from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Water would be a great fuel — if only there were thermodynamically-possible ways to extract energy from it. Water is a pretty stable compound, and it’s difficult to retrieve the energy required to break its bonds. Electrolysis can break water into hydrogen and oxygen, but burning the hydrogen doesn’t produce a net gain of energy. But there may be some creative ways around this problem, and some folks have actually made progress in using water (or saltwater) in an energy-generating system.
- The US Naval Research Lab has developed a prototype system that extracts CO2 and H2 (carbon dioxide and hydrogen) from seawater simultaneously, then combines these gases to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel. A gas-to-liquids (GTL) synthesis process like this could help ships run longer without re-fueling. [url]
- In 1935, Charles H. Garrett claimed to have invented an engine that used only water as fuel, and he patented his invention the same year. The key to this engine was an electrolytic carburetor — which is basically a flux capacitor — and as soon as it hit 88 mph, it traveled into the future and its technology was lost. [url]
- Graphene can generate small amounts of electricity when saltwater flows over it. The trick will be how to produce enough electricity (and enough graphene) in an economical way so that this is a practical means of generating energy. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.