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800Px-Sea Water Virgo
This is interesting, I wonder how much energy he needs to put in to get a burn, it might not be efficient, but sounds like fun (if it really works. Post your thoughts in the comments!) -

For obvious reasons, scientists long have thought that salt water couldn’t be burned.

So when an Erie man announced he’d ignited salt water with the radio-frequency generator he’d invented, some thought it a was a hoax.

John Kanzius, a Washington County native, tried to desalinate seawater with a generator he developed to treat cancer, and it caused a flash in the test tube…

During several trials, heat from burning hydrogen grew hot enough to melt the test tube, he said. Dr. Roy’s tests on the machine last week provided further evidence that the process is releasing and burning hydrogen from the water. Tests on different water solutions and concentrations produced various temperatures and flame colors.

“This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere,” Dr. Roy said of salt water. “Seeing it burn gives me chills.”

Salt water as fuel? Erie man hopes so – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. monopole says:

    Arrgh! Sure you can split water into hydrogen and oxygen and get a good flame. But it always costs more energy than it generates. You can view water as hydrogen ashes .

    And he’s doing it with a device to cure cancer, perfect quackery!

    I’d expect Make to understand basic thermodynamics.

  2. Dro_Kulix says:

    Erie man? If the water were from Lake Erie, well, wouldn’t that explain the flammability? Nyuk nyuk.

  3. Eliot_K says:

    Its true — this isn’t great mysterious science — he just broke the water into hydrogen and oxygen, then it combusted.

  4. wa8wte says:

    There are hundreds of schemes, mostly for automobiles, for using low-voltage DC from the car’s electrical system to generate hydrogen and feed it into the intake manifold, etc. to “Run the car on water”…obviously, the added load on the alternator will consume more energy over any extended amount of time that it generates in combustion…some advocates claim that the presence of
    H-2 in the fuel air mix in the engine “catylizes” the reaction and makes the regular fuel burn cleaner and more efficiently, thereby resulting in a net gain….I would
    treat such claims skeptically…A good tuneup and optimizing the engine for fuel economy by more conventional means seems like a more sensible route.
    Just putting a couple of pounds more air in the tires would probably swamp out any detectable hydrogen gains…

    —George, wa8wte

  5. slippyr4 says:

    I’ll wager £100 that the laws of thermodynamics render this one false.

  6. dansdata says:

    More on this patent bulldust here.

    When I asked the sole relatively-independent witness to this miraculous feat for confirmation… he didn’t see any need to reply.

  7. shawnwaite says:

    i didn’t see the video in the article, so i’ll post a link.. VIDEO

  8. Austringer says:

    When I see these things I always wonder if it’s a would be scientist who’s out of touch with reality or some reporter who’s doesn’t get that this guy is just claiming that he can crack water more efficiently than the current technology and so writes the standard “man can fuel car with water” story.

    This one kind of sounds like the former.

  9. Tercero says:

    Um, rabid ones. He doesn’t claim this is a replacement for fission reaction, and it’s not the quackery of cold fusion. It looks like a replacement for hydrocarbon engines. Not such a bad thing. If it works, I’ll be the first to try it. And idea what radio frequency he’s using and at what power?

  10. jimmyjo says:

    This is retarded,
    1 “salt water” is not an element
    2 salt and water are both product of combustion, and will not burn.

  11. eh9 says:

    It’s radio-frequency electrolysis, which is quite interesting in and of itself. Incidentally, the piece in the article “heat from burning hydrogen grew hot enough to melt the test tube” is clear enough; hydrogen torches are used to work quartz glassware.

  12. FSG says:

    In the videos I have seen, the inventor even says that it is still to be determined if it is viable. The frequency mentioned in one of the news items was 13.56MHz. Going by the needle on the amplifier, a few hundred watts is probably used. Lets wait and see.

  13. sartre says:

    OK, so coal or oil was burned at the power plant to turn a turbine generator, the electricity was transmitted over miles of power lines and down through various transformers to him, then he converted the 60 cycle AC power to rf energy, which he used to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen, which he burned to power the stirling engine and turn the shaft, which he said could have been a car engine. Don’t you think it might have been a little more efficient to PUT THE FOSSIL FUEL DIRECTLY INTO THE CAR ENGINE? This ‘invention’ would be insanely expensive and cause far more pollution (unless we wanted to use a lot more nuclear power plants, and you’d still be much better off with batteries or fuel cells and electric cars.)

  14. tmiv says:

    I’ve seen electrodes split the hydrogen from the oxygen in experiments. I think I saw that on an episode of Mr. Wizard. He filled a balloon with hydrogen from the split and exploded it. Very cool.

    What’s new to me here is that there are no electrodes just radio frequency causing the oxygen to split from the hydrogen. I imagine the salt is a key catalyst, otherwise when he stuck his hand into the beam it would have cause some problems to the water contained in the cells of his hand.

  15. wbeaty says:

    WHO SAYS IT’S ELECTROLYSIS?!!! To me it looks just like a high frequency electrodeless discharge. In other words, “Microwave ball-lightning.” If it’s just a plasma arc, then no electrolysis is needed. By being in contact with salt, its colored yellow, but a similar arc could be triggered without the salt water. Try a piece of aluminum foil in your microwave oven to see the same effect.

  16. gunterhausfrau says:

    I haven’t watched the video, but thermodynamics in a nutshell: “you don’t get something for nothing”. The reason that fossil fuels have energy is that the sun put the energy in the plants that stored it, it was then… blah, blah, blah,… then we burn it and pull out some fraction of the energy that the sun put in (that it got from fusion by consuming matter, e=mc2).

    if you burn something it has to end up as something more stable that what you start with. Salt and water are pretty damn stable. What are the final products? I’m guessing water and salt.

    “imagine the salt is a key catalyst, otherwise when he stuck his hand into the beam it would have cause some problems to the water contained in the cells of his hand”

    human blood is ~0.9% NaCl, sea water is about 3.5% NaCl.

    Not to mention all the other salts (ions) that make water more conductive…

  17. tmiv says:

    “thermodynamics in a nutshell: ‘you don’t get something for nothing’”

    Of course and he’s not saying I’m getting something for nothing. He’s saying that he’s splitting the water’s oxygen from the water’s hydrogen. He uses electricity to generate radio waves to break the bonds. That’s the part I had not seen before. Then he burns the hydrogen and it goes back to H20.

    Now using the radio waves to split he H20 probably takes more energy than you get from burning the hydrogen, but he made no mention of that. He also makes no mention of the power consumption of the frequency generator vs straight up electrolosis. That would be the interesting part to know.

    If his method of breaking down water into its component elements takes less energy than electrolsis then his invention is valuable. Making the hydrogen cycle (2H20 -> 02 + 4H -> 2H20 ) more efficient if even slightly is very valuable. It makes generating hydrogen for use in hydrogen fueling stations cheaper. And nudges hydrogen powered cars ( fuel cell driven or hydrogen combustion driven ) closer to reality.

  18. gunterhausfrau says:

    “…using the radio waves to split he H20 probably takes more energy than you get from burning the hydrogen”

    no probably about it. Thermodynamics isn’t a law like the speed limit that you can choose to violate, its like falling off a building and deciding to go up instead of down.

    otherwise
    H2O+energy->H2+1/2O2->H2O+more energy->lather, rinse, repeat. (boom)

    Still saying, don’t get something for nothing. It might be a way to store energy, but it doesn’t create any.

    Vibrational spectra of water is well known, given the number of very bright folk (and $$) working on water and its properties I have to say I’m a bit skeptical about a guy who was working on a cancer cure by radio waves beating them to the punch… but I could be wrong (about the clever way to store energy, not about creating energy from burning salt water, that part is bogus)

    “tried to desalinate seawater with a generator he developed to treat cancer”

    Really? I love this statement. Maybe I’ll try to drive to work tomorrow in my refrigerator.

    Not even going to comment on…

    “This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere,” Dr. Roy said of salt water.”

    I would say that Dr. Roy was a plant, but I remember his name from my grad school days…

  19. RTourn says:

    This is great technology, but energy from water? I’m very skeptical fantastic claims require sold proof. Hopefully he will come to his senses I’m sure this is useful somewhere else. He’s loosing his credibility, and making a fool of himself.

  20. MonkeyWork says:

    wow you guys are harsh! Resonant frequencies, amplitude, molecular bonds… it’s a Maker’s dream project!

    Now if I can get 13.56MH out of an Altoids Tin transmitter… :P

  21. danno88888888 says:

    Water to energy? OK… here is how you could feasably get a positive energy gain. Chemists, let me know if I am in error. We know that water dissociates into its constituent H+ on OH- ions at a certain rate at all times. Add salt to this and we introduce Na+ and Cl- ions to the solution which will combine with the OH- and H+ ions to form HCl and NaOH in minute quantities, but the solution will always attempt to maintain this balance because the dissociation constant requires that these levels be mantained. So, the electomagnetic waves are not actually breaking apart the water, rather they break apart the minute amount of HCl in solution. Since HCl has a much lower bonding energy than that of water it takes less energy to break it up. If it is in fact breaking the HCl bonds the solution will constantly replace the used HCl and we will have a self sustaining reaction. I wonder if chlorine gas is also created in the reaction. Essentially, you would be performing electrolysis on HCl without actually having to create the HCl (if you had to create HCl the hard way, once again you would have a net energy loss.) This is the only way I can possibly see for this reaction to have a net positive energy release.

  22. gunterhausfrau says:

    The easiest way to think about it is that you want to go fast on your bike. You take the train to the top of the hill and zoobomb your way back down to your starting point. Now wouldn’t it be nice if there was a secret path that would get you to the top of the hill that is shorter and less steep that the way back down? if there was you could get off the train at the top, coast down (no brakes, we want to get as much out as we possibly can) and coast along the secret path back to the top (without peddling) and coast back down again.

    cool.

    chemsitry is the same thing. There may be lower energy paths, but the start and end points will will aways be independent of path.

    So finding a clever path between H2O/NaCl and H2O/NaCl no matter how clever will always be at best a net energy gain zero.

    specifics to your question, 10-7 of the water (at standard temp and pressure, pure, etc) exists as ionsH+ and OH-. (pH=7 as neutral is -log(10-7) of the hydrogen ion concentration) if you put in acids or bases you change the relative amount of H+ or OH- so you change the amount of H+, thus pH. NaCl does not exist in solution of water, but Na+ and Cl- in equal parts. Back to neutral.

  23. dcmoisan says:

    I don’t think there’s anything special about the frequency used: 13.560 MHz is an industrial frequency, one of those the FCC sets aside for RF energy that’s used for heating and other things besides communications. There are other bands, notably near the CB radio band.

    There are many hams with transmitters and amps that could be modded for those frequencies; why not find out? If I were on HF I would try this, just to induce RF electrolysis.

    This should be reproducible. Note I didn’t say it would be an energy gain, but it seems like a plausible effect.

  24. TallDavid says:

    FYI, there’s nothing magic about 13.56MHz. 13.56 MHz is simply a frequency assigned by the FCC for use in industrial applications and it is commonly found in industrial RF equipment (we used 13.56 MHz RF in our equipment for the plasma etching of semiconductors back when I worked at Texas Instruments). Another frequency may be more efficient at disassociating the Hydrogen and Oxygen.

  25. Windsurfer says:

    I watched the video a few days ago. It is impressive. But, they didn’t mention if the salt water fire was being powered by the radio frequencies…It appears that it is not self-sustaining. Darn!

    However, I suggest we keep an open mind and remember that at one time people thought it was crazy that we’d be able to go to the moon! Therefore, what if we consider supplemental fuels? Specifically, hydrogen on demand that is safe and burns with your gasoline?

  26. Ziggy says:

    I am very very skeptical about the claims made by this man as the frequency he quotes is far lower than that of a household microwave which has a frequency of 2450MHz, i.e. the resonant frequency of water, practically this is an unpractical concept as i can place a bowl of salt water into a 2000W microwave and end up with nothing more than hot water. By placing electrodes into the dish i may be able to generate a p.d. across the electrodes and split the water, the heat of the electrodes would combust the gases produced and the net result would be a loss of energy in the transmission.

  27. Ray says:

    Unlike those unthinking people that cite thermodynamics as a reason you can not use water as fuel, I actually know something about this based on experience.

    First – Thermodynamics is not an issue, water is the energy source and it contains the nuclear energy of 212 million barrels of oil.

    Second – The way you beat Faraday’s law is by injecting microwave (usually at 915MHZ) between the DC bias electrolytic plates an it is best done inside a magnetron embedded in Delrin plastic and tuned for that frequency.

    Third – This will produce such a shocking amount of HHO, you will not need to measure to realize you can run an engine on water since you probably just blew up your lab…

    A 5HP engine can produce about 5KW of power. 5KW of power used this way will produce enough HHO to run MANY engines.

    This technology was produced for NATO by Stan Meyer and you can search for meyerphotos.zip and see for yourself the finished product.

    US Patent 4265721 and a bunch of others.

    Lastly, people that have a physics 101 mentality that cite things like thermodynamics in a case like this are really no different than a magically thinking follower of religion. Knowledge is experience and everything else is belief.

    If you can’t see that the mass of H2O is the energy source and that that energy source is converted to explosive energy and some of that returns to water and that does not violate any laws of conservation, your mind does not function. You are a believer and a fool.

    You probably believe in nonsense like peak oil and global warming but have never drilled and capped an oil well in your life or studied galactic oscillation.

  28. Mr.Cool says:

    You guys are absolutely amazing in your vapid pronouncements of thermodynamics this and thermodynamics that. Especially the idiot that gave the story of how the electricity that powered the radio waves would cost more energy than it would create, (though the illustration of how it began at the oil well was very educational). How do you think we get the oil out of the ground? Do you think that it comes up in geysers? How about the spark plugs that ignite the gasoline? They are also using energy from the net output of the fuel burned. Can’t you knuckle heads wrap your minds around the idea that what this process is doing is releasing pent up energy that is far greater than the energy required to release it? Try comparing a stick of dynamite to that of a reservoir bursting though a damn that the dynamite detonated. Would you insist that the flow of water was less than equal to the power of the dynamite that released the reservoir’s current? Of course you would, because you are sheep bleating the same lines that you have heard everyone else bleat, and you like the sound. Go learn what Thermodynamics is before you start trying to reference it as a reason for an invention not to work. With your silly logic, it should take more energy to get oil out of the ground than we get in return by burning it. Go back to the play ground and leave the real thinking to the grownups.

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