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  1. #1
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Salt Water as Fuel? Is this just a lame article?

    So do you guys think this is just a lame article/piece sort of like how you always hear "xyz drug shows signs of curing heart disease?"

    http://green.yahoo.com/index.php?q=node/1570

    Radio Frequencies Help Burn Salt Water

    By David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Tue, 11 Sep 2007, 11:41AM
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    ERIE, Pa. - An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.

    John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.

    The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel.

    Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, has held demonstrations at his State College lab to confirm his own observations.

    The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, Roy said. Once ignited, the hydrogen will burn as long as it is exposed to the frequencies, he said.

    The discovery is "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years," Roy said.

    "This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere," Roy said. "Seeing it burn gives me the chills."

    Roy will meet this week with officials from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to try to obtain research funding.

    The scientists want to find out whether the energy output from the burning hydrogen which reached a heat of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit would be enough to power a car or other heavy machinery.

    "We will get our ideas together and check this out and see where it leads," Roy said. "The potential is huge."

  2. #2
    Tail End Charlie Ritehsedad's Avatar
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    It takes a bit of energy to crack water into O2 and H2 (same amount of energy you would get back by "burning" the H2 & O2 back to water). The process requires pure water because if its not, the impurities (e.g. salt) will build up.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritehsedad View Post
    It takes a bit of energy to crack water into O2 and H2 (same amount of energy you would get back by "burning" the H2 & O2 back to water). The process requires pure water because if its not, the impurities (e.g. salt) will build up.
    This article is saying you can use salt water though, and would lead me to believe that this is a different process of breaking water in oxygen and hydrogen molecules.

  4. #4
    Tail End Charlie Ritehsedad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by permanentjaun View Post
    This article is saying you can use salt water though, and would lead me to believe that this is a different process of breaking water in oxygen and hydrogen molecules.
    The salt and water are in solution...molecules of salt and H2O intermingled. You are trying to crack the water into H2 & O2 using electrolysis. As you do this with salt water, the amount of salt molecules will rise past the point of saturation and will start to crystalize out of solution. This would not work well for very long.
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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    I saw this on TV a few weeks ago, pretty interesting but...i'm not sure how useful it would be for transportation.

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    Senior Member shoerhino's Avatar
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    I think it looks promising.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGg0ATfoBgo

  7. #7
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    I don't know if this would be a very efficient system to use in the automobile. I would think it would work better on a larger scale like building factories on the coastline to process hydrogen, assuming the radio waves are breaking the solution down like that.

    Unfortunately I am very skeptical. If it was really such a break through alternative energy source I think it would be a much bigger topic than even Iraq right now. Imagine setting up a new hydrogen fuel infrastructure that makes us independent of importing oils. I would think that might make national news in a big way.

  8. #8
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Thermodynamics, dude. You don't get something for nothing. Yes, as long as he supplies a bunch of energy, he can get a little out. Big deal... NOT! What he discovered may be interesting in its own right (didn't look into it in d etail; I won't since there's no peer reviewed disclosures), but it's not a fuel solution. The inventor himself acknowledges that he puts in more energy than the system gives out. Sadly, someone who's not well versed on thermo probably will fund him anyway.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    So then whats the difference between this and oil? Why is oil so useful? It still requires quite a bit of energy in finding the oil, processing it, delivering it, etc..

    If this system works it would reduce energy needed to find it since salt water is everywhere, processing would be a simple step and it's already clean, delivering it would be easier as we may only have to transport it 2000 miles at most rather than 10,000+ miles from the middle east.

    What's so special about oil?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Bigger topic than Iraq? I don't think so. The same people who control the media control the Bush administration and hence the oil business. Extremely efficient systems that could power cars with 10 times less emissions or better have existed for a long time. Decades. You don't hear about such things because the media doesn't want you to know that. The ultra rich want you to keep making them more ultra rich by burning gasoline and diesel. Not to mention coal.

    Might it be a good way to make hydrogen? I don't doubt it. Will it go anywhere fast? I have confidence that corporations like the big 3 will bow down to death threats from big oil and try their hardest to keep it from doing so if it's a good system. Just like electric cars that were made in the late 90's and early 00's. Just like any other efficient means for powering automobiles, China and Europe are the only hopes for salt water powered cars.
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  11. #11
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Oil is higher in energy content than the end products. Using natural gas as an easier to understand example, you take what's predominantly methane and burn it to get carbon dioxide and water.

    CH4 + 2 O2 --> CO2 + 2 H2O

    Try doing the same thing with water and you get a closed loop.

    2 H2O --> 2 H2 + O2 --> 2 H2O

    So in net, 2 H2O --> 2 H2O

    In net, nothing happened. If you have perfect efficiency, you get the exact same amount of energy out as you put in. By contrast, in the first case, something actually happens to release energy.
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    One possible problem might be the buildup of salt brine. That seems to be one of the problems I have read about regarding reverse osmosis water purification and I could see it as a problem here too.

    Hopefully I am wrong and this guy has stumbled onto something important.
    Last edited by LastPlace; 09-11-07 at 05:51 PM.

  13. #13
    Nookular Free Since '03 kingofchimps's Avatar
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    too much energy to make it work

    will be interesting once they figure that part out
    I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschen View Post
    Oil is higher in energy content than the end products. Using natural gas as an easier to understand example, you take what's predominantly methane and burn it to get carbon dioxide and water.

    CH4 + 2 O2 --> CO2 + 2 H2O

    Try doing the same thing with water and you get a closed loop.

    2 H2O --> 2 H2 + O2 --> 2 H2O

    So in net, 2 H2O --> 2 H2O

    In net, nothing happened. If you have perfect efficiency, you get the exact same amount of energy out as you put in. By contrast, in the first case, something actually happens to release energy.
    Does your example answer what is burning in the salt water example? Sorry, I'm an economist not a chemist. It's a shame he didn't do the experiment in a vacuum to say he's burning just the salt water product, but wouldn't he still need oxygen to burn the hydrogen? So the model would be more like

    2 H20 + 2 O2 ----> etc? Does that change the outcome any? Just realized I could be an idiot since if the salt water is bring broken down it's releasing it's own oxygen. I have to wonder why it works with salt water. You think they'd just say water if the salt didn't have something to do with the process. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by permanentjaun; 09-11-07 at 05:51 PM.

  15. #15
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    If you break apart water and force it (with massive energy input) to become something else, it becomes hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. The generated hydrogen gas and oxygen gas then react to reform water. Closed loop, with nothing happening. You can in principle generate other species, but nothing more stable. (Notice that water is a combustion product when burning things like natural gas or oil. Water is chemically very low in stored energy.) Generating exotic unstable species consumes energy, so that's not going to solve your energy issues, either.
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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Like jschen said, oil & natural gas have used the sun and earth's energy over many million years to build up energy into their molecules that we burn for fuel. If we tried to synthetically create gas & oil to burn, it would require more energy than we get out in the end. Kinda like the fallacy with ethanol.

    Now, this radio-frequency excitation of salt-water seems interesting. Perhaps radio-frequencies of a specific wavelength works with the ionic properties of sodium in such a way that catalyzes hydrolysis. Note that H20 doesn't really exist in a stable form. Water usually has some salts in it which causes it to have dissociated forms.

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    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Like jschen said, oil & natural gas have used the sun and earth's energy over many million years to build up energy into their molecules that we burn for fuel.

    Is that pretty much how it is for most energy sources, they need to be created by the sun somehow? I always thought it would be cool to have an algae that was combustible harvested in the oceans; sorta like that scene from the movie Red Planet where the bugs are ignited by a flare and cause a huge chain reaction explosion.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    There's no need for a middle man. The sun can power cars by its self.



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    For generating power, the laws of thermodynamics say "no", unless this is some working form of cold fusion, then the verdict changes to "show me, don't tell me", like the Rush song. It will be nice if this does ring true, but I would be wary.

    For storing power, and this is IMHO, instead of trying to use various forms of hydrogen, people should be looking into the supercap research being done, where a a battery array for a Prius can be charged in a matter of seconds to minutes.

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    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    About electric cars, they just said on the radio that GM is working on electric cars that will be on the road in 3 years. I smell the smelly smell of horse ****. The electric cars they made half a dozen years ago, leased, then tried to confiscate and destroy but failed to do so in parts of Cali where the police wouldn't help them are on the road and doing fine in California. They can go 0-60 in under 4 seconds, and after half a decade or so without any available servicing they are still running. Why do they need 3 years? I think it's because they are lying.
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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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  22. #22
    (((Fully Awake))) Serendipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by permanentjaun View Post
    I always thought it would be cool to have an algae that was combustible harvested in the oceans; sorta like that scene from the movie Red Planet where the bugs are ignited by a flare and cause a huge chain reaction explosion.



    If you and I can figure out how to burn roaches, flies, and mosquitoes as fuel...we will win the Nobel prize!



    Just imagine...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
    About electric cars, they just said on the radio that GM is working on electric cars that will be on the road in 3 years. I smell the smelly smell of horse ****. The electric cars they made half a dozen years ago, leased, then tried to confiscate and destroy but failed to do so in parts of Cali where the police wouldn't help them are on the road and doing fine in California. They can go 0-60 in under 4 seconds, and after half a decade or so without any available servicing they are still running. Why do they need 3 years? I think it's because they are lying.
    I have an unfortunate feeling that it will likely be Toyota, or maybe even Chery (a Chinese car company) which gets an electric car to the US mass market first. I wish one of the Big Three would hop on the electric car bandwagon and do some Tesla-like vehicles [1] before they are beaten to the punch. However, for historical reasons, I doubt it, and have a feeling that the company that drops the first decent electric car [2] past the regulatory hurdles would immediately take over a major chunk of the automotive market, similar to how the iPhone snatched a major part of the smartphone/PDA market in a matter of days.

    [1]: IMHO, Electric cars that perform decently, and don't look like bug-eyed compact cars. Yes, the cute Smart car driven by Inspector Clouseau may be a seller in other areas, but in America it will get laughed at rather than purchased.

    [2]: Pickup or SUV would be good too. Ironically on the HUGE trucks used in rock quarries, they are powered by one gasoline engine that acts as a generator for an electric motor at each wheel. If this works for something on this mammoth scale and is efficient, then a SUV with batteries and a multi-fuel generator would just be the "killer car". Where a hybrid has two power trains, this would have one, but would have two methods of powering the wheel-based motors, batteries and a generator.

  24. #24
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    Methane is the fuel with a future.

    I'm investing in porta-sans. Maybe "depositing" is a better word.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

  25. #25
    ReMember trsidn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschen View Post
    The inventor himself acknowledges that he puts in more energy than the system gives out.
    +1
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