Japanese Company Creates Car That Can Run On Water

Genepax WES
Genepax WES

Fuel cell turns it into hydrogen

Wouldn’t it be nice if a car could use only water to run? And not necessarily potable water, but any kind of water, even from the sea? Well, Genepax, from Japan, claims to have invented a fuel cell system that uses water to obtain hydrogen. It has shown last week two devices, a 120 W fuel cell stack and a 300 W fuel cell system that powered a REVA based minicar. According to Genepax, the little car could run at 80 km/h using only a litre of water, no matter where it came from: sea, river, rain etc.

If this is true, it would solve many problems at once. The first one is hydrogen storage. To be kept in liquid state, this gas has to be cooled down to -252.87ºC, or 20.27 K, which requires a storage tank that can maintain such low temperatures or, if they get higher, to withstand high levels of pressure. In any case, these tanks get expensive and heavy, two characteristics that do not help electric vehicles in anything.

The second one is price. The alternative to hydrogen storage is to obtain the gas from common fuels, such as methanol or even gasoline, but the machines that extract it, called reformers, are also expensive, and depending on the source of hydrogen, produce polluting emissions, although less than a combustion engine.

If hydrogen can be extracted from water, the only byproduct will be oxygen. Ozone damage could also be possible, but catalysts may prevent it. And water is an abundant substance, especially sea water, that can also be used in WES, or Water Energy System, as Genepax has named it. The secret WES hides is its membrane electrode assembly, or MEA, which contains a material capable of breaking water down into its basic components (H2O) through chemical reactions.

Critics claim that this is impossible because it contradicts the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that “the increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system, minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings”. In other words, the energy that would be necessary to break the water molecules would be higher than what WES would generate for the car’s electric engine, hence the energy would come from somewhere else. A battery, for example.

Unfortunately, there is a good chance Genepax has committed some sort of mistake. If not, it will have created something mankind has been seeking for a long time: the perpetual motion engine. Since all the car needs to run is water, and since the product of hydrogen reactions in the fuel cells is also water, the WES system could refuel itself with what it generates and could run forever with the same quantity of water. We hope Genepax has had a major breakthrough, but that does not seem to be the case.

Source: Reuters
Published Jun 17th, 2008 4:00pm By Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

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Comments (10)

smokeonit1 smokeonit1
i can't believe car publications fall for this SCAM!
Jun 20th, 2008 4:09am
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mechamat mechamat
@kimbo; I did some research on Stan Meyer (ala Wikipedia and others including his watercar website), and in my opinion that seems like a sham. The biggest evidence being the fact that the design are freely available and nobody (that I know of at least) has reproduced his results (which have not been confirmed by independent scientists). His process was a type of electrolysis. This water car is using a different technique, I believe it is some kind of chemical catalyst. Water car or air car? Which should I choose :)
Jun 19th, 2008 1:24am
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kimbo kimbo
caraddict. why are you bashing it? it is prototype that runs on water! How cool is that? Free energy for everyone, why should anyone care about the looks of it, especially if its only a vision.
Jun 18th, 2008 7:36pm
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caraddict caraddict
why are the majority of supposedly environmental cars look like crap ( with the exceptions of the Tesla and Fisker Karma)????
Jun 18th, 2008 5:05pm
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Xanavi23 Xanavi23
It runs on water ? SICK, so its a boat ?! hahahaha sorry, that episode was priceless...
Jun 18th, 2008 11:45am
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Bremen_Koenigsegg Bremen_Koenigsegg
I can't help but be skeptical. It is not as though Genepax are doing everything in their power to convince the public of their incredible technological breakthrough. Honestly, their fuel cell display looks like a child's science fair project. You'd think a company behind such a discovery would dress it up a little to attract interest from investors! If this does turn out to be a sham, I sincerely hope their company goes bust.
Jun 18th, 2008 1:31am
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kimbo kimbo
It is possible. But oil companys would not allow us to use it. Anyone remember Stan Meyer? This guy created same thing in the 80s. He was then poisoned in a restaurant. Type his name on googles or youtube and watch videos about this story. On his idea you get more energy from spliting the hydrogen than you need to do that. So it means that 'perpetum mobile' can exist. Quite ineteresting story, I hope it really works ans works properly. Good luck to Japanese guys!
Jun 17th, 2008 11:11pm
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smokeonit1 smokeonit1
i guess you still believe in santa claus... LOL!!!
Jun 20th, 2008 4:11am
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smokeonit1 smokeonit1
the water to hydrogen scam is nothing new...
Jun 17th, 2008 10:23pm
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Spyshot-73 Spyshot-73
Although abit Hard to believe about water run cars , there was a guy once who invented a car that ran on sea water /sea weed , this was sometime before all the people were telling us lies about global warming . If i remember the story he had a sudden death , makes you wonder if someone shut him up.
Jun 17th, 2008 9:50pm
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