Burning salt water

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070910/ap_on_sc/burning_seawater_1;_ylt=AnQLvJByytEQuHeJw3rNTCgE1vAI

I saw this mentioned a while ago, but what I don’t entirely understand is what the fuss is about.

High school chemistry calculations tell you that if you want to recombine the hydrogen and oxygen from the salt water, it’s going to cost you a good bit of energy, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells you that you’ll never get out of a system the same energy that you put into it. Plus, they appear to be using radio waves, which are not entirely focusable (I think).

What am I missing here? Oil, coal, and nuclear radiation are good energy sources precisely because nature has already put in the energy to bring them up to a higher potential energy, which we can then release. Why should we deal with one of the most stable substances on earth, bring it up to a high PE, and then bring it back down? How can that be profitable?

It may be that he’s just found an efficient (yet still obedient to the laws of thermodynamics, obviously) method for cracking water - that might be a useful way to store solar or nuclear-generated electricity in a portable form (i.e hydrogen), for powering vehicles.

But I think it’s also quite possible that he’s a nutter, or a scammer - if this article quotes him accurately as saying:

-Then he would appear to be claiming that the energy made available from the process is greater than the input - otherwise, he should have said:

“You could take plain salt water out of the sea, put it in containers and produce a violent flame that could heat generators that make less electricity than you started with

If he’s found a way to seperate hydrogen from oxygen with higher efficiency than standard electroloysis, I guess that could be useful. I’d like to see some actual numbers.

I wonder if he’s trying to sell a rock in a box.

I burning his dog!

Could be. Dogs, like most animals, are mostly made of salty water. So I guess they’d burn.

You can see a video at http://www.rustumroy.com. I think that website speaks for itself.

Separating water into it’s fundamental components of H2 and O2 is an uphill processes any way you cut it. Of course from the article:

That doesn’t say anything about what happens to the oxygen. If the oxygen is put into an energy state even lower, then it’s possible to produce hydrogen gas. Unfortunately, the components of salt water are already in there ideal oxidation state, so any change there is also uphill.

I’m guessing this is just another version of Brown’s Gas.

Today I boiled some water on the stove. I used the steam to power a small, pressure-driven spindle. Hence I found a new energy source. Alert the press!

And yesterday I turned on a fan. I placed a small propeller in front of the fan, and the propeller began to spin. Hence I found a new energy source. Alert the press!

Oh, and last week I placed a solar cell next to our kitchen light. The cell powered a small motor. Hence I found a new energy source. Alert the press!

Don’t you realise? - you could use the motor to turn a generator to provide electricity to power a light?

Hydrolysis of salt water produces hydrogen gas, chlorine gas, and sodium hydroxide (which accounts for the oxygen). I would be surprised if this reaction produced different byproducts.

Ah, of course!! :smack: I will list your name on the patent, too!

So, to conclude, we’re all saying that it’s much more inefficient than burning coal or oil? Or probably (in the long run) installing solar panels?

It just might be a good way of producing hydrogen as a portable energy source, but there’s no way it’s going to be any use for generating electricity, since it surely requires electricity (more of it) to run the process.

Most definitely. With coal and oil, you expend **less ** energy *obtaining it * than *what you get out of it * when you burn it. It’s the opposite with “burning” water… you expend **more ** energy obtaining it than what you get out of it when you burn it.

Yeah…the energy of radio input is much larger than that of the inflammation of H&O or other maybe.
But the total entropy must be larger