Page semi-protected

Water-fuelled car

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A water-fuelled car is an automobile that hypothetically derives its energy directly from water. Water-fuelled cars have been the subject of numerous international patents, newspaper and popular science magazine articles, local television news coverage, and websites. The claims for these devices have been found to be pseudoscience and some were found to be tied to investment frauds.[1][2][3][4] These vehicles may be claimed to produce fuel from water on board with no other energy input, or may be a hybrid claiming to derive some of its energy from water in addition to a conventional source (such as gasoline).

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. The process of electrolysis can split water into hydrogen and oxygen, but it takes as much energy to take apart a water molecule as was released when the hydrogen was oxidized to form water. In fact, some energy would be lost in converting water to hydrogen and then burning the hydrogen because some waste heat would always be produced in the conversions. Releasing chemical energy from water, in excess or in equal proportion to the energy required to facilitate such production, would therefore violate the first or second law of thermodynamics.[5][6][7][8]

What water-fuelled cars are not

A water-fuelled car is not any of the following:

  • Water injection which is a method for cooling the combustion chambers of engines by adding water to the incoming fuel-air mixture, allowing for greater compression ratios and reduced engine knocking (detonation).
  • The hydrogen car, although it often incorporates some of the same elements. To fuel a hydrogen car from water, electricity is used to generate hydrogen by electrolysis. The resulting hydrogen is an energy carrier that can power a car by reacting with oxygen from the air to create water, either through burning in a combustion engine or catalyzed to produce electricity in a fuel cell.
  • Hydrogen fuel enhancement, where a mixture of hydrogen and conventional hydrocarbon fuel is burned in an internal combustion engine, usually in an attempt to improve fuel economy or reduce emissions.

Extracting energy from water

According to the currently accepted laws of physics, there is no way to extract chemical energy from water alone. Water itself is highly stable—it was one of the classical elements and contains very strong chemical bonds. Its enthalpy of formation is negative (-68.3 kcal/mol or -285.8 kJ/mol), meaning that energy is required to break those stable bonds, to separate water into its elements, and there are no other compounds of hydrogen and oxygen with more negative enthalpies of formation, meaning that no energy can be released in this manner either.[9]

Most proposed water-fuelled cars rely on some form of electrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen and then recombine them to release energy; however, because the energy required to separate the elements will always be at least as great as the useful energy released, this cannot be used to produce net energy.[6][7]

Claims of functioning water-fuelled cars

Garrett electrolytic carburetor

Charles H. Garrett allegedly demonstrated a water-fuelled car "for several minutes", which was reported on September 8, 1935, in The Dallas Morning News.[10] The car generated hydrogen by electrolysis as can be seen by examining Garrett's patent, issued that same year.[11] This patent includes drawings which show a carburetor similar to an ordinary float-type carburetor but with electrolysis plates in the lower portion, and where the float is used to maintain the level of the water. Garrett's patent fails to identify a new source of energy.

Stanley Meyer's water fuel cell

Stanley Meyer's water fuel cell[12]

At least as far back as 1980, Stanley Meyer claimed that he had built a dune buggy that ran on water,[13] although he gave inconsistent explanations as to its mode of operation. In some cases, he claimed that he had replaced the spark plugs with a "water splitter",[14] while in other cases it was claimed to rely on a "fuel cell" that split the water into hydrogen and oxygen.[15] The "fuel cell", which he claimed was subjected to an electrical resonance, would split the water mist into hydrogen and oxygen gas, which would then be combusted back into water vapour in a conventional internal combustion engine to produce net energy. Meyer's claims were never independently verified, and in an Ohio court in 1996 he was found guilty of "gross and egregious fraud".[1] He died of an aneurysm in 1998, although conspiracy theories claim that he was poisoned.[7]

Dennis Klein

In 2002, the firm Hydrogen Technology Applications patented an electrolyser design and trademarked the term "Aquygen" to refer to the hydrogen oxygen gas mixture produced by the device.[16][17][18] Originally developed as an alternative to oxyacetylene welding, the company claimed to be able to run a vehicle exclusively on water, via the production of "Aquygen", and invoked an unproven state of matter called "magnegases" and a discredited theory about magnecules to explain their results.[19] Company founder Dennis Klein claimed to be in negotiations with a major US auto manufacturer and that the US government wanted to produce Hummers that used his technology.[20]

At present, the company no longer claims it can run a car exclusively on water, and is instead marketing "Aquygen" production as a technique to increase fuel efficiency,[21] thus making it Hydrogen fuel enhancement rather than a water-fuelled car.

Genesis World Energy (GWE)

Also in 2002, Genesis World Energy announced a market ready device which would extract energy from water by separating the hydrogen and oxygen and then recombining them.[22] In 2003, the company announced that this technology had been adapted to power automobiles.[23] The company collected over $2.5 million from investors, but none of their devices were ever brought to market. In 2006, Patrick Kelly, the owner of Genesis World Energy was sentenced in New Jersey to five years in prison for theft and ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution.[24]

Genepax Water Energy System

In June 2008, Japanese company Genepax unveiled a car it claimed ran on only water and air,[25] and many news outlets dubbed the vehicle a "water-fuel car".[26] The company said it "cannot [reveal] the core part of this invention" yet,[27] but it disclosed that the system used an onboard energy generator, which it called a "membrane electrode assembly", to extract the hydrogen using a "mechanism which is similar to the method in which hydrogen is produced by a reaction of metal hydride and water".[28] The hydrogen was then used to generate energy to run the car. This led to speculation that the metal hydride is consumed in the process and is the ultimate source of the car's energy, making it a hydride-fuelled "hydrogen on demand" vehicle rather than water-fuelled as claimed.[29][30][31] On the company's website the energy source is explained only with the words "Chemical reaction".[32] The science and technology magazine Popular Mechanics described Genepax's claims as "rubbish".[33] The vehicle Genepax demonstrated to the press in 2008 was a REVAi electric car, which was manufactured in India and sold in the UK as the G-Wiz.[citation needed]

In early 2009, Genepax announced they were closing their website, citing large development costs.[34]

Thushara Priyamal Edirisinghe

Also in 2008, Sri Lankan news sources reported that Thushara Priyamal Edirisinghe claimed to drive a water-fuelled car about 300 km (190 miles).[35] on 3 litres (5.3 imperial pints) of water.[36][37] Like other alleged water-fuelled cars described above, energy for the car was supposedly produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis, and then burning the gases in the engine. Thushara showed the technology to Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, who "extended the Government’s full support to his efforts to introduce the water-powered car to the Sri Lankan market".[36] Thushara was arrested a few months later on suspicion of investment fraud.[4]

Daniel Dingel

Daniel Dingel, a Filipino inventor, has been claiming since 1969 to have developed technology allowing water to be used as fuel. In 2000, Dingel entered into a business partnership with Formosa Plastics Group to further develop the technology. In 2008, Formosa Plastics successfully sued Dingel for fraud and Dingel, who was 82, was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.[3]

Dr Ghulam Sarwar

In December 2011, Pakistani doctor Ghulam Sarwar claimed he had invented a car that ran only on water.[38] At the time the invented car was claimed to use 60% water and 40% Diesel or fuel, but that the inventor was working to make it run on only water, probably by end of June 2012. It was further claimed the car "emits only oxygen rather than the usual carbon".[39]

Agha Waqar Ahmad

Pakistani man Agha Waqar Ahmad claimed in July 2012 to have invented a water-fuelled car by installing a "water kit" for all kind of automobiles,[40][41] which consists of a cylindrical jar that holds the water, a bubbler, and a pipe leading to the engine. He claimed the kit used electrolysis to convert water into "HHO", which is then used as fuel. The kit required use of distilled water to work.[42] Ahmed claimed he has been able to generate more oxyhydrogen than any other inventor because of "undisclosed calculations".[43] He applied for a patent in Pakistan.[43] Some Pakistani scientists said Agha's invention is a fraud that violates the laws of thermodynamics.[44]

Hydrogen as a supplement

In addition to claims of cars that run exclusively on water, there have also been claims that burning hydrogen or oxyhydrogen together with petrol or diesel increases mileage and efficiency; these claims are debated.[45] A number of websites promote the use of oxyhydrogen, also called "HHO", selling plans for do-it-yourself electrolysers or kits with the promise of large improvements in fuel efficiency. According to a spokesman for the American Automobile Association, "All of these devices look like they could probably work for you, but let me tell you they don't".[46]

Gasoline pill and related additives

Related to the water-fuelled car hoax are claims that additives, often a pill, can convert the water into usable fuel, similar to a carbide lamp, in which a high-energy additive produces the combustible fuel. These claims are all false, and often with fraudulent intent, as again water itself cannot contribute any energy to the process.

Hydrogen on demand technologies

A hydrogen on demand vehicle uses a chemical reaction to produce hydrogen from water. The hydrogen is then burned in an internal combustion engine or used in a fuel cell to generate electricity which powers the vehicle. These designs take energy from the chemical that reacts with water; vehicles of this type are not precluded by the laws of nature. Aluminium, magnesium, and sodium borohydride react with water to generate hydrogen and have been used in hydrogen on demand prototypes. Eventually, the chemical runs out and has to be replenished.[47][48][49] The energy required to produce such compounds exceeds the energy obtained from their reaction with water.[50]

One example of a hydrogen on demand device, created by scientists from the University of Minnesota and the Weizmann Institute of Science, uses boron to generate hydrogen from water. An article in New Scientist in July 2006 described the power source under the headline "A fuel tank full of water,"[50] and they quote Abu-Hamed as saying:

A vehicle powered by the device would take on water and boron instead of petrol, and generate boron trioxide. Elemental boron is difficult to prepare and does not occur naturally. Boron trioxide is an example of a borate, which is the predominant form of boron on earth. Thus, a boron-powered vehicle would require an economical method of preparing elemental boron. The chemical reactions describing the oxidation of boron are:

4B + 6H2O → 2B2O3 + 6H2 [Hydrogen Generation Step]
6H2 + 3O2 → 6H2O [Combustion step]

The balanced chemical equation representing the overall process (hydrogen generation and combustion) is:

4B + 3O2 → 2 B2O3

As shown above, boron trioxide is the only net byproduct, and it could be removed from the car and turned back into boron and reused. Electricity input is required to complete this process, which Al-Hamed suggests could come from solar panels. Although it is possible to obtain elemental boron by electrolysis, a substantial expenditure of energy is required. The process of converting borates to elemental boron and back might be compared with the analogous process involving carbon: carbon dioxide could be converted to charcoal (elemental carbon), then burnt to produce carbon dioxide.[50]

In popular culture

It is referred to in the pilot episode for the That '70s Show sitcom, as well as in the twenty-first episode of the fifth season.

"Gashole" (2010), a documentary film about the history of oil prices and the future of alternative mentions multiple stories regarding engines that use water to increase mileage efficiency.

"Like Water for Octane," an episode of The Lone Gunmen,[51] is based on a "water-powered" car that character Melvin Frohike saw with his own eyes back in 1962.[52]

The Water Engine, a David Mamet play made into a television film in 1994, tells the story of Charles Lang inventing an engine that runs using water for fuel. The plot centers on the many obstacles the inventor must overcome to patent his device.[53]

The plot of the 1996 action film Chain Reaction revolves around a technology to turn water (via a type of self-sustaining bubble fusion & electrolysis) into fuel and official suppression of it.

A water-powered car was depicted in a 1997 episode of Team Knight Rider (a spinoff of the original Knight Rider TV series) entitled "Oil and Water". In the episode, the vehicle explodes after a character sabotages it by putting seltzer tablets in the fuel tank. The car shown was actually a Bricklin SV-1.

The plot of the 2017 novel "Paradox Bound" by Peter Clines revolves around a group of time travelers, the majority of whom drive cars modified in the 2020s to use Garrett carburetors.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Edwards, Tony (December 1, 1996). "End of road for car that ran on Water". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Limited. p. Features 12. Retrieved May 16, 2007.
  2. ^ State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety press release, November 9, 2006
  3. ^ a b Lopez, Allison (December 20, 2008). "Inventor, 82, gets 20 years for 'estafa'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on December 26, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Sri Lanka – Water car story didn't hold water". Daily Mirror. UK. October 16, 2008. Archived from the original on September 4, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  5. ^ "The Truth About Water-Powered Cars: Mechanic's Diary". Popular Mechanics. July 3, 2008. Archived from the original on July 20, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Professor doubts water car claims – A leading alternative fuels expert throws water on Japanese company claims that it's developed the world's first car powered by just water. Professor Theodosios Korakianitis at Queen Mary University of London says water by itself would not be enough to get your car going. [1]
  7. ^ a b c Ball, Philip (September 14, 2007). "Burning water and other myths". Nature News. Retrieved September 14, 2007.
  8. ^ Guidelines for Use of Hydrogen Fuel in Commercial Vehicles. Final Report Archived September 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, November 2007, pp. 20-21
  9. ^ "Science Notes: Energy and Chemical Stability". Carnegie Mellon University. 2003. Archived from the original on May 4, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  10. ^ "Garrett Water Carburetor - 01/12/98". keelynet.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  11. ^ US 2006676  Electrolytic carburetor – Charles H. Garrett
  12. ^ US 4936961  Method for the production of a fuel gas – Stanley A. Meyer
  13. ^ "The car that ran on water". dispatch.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  14. ^ ""It runs on water, Part 2"". waterpoweredcar.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  15. ^ http://www.waterfuelcell.org/WFCprojects/Video/NewsReport.wmv[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Business Wire Hydrogen Technology Applications and UTEK Corporation Announce Strategic Alliance Agreement (April 2002)
  17. ^ EVWORLD FEATURE: Electric Cars and the Goldilocks Planet: Global Warming | Carbon Dioxide | Cold Fusion
  18. ^ Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News: Clearwater man puts technology to work Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) (November 2005)
  19. ^ J. M. Calo (November 3, 2006). "Comments on "A new gaseous and combustible form of water," by R.M. Santilli (Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 2006: 31(9), 1113–1128)" (PDF). International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 32 (32): 1309–1312. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2006.11.004.
  20. ^ "Goodbye Big Oil - Vive". www.vivelecanada.ca. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  21. ^ "Welcome hytechapps.com - BlueHost.com". hytechapps.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  22. ^ "Genesis World Energy - Press Room". February 2, 2003. Archived from the original on February 2, 2003. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  23. ^ "Genesis World Energy - Newsroom". June 5, 2003. Archived from the original on June 5, 2003. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  24. ^ "State of New Jersey". www.nj.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  25. ^ "New Fuel Cell System 'Generates Electricity with Only Water, Air'". Nikkei Business Publications,Inc. June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 13, 2008.
  26. ^ "Water-fuel car unveiled in Japan". Reuters. June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
  27. ^ Ghelfi, Carli (June 18, 2008). "Water-fueled car: too good to be true?". Cleantech.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  28. ^ "Japanese company creates eco-friendly car that uses water as fuel!". India Times. June 17, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
  29. ^ "Genepax Water Car: Too Good to be True? Yeah". treehugger.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  30. ^ "Japanese Company Says Laws of Physics Don't Apply – to Cars". Slashdot. June 14, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  31. ^ Rapier, Robert (June 18, 2008). "How to Run a Car on Water: The Truth About Genepax's Hydrogen Car". The Intelligence Daily. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  32. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ Allen, Mike (July 3, 2008). "The Truth About Water-Powered Cars: Mechanic's Diary". Archived from the original on July 20, 2008. Retrieved July 10, 2008.
  34. ^ "No More Embarrassment for Thomson Reuters – Genepax Water Car is Dead «  San Francisco Citizen". sfcitizen.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  35. ^ The news sources said he travelled from Pannipitiya, Thushara, to Anuradhapura and back.
  36. ^ a b Business Intelligence Middle East:The water-powered car race heats up still further
  37. ^ Dailynews Sri Lanka: In search of creativity Archived July 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ New Water Running Car Kit Launched by Dr Ghulam Sarwar Launch, The News Pakistan Archived July 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ "World's First Water Car made by Pakistani PHD Dr. Ghulam Sarwar". 9to5pakistan.com. March 10, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  40. ^ SNN Pak (July 6, 2012). "Water Car, by Agha Waqar". Retrieved April 12, 2018 – via YouTube.
  41. ^ "Govt assures support for 'water for fuel' project". Paktribune. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  42. ^ "Capital Talk". Capital Talk (in Urdu). July 30, 2012. GEO TV. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  43. ^ a b "Kyun". Kyun (in Urdu). July 17, 2012. Awaz Television Network. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  44. ^ "'Water car': Engineer sues doctor for 'trying to undermine' his invention The Express Tribune". tribune.com.pk. August 2, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  45. ^ newsreview: Hydrogen generators get a test drive in the search for fuel economy and lower emissions By Scott D.F. Reeves
  46. ^ Spring, Tom (July 28, 2008). "Gas Crisis Fuels Dubious Online Offers". PC World. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  47. ^ ""Hydrogen On Demand"". Retrieved August 13, 2008.
  48. ^ ""Millennium Cell Provides Ford With Prototype Hydrogen On Demand Fuel System for Evaluation"". Archived from the original on October 20, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
  49. ^ ""Engineuity presents a breakthrough in alternative fuel"". Retrieved August 13, 2008.
  50. ^ a b c Adam, David (July 29, 2006). "A fuel tank full of water". New Scientist: 35. Retrieved March 1, 2007. "Forget cars fuelled by alcohol and vegetable oil. Before long, you might be able to run your car with nothing more than water in its fuel tank. It would be the ultimate zero-emissions vehicle."
  51. ^ "The Lone Gunmen – Plot Summary." _IMDB_. 2007. Internet Movie Database Inc. Accessed November 18, 2007.
  52. ^ "The Lone Gunmen – Like Water for Octane (2001) – Overview – Plot Outline." _IMDB_. 2007. Internet Movie Database Inc. Accessed November 18, 2007.
  53. ^ "The Water Engine – Plot Summary for" _IMDB_. 2007. Internet Movie Database Inc. Accessed March 17, 2008.