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Japanese Company Says Laws of Physics Don't Apply — to Cars 736

Posted by timothy
from the transparent-hucksterism-meets-subtitles dept.
Fantastic Lad, among many others, points out another in a long series of claimed "powered by water" cars, this one by a Japanese company called "Genepax," which interestingly enough does not have so much as a Wikipedia entry. What's scary is the uncritical, even serious-sounding, presentation by Reuters of such extraordinary claims quite unbacked by extraordinary evidence. "Almost sounds too good to be true" isn't the half of it; if cars could be made which would run as "long as you have a bottle of water inside" to pour into the fuel tank ("even tea," repeats this report), not only would you know about the car, but you'd notice the long lines of people buying generators, laptops, and power tools that run on the same technology. The snippet Reuters is carrying says "Jun. 13 — Japanese company Genepax presents its eco-friendly car that runs on nothing but water. The car has an energy generator that extracts hydrogen from water that is poured into the car's tank. The generator then releases electrons that produce electric power to run the car. Genepax, the company that invented the technology, aims to collaborate with Japanese manufacturers to mass produce it." Fantastic Lad, deadpan, goes on: "Check out the Reuter's story and accompanying video. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there some sort of conservation of energy thing happening in the whole 'separating hydrogen from water' game? I wonder what the real story is on this. Investment fraud? Magic?" Show your work; bonus points if you use Haiku.
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Japanese Company Says Laws of Physics Don't Apply — to Cars

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  • Screw water (Score:5, Funny)

    by ijakings (982830) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:47PM (#23792701)
    I want my Mr fusion and I want it now!
    • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:54PM (#23792759) Journal
      Actually when I first got into extreme overclocking for gaming back in the Athlon Slot A and Celeron A days, I remember that we were told that peltiers were the way to go and were only going to move as much heat as they consumed power. Someone even derided an article I wrote mentioning that small Airconditioner was the way to go for extreme cooling. When companies such as Asetek picked it up and made their VapoChill case, the "all knowing" geeks screamed that it was against all the laws of conservation of energy if a 10-50 watt AC unit could move 200 watts of heat... it was 'unpossible' they screamed.

      Strangely, having built and designed air conditioning units for some time, and having done a LOT of installations, I have a few ideas on how the laws of physics can be exploited to use LESS energy to accomplish a job that normally requires MORE energy. Air Conditioning is only one of the visible uses of compression and decompression as well as radiation of heat in order to transfer heat for a much smaller energy cost than the standard peltier technology once used for "extreme cooling" in computers.

      Refrigeration technology is OLD and works admirably well. Until I see a proof and more than just a "not possible" debunking, I will remain skeptical of the claim and of its eager debunkers. Just my 10 cents.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The problem with your example is that the actual work required to move 200 watts of heat is less than 200w.

        When it comes to actually producing energy, or moving a car etc this situation will never occur.
      • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:13PM (#23792929) Homepage
        The laws of physics apply to air conditioning too; basically they say that you have to reject heat somewhere, and the amount of heat you reject has to be more than the amount of heat that you move (that is, you can't use the rejected heat to run an engine to power the airconditioner).

        You can use less energy to accomplish a job, but you can't use no energy. That's what these cars (apparently) seem to claim-- they are running on NO energy-- they (use energy to) split the water into hydrogen and oxyen, then burn the hydrogen and oxygen to get the energy to split the water, and have extra energy left over. This is not "refrigeration technology"-- this is magic.

        With that said, let me say that I wrote "apparently" in the previous paragraph, because I haven't actually seen the Japanese text, only the news articles, and I know that news articles often miss a key point, or two-- for all I know this may actually be a perfectly functional car, and the reporter screwed up the article. It could be a fuel-cell car, for example, powered off the grid (which could be said to "run on water", although not in a perpetual-motion closed cycle.)

        • But your logic I think is flawed. Hypothetically, they would use some process to start it, and then feed back in as it goes. Any typical car acts at a high level the same. To start extracting energy from gasoline, an electric motor starts the work, and then the fuel is consumed, mostly gone to heat, some used to move the car, and some reclaimed to recharge the battery.

          In this case, it's describing sort of 'mining' hydrogen from the water. So it's not claiming a closed system is self sustaining, but that
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Frnknstn (663642)

            Hypothetically, they would use some process to start it, and then feed back in as it goes.

            but that they burn hydrogen somehow in a way that yields more energy than goes into extracting it from the most stable source of it, water.

            So it's not claiming a closed system is self sustaining

            The first and second quotes are in direct contradiction of the third. Let's go over the basic equation that this car reportedly uses:

            Water = H2O
            Oxygen = O2
            Hydrogen = H

            2 x H2O --(magic)--> 4 x H + O2
            (4 x H) + O2 --(combustion)--> 2 x H20 + excess energy

            Can you not see how this is an impossible self-contained system? You can't convert water to its component gasses and back, and expect to make an energy profit.

            • by osu-neko (2604) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @03:32PM (#23793689)

              Can you not see how this is an impossible self-contained system? You can't convert water to its component gasses and back, and expect to make an energy profit.

              Everyone can see that. Can you not see that the person you're replying to insisted that this isn't a closed system?

              It's a poorly explained system. It's probably something like this [isa.org]. In any case, a system like this is perfectly workable and does not violate any physical laws. The process to create the hydrogen uses less electricity than the process of burning it. That's not magic, that's chemistry. Eventually, you pay for it when you recycle the aluminum in the linked case. Not sure how it works in the Genepax system, but doubtless it's something similar.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by irtza (893217)
              well, it is quite possible that the press release is a bit over dramatic and it is not an "only on water" style design what if it is powered at home through an electric powered catalyst that works as so: 2H2O + energy --catalysed reaction--> 2H2 + O2 now the H2 is stored and in the car you go 2H2 + O2 --> 2H2O + energy if they can find a good catalyst that brings the cost of the first reaction down, then this isn't such a poor deal after all. it in essence provides a way to store electrical ener
            • by flyingsquid (813711) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @04:36PM (#23794217)
              Can you not see how this is an impossible self-contained system? You can't convert water to its component gasses and back, and expect to make an energy profit.

              Hello? Did you even watch the video? It's pretty impossible to argue with what the video shows.

              The video clearly shows a little, blue car with the words "Water Energy System" in small, green letters. What's more, the car has the words "H2O POWER", in big, white capital letters, written on it. "H20 POWER" is written on the front, the back, AND even the sides, in ALL CAPS so it's impossible to miss that this car uses H20 POWER. If it's NOT powered by water, then how come it says "H2O POWER" all over the car, Mr. Smarty Pants?

              If that wasn't enough to silence the skeptics that the car uses H2O POWER, the video features a guy in a suit talking about the car. The fact that the guy talking is wearing a SUIT clearly shows that these guys are professionals, because professional people wear suits. Now, I can't tell what he's saying, because it's in Japanese. But that's not important. The fact that he is saying it in JAPANESE is the important thing. Because that PROVES that he is Japanese! And everyone knows that Japanese people are very, very smart. To top it all off, the video is narrated by a woman with a sophisticated-sounding British accent. The same kind of sophisticated British accent you will hear on the BBC, one of the world's most reliable news organizations. You can't argue with information that is presented with a sophisticated sounding foreign accent.

          • by Dun Malg (230075) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @03:16PM (#23793523) Homepage

            But your logic I think is flawed. Hypothetically, they would use some process to start it, and then feed back in as it goes. In this case, it's describing sort of 'mining' hydrogen from the water. So it's not claiming a closed system is self sustaining, but that they burn hydrogen somehow in a way that yields more energy than goes into extracting it from the most stable source of it, water.
            No, your logic is flawed. That is a closed system (i.e. energy out with no energy in). You cannot get more energy out of combining 2 H2 and 1 O2 than you would need to split apart 2 H2O. There are no tricks, no catalysts, no magic beans that will make it possible. It just can't fucking be done! Really, this is basic chemistry. It's no different than physics with regard to perpetual motion. You can't get more than 1 Joule of work out of 1 Joule of work!
        • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:41PM (#23793207)
          Yes, it is a fuel-cell [fuelcelltoday.com]. Here's an article [nikkeibp.co.jp] some pictures as well.
          • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Interesting)

            by RickRussellTX (755670) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @06:56PM (#23795233)

            The article makes it pretty clear (emphasis mine):

            ... According to Genepax, the main feature of the new system is that it uses the company's membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.


            Their fuel cell has a chemical in it which is consumed when it splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. Eventually, that chemical will be consumed and need to be replaced. That's where the energy comes from. The guy in the suit is just lying about the external inputs to a credulous reporter.



            • by udippel (562132) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @10:36PM (#23796775)
              The guy in the suit looks very smart. He is a smart guy.
              The credulous reporter is from the leading global news organisation, Reuters. She is a smart girl.

              Smart guy meets smart girl, and both produce a smart story.

              Whom shall I believe, smart guy and positive story on Reuters, done by a smart reporter; or some geek on 'News for nerds, stuff that matters'? Do you even own a suit?

              Temptations, temptations ...
        • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Insightful)

          by osu-neko (2604) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:59PM (#23793377)

          Yes, we all know the laws of physics apply to air conditioning. What GP was pointing out is that geeks like to "debunk" claims by claiming something violates the laws of physics when it fact it does not, they simply don't understand what's occuring.

          There's not enough information in the Reuters article to validate or debunk the operation of this car. Therefore, a large number of geeks have made a large number of assumptions about what hasn't been said, then "proven" it impossible by showing it doesn't work under the set of assumptions they made. In short, they've proven nothing.

        • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Informative)

          by Eil (82413) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @03:18PM (#23793545) Homepage Journal
          No, you're absolutely right. Every few months someone comes out with this "running cars on water" thing, and every time it's the same technology. Notice the following quote in the article:

          "The car has an energy generator that extracts hydrogen from water that is poured into the car's tank."

          This device isn't an energy generator at all, it's a device which requires electricity in order to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen. (I think this is called hydrolysis?) The end result is that you end up expending more energy trying to get at the hydrogen than you get back from burning it. The stories about "water cars" in the popular media always gloss over this little detail.

          So yes, it's perfectly possible to make a car that uses water as fuel, but the chemical reactions required to make it work require a lot of electricity which presently is neither cheap nor clean.
          • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @04:12PM (#23794007) Journal
            An idea that i'd like to present is that, for the most part, even the oil system we have today, depends on burning more resources than it pulls out, but the costs are largely hidden from the consumer. The "energy" industry of today is largely the same thing. This shit we're burning today had to come from somewhere. Call it resources, call it a zit in the earth or magic beans, but the question is... how much energy is burned up moving this stuff around, refining it, marketing it, selling it, etc. I bet if you did the math like some have, you'd notice that liquid fuel extraction (petroleum based) you'd discover that a lot of it is wasted merely to further extract MORE of it. All in all, its a losing game either way. Perhaps less energy should be wasted debunking things based only on mere assumptions, and actually figuring something new out.

            For a bunch of "geeks" and "science nerds" I'm seeing a lot of bullshit and very little science. If you don't have solutions, why don't you get together with someone who can think and come up with a few? Can't hurt, seeing as to how science has been reduced to verifying predominant dogmas and outright rejecting any other possibilities.

            Strangely, if your dogmas were to be followed, quantum mechanics would've been an outright pipe dream. Strangely, as far as our current means go, this stuff has proven pretty eye opening, if nothing else.

            Question to ask is: if we've been hoodwinked into believing so much other shit before, even by our teachers, from the world being flat, to flies manifesting on rotten meat, to the various other propagandas of our age... what else have we been lied to or mislead about? Instead of immediately debunking things based on preaching, perhaps a second look at "HOW" something might be done, would be eye opening, would it not? Almost like the arguments that free markets don't work, when a truly free market has rarely existed because governments have been quick to destroy them, lest people gain some measure of autonomy through exchanges of value based on consent, rather than lies, misinformation and government coercion and controls.

            Try figuring out how it COULD be done, rather than bitching about something we all were taught in high school. By the way, I still remember my mathematics professor telling me that that there were no numbers other than positive and negative. Guess her education was weaker than mine and when I asked her about the posible results of radicals from negative roots, she turned pale white, having a kid explain to her how that stuff should work in front of her class. Yeah, that kind of shit is what makes me not believe that teachers, professors and doctors know it all. Most only know what they've been TOLD to know, and believe only what they've been TOLD to believe.

            A guy that went by Teilhard de Chardin, long ago, said something to the effect of "in the cosmos, only the fantastic has a chance of being real."

            Given that everything we once took to be science fiction or "tools of the devil" are now things we take for granted every day, perhaps the idea that energy is easier to extract than we've been taught by our establishment, may well not be as "unpossible" as we've been taught to believe. Frankly, I've seen entirely too many things in my life to think that its all as simple and cut and dry as school would have us believe.

            That is why I simply said, if I see a working sample, or if I am asked to witness such a thing, I will gladly maintain an open mind. Why? I've seen too much weird shit in my life, survived lots of weird shit, and delved in places where I was told not to.
            • Re:Screw water (Score:4, Insightful)

              by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@ w u m pus-cave.net> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:08PM (#23794417)

              If oil doesn't give us a net energy surplus after taking into account drilling and transportation, then where is the energy coming from that makes up the loss? Further, if this energy source exists, why wouldn't we be using it to power our cars instead of wasting time with oil?

            • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Wavebreak (1256876) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:42PM (#23794695)
              Just because you're eloquent doesn't mean you aren't a fucking crackpot.
      • Re:Screw water (Score:5, Informative)

        by magisterx (865326) <TimothyAWiseman.gmail@com> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:59PM (#23793379)
        http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/ [scienceblogs.com] has an excellent write up of why this is not possible in the way it should work according to the description.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by badasscat (563442)
      I'm no expert and I don't know if this helps any, but there definitely is more info out there on how this supposedly works. It's not some big mystery. Maybe some of you guys can deconstruct whether or not this is possible from the info at this link: http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20080613/153276/ [nikkeibp.co.jp]

      It is basically a water-based fuel cell, and it's supposedly using technology that already exists - it's just able to produce energy for a longer time than current fuel cells.

      It doesn't seem like "f
    • by wsanders (114993) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:35PM (#23793173) Homepage
      Mr Fusion Car
        Running on Water
      Everybody make money!
  • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:47PM (#23792707)
    Mine runs on hot air!

    Just put Cowboy Neal at the exhaust!

    booo hyuck. Ill be here all day.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:50PM (#23792719)
    Whats the problem? My windshield wipers have been running on water for years.
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:50PM (#23792721) Homepage
    I used to use about a gallon of water per tank of petrol to get 40mpg out of my '82 Volvo 340, with the engine running quieter and more smoothly, and better low-end torque. Water is great, you've just got to put in the engine the right way. If modern cars used water injection, they wouldn't need catalytic converters.
    • by jamie (78724) * Works for Slashdot <jamie@slashdot.org> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:58PM (#23792809) Journal
      Also, if you pour dirt into the radiator, it cleans your hoses with the power of mud.
    • by D. Taylor (53947) * on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:12PM (#23792921) Homepage
      What idiot modded the parent a troll? Check wikipedia if you don't believe water injection can help car performance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_injection_(engines) [wikipedia.org]
    • I used to use about a gallon of water per tank of petrol to get 40mpg out of my '82 Volvo 340

      I did the same to my '73 Dodge Dart with the 318 V8. I stuck a hypodermic needle in the distributor vacuum advance hose, it took a while to get the exact size of needle, a pharmacist friend gave me the needles.

      The V8 was already smooth and quiet, and had torque enough, but I got significantly better mileage, something like a 30%~40% increase.

      Now, if moderators did some research [hackaday.com] first...

    • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:29PM (#23793107)
      So if it works so great, why arent you still doing it. I have to remain skeptical of fantastic claims like this as well. If this is so, and you can boost up mileage just by adding water to gas, why isnt everyone doing it? It would be a no brainer. Its like all of these miracalous technologies that by retrofitting your car with some device that generates hydrogen from electrolysis and injects it into the fuel, you are supposed to get 80 mpg or some ridiculous thing. You have people selling do it yourself kits for this. if the inventors really did have this, they could make a load of money to sell licences to car manufacturers. They would be billionaries. SO why dont they? Because its not real, its a scam, and any car manufacturer or engine manufacturer would find that out. The reason they only use kits is they cant be held liable when it doesnt work, they can just say the user didnt do something right. They are of course, all get rich quick scams, taking advantage of peoples gullability.
      • by shiftless (410350) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @03:40PM (#23793751) Homepage
        So if it works so great, why arent you still doing it. I have to remain skeptical of fantastic claims like this as well. If this is so, and you can boost up mileage just by adding water to gas, why isnt everyone doing it?

        It's not "adding water to gas." It's called water injection, and it was first used on fighter planes in WWII to improve performance and operating ceiling. Racers have been using it for decades to improve engine performance and economy. It is especially popular with those who used forced induction (i.e. turbo or supercharger) as the water significantly inhibits detonation ("pinging.")

        As a matter of fact, water injection was offered by Oldsmobile as an option on their turbocharged Jetfire cars in the 60s. It was discontinued because people didn't like the additional chore of having to fill up the water reservoir.
      • by caseih (160668) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @04:25PM (#23794129)
        Water injection isn't a scam at all. It's not a panacea either. You can probably get better mileage by driving less aggressively. But it definitely *does* increase efficiency, in some cars (older ones that are already very inefficient by modern standards) quite a bit.

        Water injection isn't about putting water in the gas. It's about injecting water into the combustion chamber which regulates and slows the burning. Also the expanding steam helps extract just a bit more mechanical energy out of the heat from the combustion. I'd say the reason it's not mainstream is because we've already improved efficiencies a lot using other, easier methods. Modern engines are already doing other things to regulate combustion (fuel injection and fuel stratification, multiple ignitions per cycle, etc) that the benefit just doesn't make it worth their while. Consider that modern IC engines with the improvements I've mentioned are much more efficient and powerful than ever before. However our cars are heavier now, offsetting a lot of those gains. If we'd stick our modern engines and transmissions in the cars (hopefully not as ugly!) of the 70s, 50 MPG would be routine on highways. Anyway now that the low-hanging fruit has largely been picked, what we have left are more complicated things like water injection to try out. One problem water injection always had, besides the complication of pumping and injecting, was rust.

        But don't discount it completely! You're right to suspect any dramatic claims. I'm thinking 10-20% improvement is all any one technology could possibly bring. But don't forget that at less than 18% mechanical efficiency from an IC engine, there's *lots* of room for improvement. Lots of efficiency improvement is somehow still possible. Obviously claiming to surpass 100% efficiency is BS!

        One exciting thing being tried right now on big diesel engines is hydrogen injection. It's looking like it improves efficiency quite a bit (as much as 10%) while reducing emissions dramatically, which more than covers the energy needed to split water to get it on the fly. A 5-10% improvement in fuel economy on a truck is huge. Can equal savings of thousands of gallons of fuel a year. Of course the proponents of this technology note that efficiency improvements are much less on modern engines that already control combustion much better than they used to. But there still are some benifits (at least a few percent!) as well as major decreases in particulate and NOx emissions.
  • haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:50PM (#23792727)

    water runs your car
    rain, tea, and cool gentle mists
    maybe piss does too
  • uunnngh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:52PM (#23792737) Homepage Journal
    Profane Muthafucka
    Would purchase a water car
    And fuel it with sperm.
  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:54PM (#23792751)
    Garden hose pressure
    Spins turbine blades to release
    BS upon world
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:55PM (#23792763)
    we obay the laws of Thermodynamics
  • Sounds like... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quebec (35169) * on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:55PM (#23792765) Homepage
    like a weird hoax to make gas price go down a little, it may work this way.
  • Summer (Score:5, Funny)

    by Robaato (958471) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:55PM (#23792773)
    Rainy season comes
    bringing with it a fresh crop
    of nutball scammers
  • by RatPh!nk (216977) <ratpH1nk&gMail,com> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:57PM (#23792791)

    car runs on water

    being fooled is never fun

    want to buy a bridge?

  • by introspekt.i (1233118) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:57PM (#23792793)
    Funny to my mind
    Magic Water Powered Car
    This Haiku Stinks Bad
  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @01:58PM (#23792811)
    Homer Simpson says
    In this house we all obey
    Thermodynamics
  • by cunamara (937584) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:02PM (#23792839)
    Car running on water
    driving in a desert.
    Which way do you go?
  • How it works (Score:5, Informative)

    by camperdave (969942) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:06PM (#23792881) Journal

    The key to that system, it seems, is its membrane electrode assembly (or MEA), which contains a material that's capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/13/genepax-shows-off-water-powered-fuel-cell-vehicle/ [engadget.com]


    So water may not be the only thing fueling this car. They use a chemical reaction to crack the water, and then use the hydrogen from the water and oxygen from the air to run a fuel cell. The real questions are: What is in these membranes? How long do they last? What does it cost to renew the membranes?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is very simple. Energy is always conserved. So let's start at the beginning of the system.

      Water is low-energy. It is the end product of burning. If you want to get energy from water, you need to convert it, or something else, to an even lower energy form. In this case they're converting it to a much higher energy form (separating the hydrogen), so something else has to be losing energy.

      If you're suggesting that anything else in the system (membranes, catalysts, aluminum, whatever else people
    • Re:How it works (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:42PM (#23793215)

      What is in these membranes? How long do they last? What does it cost to renew the membranes?

      It may be related to a 2005 discovery [sciam.com] published in the Scientfic American [sciam.com] that combine organosilanes [wikipedia.org] with water in the presence of a rhenium [wikipedia.org] based catalyst to produce hydrogen.

    • So water may not be the only thing fueling this car. They use a chemical reaction to crack the water, and then use the hydrogen from the water and oxygen from the air to run a fuel cell. The real questions are: What is in these membranes?
      Suckeranium

      How long do they last?

      Unknown
      What does it cost to renew the membranes?
      Irrelevant. There's an endless supply with one born every minute.

  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by neokushan (932374) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:15PM (#23792939)
    Forgive me for being sceptical of the sceptics here, but without knowing what process they claim to use to separate the hydrogen from the water, how can we reliably debunk it as not obeying the laws of physics?
    It's one thing to claim that their car doesn't work, it's another to claim it doesn't work because what it proposes to do is impossible.
    A few decades ago, people claimed it was impossible to go to the moon...
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOsPAm.beau.org> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:43PM (#23793229)
      > It's one thing to claim that their car doesn't work, it's another
      > to claim it doesn't work because what it proposes to do is impossible.

      Conservation of Energy says that what they are claiming is impossible. Water simply cannot be the fuel source for a hydrogen fueled energy source. When you burn (i.e. oxidize) hydrogen you get water as the result. Since no machine yet devised by man is 100% efficient the machine can't even sit and spin, to say nothing of produce enough excess energy to move a vehicle.

      What they are claiming is more fantastic than a perpetual motion machine and the Patent Office stopped bothering to examine perpetual motion applications decades ago. Used to be every generation of half educated 'scientists' would learn just enough about magnets to get convinced there just 'had' to be an arrangement of them that would create perpetual motion, totally ignoring conservation of energy. Now the fetish seems to be moving to the water -> hydrogen + oxygen -> water cycle.

      Now the claims of some in this thread that they are actually getting the energy from an Aluminum + water -> hydrogen + ? reaction is possible, but that isn't what they are claiming. And if they did it would be an Aluminum powered vehicle and we would be asking how many miles per pound it gets.
  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tabernaque86 (1046808) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:22PM (#23793019)
    Haikus are easy,
    but sometimes they don't make sense.
    Refridgerator.
  • by Ecuador (740021) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:25PM (#23793041) Homepage
    If I understand correctly, this car claims to burn hydrogen to power itself. So, since burning hydrogen = producing water, you can just take the water from the exhaust and put it back in the little thingy that separates hydrogen. So, they were being modest, you don't even need to add water (or tea)!

    Seriously now, I see serious posts here about things that "we don't know / don't yet comprehend" like "zero point energy" etc. Guys, perhaps if you take a couple of physics courses you will both "know" and "comprehend" and in addition you will be able to discern obvious scams.

    Unless they are using a nice tiny fusion generator here. In that case when you pour water, it would be taking the deuterium out of it. Then I imagine they will tell you to throw in some old lithium batteries you have lying around, so that tritium can be generated. So, with your deuterium-tritium fuel you can power up Mr Fusion and have all the power you need!

    Seriously people...
  • by istartedi (132515) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:25PM (#23793051) Journal

    Poor education
    Drool from your lips runs the car
    Reporters buy it

  • Some links ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by flnca (1022891) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:28PM (#23793093) Journal
    ... because there are none in TFA:

    WES system [google.com] (Google-translated)

    Genepax homepage [genepax.co.jp] (English)
  • Tea? (Score:5, Funny)

    by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:30PM (#23793109) Journal

    .."long as you have a bottle of water inside" to pour into the fuel tank ("even tea," repeats this report)..
    With what we're currently paying for bottled water, I think you'd be better off sticking with gas.
  • Nooklear Wessels (Score:5, Informative)

    by hpa (7948) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:30PM (#23793115) Homepage
    Okay, this is starting to piss me off, because I have now seen posts on Slashdot that gets this elementary thing wrong both ways...

    There is exactly one way by which you can make hydrogen extraction from water a net power gain: if the hydrogen extracted is used for nuclear fusion. Assuming any remotely efficient fusion (i.e. worth bothering with), the energy gain from fusion should vastly exceed the cost of splicing water, separating out deuterium, etc. For combustion in oxygen, no... water is already the ash of that process.

    You could theoretically burn hydrogen in a fluorine atmosphere and get more energy out, but that assumes a ready supply of elemental fluorine (doesn't exist) and something to do with the hydrogen fluoride that results (HF will corrode glass.)

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @02:50PM (#23793303) Homepage Journal
    If you put solar panels on the car to gather energy for splitting the water, then the issue would practically solve itself, as the source of input energy (the sun) is inexhaustible in our lifetime.

    They'd just need to be some damned-efficient solar panels.
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @03:03PM (#23793415)
    This car they describe is like a car that... um.. What do we use for analogies when we can't use cars?
  • by Chas (5144) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @04:49PM (#23794309) Homepage Journal
    This season a car
    It breaks the laws of physics
    Investor fraud aye
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @06:19PM (#23795025) Journal
    Fools and their money
    Parted by free energy
    while wiser men laugh

    -jcr
  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by BMojo (315620) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @07:54PM (#23795611) Homepage
    If water was fuel
    No smoking near the ocean
    The world could explode

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.

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