Is a Water powered automobile too good to be true? Well, not according to Japanese company Genepax. They claim to have built a car that runs on water and air alone.
The system can generate power just by supplying water and air to the fuel and air electrodes, respectively, the company said at the press conference, which took place June 12, 2008, at the Osaka Assembly Hall.
The basic power generation mechanism of the new system is similar to that of a normal fuel cell, which uses hydrogen as a fuel. According to Genepax, the main feature of the new system is that it uses the company’s membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.
Though the company did not reveal the details, it “succeeded in adopting a well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA,” said Hirasawa Kiyoshi, the company’s president. This process is allegedly similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water. But compared with the existing method, the new process is expected to produce hydrogen from water for longer time, the company said.
With the new process, the cell needs only water and air, eliminating the need for a hydrogen reformer and high-pressure hydrogen tank. Moreover, the MEA requires no special catalysts, and the required amount of rare metals such as platinum is almost the same as that of existing systems, Genepax said.
But before we all get too excited, Popular Mechanics has described Genepax’s claims as “Rubbish.” The company says it “cannot [reveal] the core part of this invention,â€ yet, but it has disclosed that the system uses an onboard energy generator (a “membrane electrode assembly”) to extract the hydrogen using a “mechanism which is similar to the method in which hydrogen is produced by a reaction of metal hydride and water”.
The hydrogen is then used to generate energy to run the car. This has led to speculation that the metal hydride is consumed in the process and is the ultimate source of the car’s energy, making the car a hydride-fuelled “hydrogen on demand” vehicle, rather than water-fuelled as claimed.
Still, here is the vehicle driving around. Let’s hope that they know something that the rest of us don’t and pretty soon we’ll put fossil fuels to rest.