Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Oh come on!

Clearly, this sort of thing really ticks me off.
It is all over the news and YouTube

Is there no important news in the world that we have to cover obvious nonsense such as this? Look folks, no matter what, it takes more energy to split water than you get from splitting that water. It doesnt matter what you mix into the water. I'll show some chemistries later that seem to defy this rule (but in fact do not).

Chalk this up to any of the perpetual motion machines that people have tried to fool investors with for hundreds of years.

The video shows how safe you hand is in there....really? considering your body is mostly made up of water and salts, that is hard to believe! Could there be more to it????? (duh)

This is probably not a hoax. By that I mean, I am quite fine with the idea that if you send enough energy into a conducting media (like salt water), that energy will get released. Did you notice the color of the flame? Its the same color as when you burn sodium. Remember in high school that different elements burn giving off unique spectra? (BTW, since there is a burn, any hydrogen that is released - if any- is burning also)

Not one of the articles above tell you how much energy is required to induce this reaction. Not one. Why? Because I'm willing to bet that its over 100x the amount of energy you are capable of capturing from the energy released.

Dear News Organizations,
As a request from one of your viewers, your truly, when you are reporting on possible new sources of energy, could you please ask one simple question:

How much energy does it take to make the process work?

If this amount of energy is more than the amount of energy you can get from the process (ok you can ask that too, so perhaps its two questions) could you please explain that part too? Otherwise you are wasting everyone's time. This goes for ethanol production too!

You want to use salt water as fuel in the car? What will power the RF transmitter that requires more energy than the sodium will gives? Why not use this power source directly for better energy savings?

There ARE chemicals (just one of many) that do in fact steal the oxygen directly out of the water and then release the hydrogen. These are pretty cool for specific uses. The key requirement is that water is plentiful nearby. For example, if I have a remote sensor, I could collect rain and use that water in combination with this chemical to create hydrogen (which I could burn, or use in a fuel cell). Fuel cells burn hydrogen and create water, but you would still need to keep a small tank of water to get started, but they are a possible application.

But this chemical is still not useful for cars or big applications because gasoline stores far more hydrogen per liter than water does. The energy density or hydrogen content for gasoline or deisel is far higher than water. To see that, just remember that the mixture of molecules (mostly benzene) that make up petroleum fuels have many hydrogen atoms per molecule while water has only two and they are very stable (the reason water doesnt burn and gasoline does). Then remember that aside from small differences in density among liquids, the number of molecules per liter of liquid is about the same, i.e. way more hydrogen per liter for gasoline.

Similar nonsense here.

The team calculates that a car would have to carry just 18 kilograms of boron and 45 litres of water to produce 5 kilograms of hydrogen, which has the same energy content as a 40-litre tank of conventional fuel

I see, so with well over 50 liters of the water and the new materials, plus the equipment required to generate the hydrogen, plus the safety requirements for moving hydrogen through as system I can do as well as a vehicle with a 40 liter tank of conventional fuel. Perhaps you can tell me how much energy it takes to ship and recycle the Boron?

sounds cheap, sign me up (sarcasm).

Folks, there ARE applications where hydrogen taken from water is useful, but they require abundant renewable energy resources (sun, wind and geothermal). Most often its just better to take the energy directly without the water at all. Using limited resources (coal, oil, nuclear) to crack water.... well its just stupid.


On 1/19/08, 2:24 PM , Genewitch said...

when i was 14 or so, i had read about using electrodes to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. I thought "why don't they power cars with that stuff?" But i only thought about it from an emissions perspective, never a cost to energy ratio.

I love all these old pseudo-scientists that "Discover" things that i wrote off when i was a prepubescent nerd.