Suppressed Technology or Urban Legend? The Truth About Water-Powered Cars
Feb 13th, 2012 | By Andrew | Category: Energy, Top Headline, Water | Print This Article
Stories of conspiracies to suppress new technological breakthroughs that threaten the status quo are almost innumerable. While most of these tales seem to be a bit on the tall side, in some instances there really does appear to be some fire behind the smoke. Scam artists and hucksters may outnumber the true unappreciated or unacknowledged geniuses by 10 to 1 (or maybe it is more like 100 to 1), but that does not mean that every single new discovery that gets rejected by the scientific and media establishment is automatically unworthy of consideration. And make no mistake – those who have vested interests in entrenched technologies are not above taking devious actions designed to squelch any potential competition, and it would be naïve to the extreme to think otherwise.
When the villains are identified in these types of stories, you will not find any group mentioned more often than the oil companies. In their maniacal and obsessive determination to control the world’s fuel and energy markets until the end of time, these incredibly powerful corporations have allegedly used their money and political influence to suppress an almost endless number of alternative fuels and energy-generating technologies. And indeed, it is into the dark and murky netherworld of hidden energy sources and the oil companies that we must venture in order to investigate a type of technology that, if it really exists and can do what its supporters claim it is capable of doing, could present a legitimate threat to the hegemony of the fossil fuel industry. What we are talking about here is the possibility that we may be able to manufacture cars that are powered not by gasoline but by water, the most plentiful substance on the face of the earth.
How It Works – Or Does It?
It must be emphasized that no promoters or developers of water-powered cars are claiming that it is possible to use water itself as a fuel. Instead, what these inventors and entrepreneurs assert is that energy is being generated inside of their cars through a two-step process that involves splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, via water electrolysis inside a device called a hydrolyser, and then recombining these two gases inside a fuel cell to restore the water to its former state. This may sound like pointless activity, but when water is synthesized by combining oxygen and hydrogen electricity is actually released in the ensuing chemical reaction. This provides a whole new supply of energy, which can then be used to turn the wheels and power other systems in the car. And of course, when water is reconstituted in the fuel cell it can then be recycled and used to start the process all over again, ad infinitum.
Or at least, this is how it works according to the sellers and promoters of water-powered cars. But the problem is that what is being described here appears to break the law. Not the laws of men, but the laws of science; or more specifically, the first two Laws of Thermodynamics. In reality, the amount of energy needed to break apart the molecular bonds of water molecules in order to create hydrogen and oxygen and the amount of energy needed to put those two elements back together again would be exactly the same, meaning that even in a perfect world it would not be possible to gain any extra energy to turn wheels or power other automobile systems through the process described above. This is the principle of energy conservation, and it forms the basis of the First Law of Thermodynamics. But the world we live in is far from perfect, and if the process described above was actually occurring, some of the available energy would be lost as waste through the generation of heat. This is because of the principle of entropy, or the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which tells us that energy systems are never closed and therefore gradually lose their potential to produce power over time. So not only would the two-step process described above not produce the energy you needed to make the car function, but you would actually be losing some of the energy you supposedly had available while the process was ongoing. What this means is clear – because of the principles of energy conservation and entropy, the system that supposedly operates inside a water-powered car would actually use up more energy than it produces, which means it could not work.
It is true that some of the more famous – or infamous, depending on your perspective – water-powered cars, such as that allegedly invented by Stanley Meyer in the 1990s, or by a Japanese company called Genepax in 2008, could not work without violating the laws of physics. However, there may be another way that water can be used to help boost the efficiency of automobiles. It has been claimed that when a hydrolyser is used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, and the hydrogen is then injected into the car’s intake manifold to mix with gasoline, the presence of this element will cause that gasoline to combust more rapidly and reliably, thereby increasing engine efficiency and gas mileage by anywhere from 15 to 300 percent. It is relatively simple to construct such a system, and there are kits available for sale online that will provide all the materials you need, plus instructions, so that you can convert your car into a “water/gasoline hybrid” right at home in your own garage.
The good news here is that scientific tests have been done that show hydrogen added to certain kinds of fuel made to burn in certain types of engines can boost combustion efficiency and gas mileage, just as some claim. The bad news is that the engines in question here are highly specialized and only burn what is known as “lean” fuel, which has a lower than normal air content and higher than normal gas content. Extra hydrogen – in its liquid form – smooths out the combustion process in this type of fuel source, but the gains in efficiency are relatively modest, falling short of even the 15 percent claimed by water/gasoline hybrid enthusiasts. And there is no reason to believe such a system would work in a normal automobile engine, since the kind of fuel you get at your local filling station really cannot make effective use of any extra hydrogen, and the hydrogen gases produced in a home made hydrolyser would not have the same effect as liquid hydrogen even if you did have a lean burning engine and a fuel source to supply it. So alas, the claims of those selling DIY home systems promising to boost gas mileage by turning your car into a water/gas hybrid are either snake oil salesmen, or they are well-meaning but mistaken about what these systems can actually do.
Fact or Fiction?
Ultimately, the water-powered car idea we have been looking at is a pig in a poke because it violates the known laws of physics. But what about any unknown or little understood laws of physics? Might there be alternative ways of generating energy, such as so-called “cold fusion,” that could boldly take us into brand new and exciting areas where no one has gone before? Some of the more intriguing stories about conspiracies to suppress or cover up new technologies come from this category, and it is here that we may very well be entering the realm of the unappreciated and unacknowledged genius who actually does find a way to decode some of nature’s most well-kept secrets, only to run afoul of established authority hell-bent on keeping the truth from the public (what exactly did the government do with all of those files and records they seized from Wilhelm Reich and Nikola Tesla, anyway?).
But none of this is any help to the promoters of water-powered cars, who are not invoking any new laws of hyper-dimensional physics or claiming that they have learned how to tap into the field of zero-point energy. In this case, we really have nothing more to go on than the fact that if it were real and worked the way its peddlers tell us it does, the technology behind water-powered cars would be violating some of the most well-established and reliable laws of the old physics that we all know and love. Therefore, our final verdict on the subject of water-powered cars must be that they are the stuff of urban legend, and that their promoters are either in it to con the gullible or have been sold a bill of goods themselves and don’t realize they have been had. At least in this instance, we can be sure that there is no conspiracy by the oil companies to hide the truth about water-powered cars, because no matter how diabolical we might think these fossil fuel giants are there is no reason to cover up a technology that doesn’t actually work.
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