Widespread misunderstanding of water

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by francois, May 23, 2008.

  1. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,515
    Do you you all find this to be the case too? This is a guy with whom I work. He's a reasonably bright person, or at least so I thought. We had a conversation about cars and fuel sources and he definitely seems confused about a few things. There definitely seems to be some conception among people that water is a source of energy: that you can simply use water instead of fuel to power a car. I don't get it. Are there a lot of people who think this?

    He says:
    www.byronnewenergy.com
    I say:
    Oh yeah, I think I've seen a vid of this guy.
    He says:
    either way, it's wicked cool
    I say:
    I don't understand how it can work
    He says:
    um, hydrogen is a main ingredient in water
    I say:
    it sounds like he just made a fuel cell
    I say:
    We've had fuel cells since the 70s
    He says:
    a joe cell
    He says:
    it's water man
    I say:
    Or actually way before that
    He says:
    it burns clean
    He says:
    no emissions
    I say:
    Water doesn't burn
    He says:
    hydrogen does
    I say:
    That's what I don't get. I don't get how it works
    I say:
    Yeah, but to get hydrogen, you have to apply energy
    He says:
    well.... electrically charged water
    He says:
    ka boom
    I say:
    You have to electrolyze the water to get the hydrogen from it.
    I say:
    That takes energy
    He says:
    yeah, electricity, not gas
    I say:
    Yeah, so why not just use electricity to power a motor?
    He says:
    go put both hands on a car battery
    He says:
    electric motors would be way to big
    He says:
    would need way too much power to be initially generated to create enough power
    He says:
    the water, in this case, is replacing gasoline for combustion.
    I say:
    Eletric motors are too big? Lots of cars use electric motors to power them. The Prius, other full electric cards, etc.
    He says:
    hybrid electric
    He says:
    they still use gas for the internal combustion
    I say:
    Water can't replace gasoline
    I say:
    Gasoline has stored energy in its bonds. Water requires energy to break the bonds. It doesn't yield energy when you break the bonds, unlike gas.
    I say:
    I don't know, it might work. I'm just saying I don't understand how it can work.
    I say:
    It sounds like he just made a fuel cell and we've had that for a long time now
    He says:
    dude. http://waterpoweredcar.com/BNE_cosmicwatercell_hq.wmv
    He says:
    it's a water based cell
     
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  3. Roman Banned Banned

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    It could be possible to get energy from water by using another something to split the molecules catalytically, an alkali metal or something that water rapidly oxidizes. You could probably use both the heat from the reaction and subsequent Hydrogen to power the car. The only waste product would be an alkali rust and water.
     
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  5. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. The only problem there, though, is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to produce the alkali metal.

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    What's the point in swapping one bad horse for another bad horse?

    The one thing that all these stupid people fail to recognize is that water is NOT fuel. It's a result of the fuel (hydrogen) having already been burned (oxidized).

    Carbon also contains a lot of energy - so why not use carbon dixiode as fuel? Same problem: the CO2 is the result of the fuel (carbon) having already been burned (oxidized).

    To make an analogy, both water and CO2 are ashes of an oxidation process - and you can't burn ash.

    There is one unanswered question, though: exactly what kind of tree did all these nuts fall from?

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  7. Roman Banned Banned

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    I'm only saying it's possible to use water as part of a fuel, not that it would be a good idea.
     
  8. krokah Registered Senior Member

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    198
    Why not use solar power to split the H2O into hydrogen and oxygen, reunite the two as a power source and go from there. With the new technology coming down the pipe as far as solar panels are concerned, it might be possible. Of course it would take on a whole new meaning about "no smoking in my car"!
     
  9. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    I once had an assistant professor in my high school physics class. A real hippy straight out of the Peace Corps. After telling all of us (seniors) how he loved us and how each one of us was special, he made some comment about how we could be driving cars powered by water 20 years ago if it weren't for the evil government and oil company lobbyists. I raised my hand and said "but water isn't a source of energy." I made eye contact with my real physics teacher and I could see in his eyes that he agreed with me, but he didn't want to embarrass his aid. In other words, the teacher was right and I was shut up. If there's such thing as a distinct line between stupid and smart, this is where it would be, I reckon.
     
  10. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    That would be called wisdom.

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  11. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Use a hydroelectric dam to charge up your battery powered car and you've got a car running on water.
     
  12. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Why stop with saying that?

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    Actually, that would give you a car running on solar energy. (What put the water behind behind the dam in the first place?)

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  13. Enmos Staff Member

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    God ?
     
  14. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Yep, everything's ultimately fusion powered. We're all fusion powered machines. That's beside the point though.

    What a failure of the school system. You know? Come to think of it, my school never really taught me grammar. I had English classes, but they were super easy and super retarded. I had to learn English myself by reading books.

    Maybe kids did know this stuff, but promptly forgot? I suppose it is true that people have bad memories.
     
  15. Enmos Staff Member

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    God is really a fusion reactor

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  16. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    I wasn't responding to your post. I was responding to Read-Only's post. He was saying the sun lifts the water into the air to power the hydroelectric dams. And I was saying that fusion drives the furnace that is the sun.
     
  17. Enmos Staff Member

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    I know

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    You should talk to MW though

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  18. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Medicine Woman?
     
  19. Enmos Staff Member

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    Yes

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  20. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I understand what you mean - and about the school system, too.

    But you know what's REALLY sad? As I mentioned in another thread, far too many kids view school as a form of punishment for being young. And the only effort that a lot of them make is to just memorize the information long enough to pass the next test. After that, they just toss it aside like an empty sandwich wrapper.

    The bottom line is that they actually learned almost nothing because they weren't smart enough to realize the importance of what was presented to them.
     
  21. Roman Banned Banned

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    Highschool is full of bullshit information, though. Half the stuff they have you unlearn in college.
     
  22. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    I think you are confusing a dam with the Red Sea.
     
  23. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    50%? I really doubt that!!! Care to give us a comprehensive listing? Wait - I'll go easy on you - how about just 20 things?
     

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