Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Water Powered Vehicles

I read a long time ago about an engine powered by water. The technology wasn't quite there yet, but its inventor felt he was quite close. The idea, he said, was so simple, on the magnitude possibly, of the Purloined Letter.

Urban Myth? The cynic in me says probably so. Googling around I found an article about a South African inventor who claims to have a vehicle that runs on water and emits steam and oxygen. Say goodbye to the rainforests if that's true. What this story does is claim without any scientific references, anything to make me think this is anything more than just that--a claim. I have my fingers crossed just the same.

Another search result, the first actually, sent me here. Here's an excerpt:
President Bush has made a challenge to the American people to begin running our cars on hydrogen as soon as possible, and has allocated over one billion dollars for research to find out how to do that.

In a suburb of Toronto, Canada, a small company called Rothman Technologies, Inc., has in fact discovered not one but two viable methods for breaking down ordinary water into hydrogen and oxygen. Neither method involves the need to spend a billion dollars. They are simple answers. The existing engines in our automobiles could work with these systems with very little alteration and no need for an external support infrastructure like the one now provided by gas stations, and which would be required by fuel-cell technology.

To understand how these water-fuel systems work, it helps to begin by realizing that ordinary water is actually a "battery" containing vast amounts of energy. Water is H2O--two parts hydrogen combined with one part oxygen. And, as President Bush says, hydrogen is an excellent fuel.

The amount of energy in the water molecule is thus vast, and has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of energy it takes to break down that molecule. This is an extremely important point, as so many people--even scientists--are unclear on this concept. And yet if we can find an economical means to break down the water molecule, our energy problems are over.

Interesting. I've heard a lot of talk in the past about how Big Oil would never let something like this go to market. Imagine how wonderful this would be, if suddenly every car in North America no longer needed gasoline. Oil would still be needed to lube the moving parts, but gasoline would be a thing of the past.

Would the war on terror suddenly find amiable resolution? I don't think oil is the direct reason we are in Iraq, but when you boil it all down, oil is the cause. If we didn't need it anymore, at least not so desperately bad, the price would go down. Depression style. Terrorism wouldn't be so well funded then, would it?

Note that the Rothman information is quite old, and digging around, I see claims that the technology doesn't work. Stands to reason I suppose. Wouldn't this be all over the news? Or is there really a conspiracy by Big Oil to bury this?


Flood said...

In The Jaunt, Stephen King wrote about fuel not being an resource issue any more, but water was. After reading other things in which he predicted bad things (Rage, Running Man) I kinda worry about a water shortage.

You can bet your sweet bippy that any energy source is going to have opposition.

You should visit Forrest today. He is writing a story about a pick-up that runs on water and thought the idea might be nuts. I think the working title is 'Gas for Water'?

Kathleen said...

Sending you something re: the water as fuel. I found it quite interesting.

Scott said...

Flood - That is a consideration. We're already depleting our lakes for fresh water to other countries.

Kat - Thanks. That was amazing. I'll update later with some links.

Jaye Wells said...

Scott, where I live in Texas we're under a major water restriction. We are about to not even be able to water the foundations of our homes (we're mostly slab here and no rain means big problems). While water is more plentiful than oil for sure, I wonder how long it will take for Big Water to take over where Big Oil leaves off. Jeez you can't even buy bottled water for under $1 any more, and that's for 20oz. Imagine what a gallon of the stuff would cost.

magnetbabe said...

The key is "renewable resources". Water is nonrenewable, just like oil so what's the point? And a fuel cell that uses hydrogen and emits water vapor is not the answer either. Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not a source. It still needs to be extracted as it doesn't occur on Earth naturally without already being bound to other atoms. Extracting pure Hydrogen from, say, ammonia would require just about as much energy as the combustion of natural gas anyway. Storing it is just as big a barrier as anything right now too.

As a scientist, I'd put my money on solar cells and wind power, granted each have their problems as well. In the long run, it's the only way I see that doesn't end in us humans completely exhausting our resources.

Scott said...

Jaye - Yeah, that does put a damper on things doesn't it. That would only get worse if water were being sucked into automobiles. So maybe we could use ocean water. There's plenty of that.

Nat - Ok, I'm with you, especially after the consideration that water could become scarce. Kind of scary. I know these technologies seem better than they are. I'm reaching because I'm wishing.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Big oil would probably be loathe to see this happen.

The smart thing for the oil companies to do would be to invest in it, so they can grasp a market share.

If you can't beat em, join em.

What with all the oil reserves in alaska, I don't think we are going to be suffering a fossil fuel crisis for some time.

Bush will probably drain the middle east dry, then start drilling in Alaska and sell the U.S oil at ridiculously high prices to the rest of the world.

Cynic? Me?

mr. schprock said...

I'd like to see the government fund flubber research. There's the answer.

Toni Anderson said...

Water will become gold. How can it not given the possible drought changes occurring throughout the Amazon basin, Africa and Central America?

You hit the nail on the head--if we didn't need oil and could run our cars off H2O many of the worlds problems might be reduced. From global conflict to environmental issues. Water could be protected the way it should be--and don't forget the sea--you can desalinate water, that's what the Israelis do afterall and run aquaculture projects in the desert. Doesn't have to be our freshwater supply. And we could fly unwanted salt into space.

Wow--wouldn't it be nice to be in control???

Anonymous said...

The Rothman technology is real, read on.

The company has a website at

The plaintiff has declared the Technology to be simplistic, obvious, and non-
16. Rothman’s Technology is based upon an advanced concept of acid-water-metal
chemical interaction.
17. It is common knowledge that many metals, when immersed in an acid solution, will
react in a way that releases hydrogen gas from the acid; this consumes the acid and
the metal. This is not Rothman’s Technology, but it is “simple high-school
18. It is much less common knowledge that when the acid is highly diluted with water,
and when the metal used is an alloy composed of both “highly reactive” metals1 and
“more noble” metals2, that the reaction tends to become primarily between the
reactive metals and the water, binding the oxygen to the metal and releasing
hydrogen gas. This is scientific fact, and it is a core foundation upon which
Rothman’s Technology relies.
19. The alloy composition, the physical shape and form of the alloy material, the type
of acids, and the degree of water-dilution are all variants of the Technology which
determine performance of the hydrogen generator.
20. Once again, a simple metal-acid reaction primarily consumes acid and metals,
whereas Rothmans Technology primarily consumes water and metals. Compared to a simple acid-metal reaction, Rothman’s Technology has the
following benefits:
 It is more consistent, more sustainable, more-easily replenished and less
expensive. It is primarily replenished by adding water to keep the acid
concentration low.
 It is slower, but it generates less waste heat and has a far lower risk of fire
and/or explosion
 It creates a far less-toxic byproduct.
 The more-noble metals allow structures that retain their physical integrity as
the reactive metals disintegrate, converting the water to release hydrogen.
22. Rothman’s Technology is not, as alleged by the plaintiff, “simple high-school
chemistry”. To assert that calls into question the credentials of the person who
would opine as such.There can be no doubt that the Technology generates hydrogen; there have been
long-standing examples of its operation over a period of several years, witnessed by
dozens of people.
25. The plaintiff asks the court to believe that the technology is worthless, while the
record documents that the plaintiff has made increasing efforts to gain control over
the technology after a year of continuous examination by the plaintiff’s “experts”.
26. Rothman never warranted that the Technology was a “fait accomplis”. Furthermore,
although the 2004 Froats Agreement3 was signed after almost a year of due-
diligence exposure to the Technology by the Plaintiff, it makes no requirement for
any form of commercial or technical viability. Still furthermore, Rothman’s earlier
July 2003 license agreement with Plaintiff addresses the issue of consulting by
Rothman for continued development, and related to that issue there was a
Consulting contract signed between Rothman and Froats.
27. The plaintiff has also, for reasons unknown, released secret details of the Technology into the public domain, making equitable direct-rescission of the
situation impossible. The agreements between Rothman and Froats specifically
identify this as information that was to be kept as a secret.
28. The plaintiff has irreparably injured Rothman by publicly revealing trade secrets in
direct violation of the subject contracts.
29. The Technology is the sole basis for the plaintiff’s business. The plaintiff, guided
by Froats, has carried and continues to carry on its books, an unimpaired major
asset, with an estimated value in excess of US $2M, being solely the Technology.
30. The plaintiff, guided by Froats, has (as of November 2005) filed additional patent
applications based thereupon, while at the very same time demanding rescission of
the payments for the Technology.

Needless to say the inventor has no time to work on the hydrogen project and all his time and money are being wasted in court.

Some urban legend!

Scott said...

Anon - I'll look over your reply and post it on Monday.