynamics", "there is no way to extract chemical energy from water alone", "this cannot be used to produce net energy". This article was categorized as Pseudophysics but a house keeping move in its history put it under Water-fuelled cars which is a sub-category of Perpetual motion which is a sub-category of Pseudophysics. <---that is a problem because it made its categorization a little more "squishy" re it could be called "Scientific speculation, Energy sources, Fringe physics, Hypothetical technology depending how you weasel your way through the category tree.
The article needs to be more focused. What is missing in this article is any codified claim as to how this is supposed to work, it needs that up front.
Article should go:
LEAD:Summary of claim, Summary of criticism
CLAIM section, with car descriptions sub category
....remainder of the article.
Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 01:47, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
We are agreed (our editorial opinion, which cannot substitute for RS) that Water-fuelled cars are BS and pseudoscience. I think that's abundantly clear. So why don't we have RS which explicitly use the word pseudoscience about it? We should fix that. If we don't do that, we are not allowed to place this article in Category:Pseudoscience. That would be OR and placing our editorial opinion above RS.
A few words about your other comments, which are off-topic in this thread. (1) The WP:Lead is supposed to summarize the entire article, and must not contain any content or ref/source which is not already in the body of the article. The claims and criticisms should be mentioned. (See my essay.) (2) We frown on criticism sections and try to avoid them. When possible we spread it throughout the article. Occasionally a criticism section can be justified when the other approaches are not possible or not feasible. -- Brangifer (talk) 08:13, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have changed my mind, thanks to the good arguments presented by Fountains of Bryn Mawr in a significant discussion about this matter elsewhere. That discussion is important for anyone with this article on their watchlist and should be used for future reference if necessary:

Therefore I think we can mark this thread as resolved. -- Brangifer (talk) 06:36, 30 November 2013 (UTC)


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 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'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)


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 ( 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)


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. -- (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)


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.