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June 17, 2008

A Car that Runs on Water (Alchemy makes its grand return)

Category: Companies,News,Technology,Transportation – Tom Harrison – 3:51 pm

Reuters is reporting a water powered car by a company called Genepax. Almost every source I could find left it at that: you pour in some water (any kind will do) and its generator will separate hydrogen from water, then use the hydrogen to power the vehicle. Just pour in more water to make the car go further. Just like the press release says. Nothing more.

Phew — our energy problems are solved!

(Oh, except for one little thing. Pesky annoying laws of physics. It takes energy to separate the hydrogen from the water. You could put some electricity into the process, which is one way hydrogen is produced. Several chemical processes that do the same: certain metals cause a reaction. So you either need electricity or the right kind of metal to make it work. Both of these get used up, and I need know nothing more than what I learned in physics, the First Law of Thermodynamics, specifically, to know that it would take more energy to make the generator than you get back).

This is not to say that the implementation of this car is not without merit. Depending on how long the “generator” will last before it needs to be replaced, and how much energy is required to manufacture it in the first place, this may be one reasonable way to store, transport, and release energy on demand. This is the same goal of hydrogen fuel cells.

But I really think this company has made a stupid marketing decision by attempting to deceive.

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