I saw on the news sometime last week this guy who has been successful in making energy out of water. His process turned H2O into HHO. He was able to turn the gas into a flame, thus applied his technology to his vehicle so it can run on water. How does this work, how much does it cost (building, maintaining, et cetera), and how can I do it?
It doesn’t work that way. Yes, in theory you can run a car by electrolyzing water and then burning the resulting hydrogen, but since the energy you gain from burning the H2 is always less than the energy required to extract it in the first place, you still need to supply an energy source, such as a battery. In other words, what you’ve got there is an inefficient battery-powered car.
The only way to bust apart water molecules is to zap them with a lot of electricity. And the energy you get back from burning the resulting hydrogen will never be as much as the energy you put in to get the hydrogen in the first place, due to the pesky laws of thermodynamics.
What you actually saw was a guy who was successful in deluding observers into thinking he made energy out of water. If he did split the water molecules into separate oxygen atoms and hydrogen molecules (which do have potential energy), he did it by first applying energy from a presumably undisclosed source, and as others have pointed out, ended up spending more energy than he “made.” This is not merely an infeasible source of energy, it’s a guaranteed net loss of energy.
As to how the delusion works and what it costs to set it up, there are various methods, but those costs are in addition to the basic cost of splitting the water molecules, and the only possible payback is in selling the “secret process” to naive suckers.
It amazes me that news personnel are stupid enough to cover this crap.
H[sub]2[/sub]O is (obviously) water, while HHO is just the popular name for the mixture of H[sub]2[/sub] and O[sub]2[/sub] gasses in a 2:1 ratio. I’ve also seen it called “Aquygen” gas, a trademark of Hydrogen Technology Applications, Inc.
Not that this is news. Breaking H2O apart is a pretty simple matter.
But, could a system be set up using solar panels to do it to make a more efficient storage device than batteries?
The hydrogen would have to be compressed which looses energy again to electricity (using electric motors to compress the hydrogen into tanks), but could hydrogen be used as a better energy storage device than batteries?
Could you break H20 all summer with solar to assist with winter heating?
It would be a complex furnace, I know. Just kicking some ideas around.
I mean this is completely feasible with a few tweaks.
First, the car will have to carry the hydrogen (we can use oxygen from the air) which we get from the water. We get it from water using nuclear fission generated electricity, either through electrolysis at home (not yet available on required scale) or industrial electrolysis (available). For safety reasons hydrogen would probably have to be stored in a low pressure hydride instead of a high pressure gas form, to make the solid storage you would need some sort of a generator that takes electricity and hydrogen gas and generates the solid. This can be either onboard (impossible as of now) or not. Then the car can use an internal combustion engine to cleanly burn hydrogen and power a generator.
Here’s the basic problem: Plain 'ol room-temperature tap water has no potential energy. It can’t be burned. It can’t be oxidized. It is already in its lowest energy state. You can’t do anything to water to force it to release “pent up” energy, because there is no “pent up” energy to begin with. As a result, water is often a byproduct of other adiabatic & isometric processes, much like soot.
And this is where the First Law of thermodynamics comes into play: If water has no energy to begin with, then you cannot extract any energy from it.
I am asking from a position of complete ignorance, but wouldn’t the lowest energy state of H2O be ice? I mean, a solid is when a substance’s molecules have the least vibration and the least energy, right?