Japanese Firm Demonstrates Car That Runs On Water
Friday June 13, 2008
Courtesy of CityNews.ca
If you're tired of spending money like water on gas, maybe you'd just rather spend money on water, period.
That's what you'll be doing if a Japanese firm has its way.
A company called Genepax, dedicated to finding ways to turn water into power, has unveiled what it calls the first practical car to run solely on H20. The firm claims putting just a litre of water from any source - tap, rain or river - is enough to keep its automobile going for 60 minutes at a respectable speed of 80 kilometres an hour.
And forget about finding a gas station when you're running on empty. "The car will continue to run as long as you have a bottle of water to top up from time to time," Genepax CEO Kiyoshi Hirasawa told a local Japanese broadcaster after demonstrating the test vehicle in Osaka. "It does not require you to build up an infrastructure to recharge your batteries, which is usually the case for most electric cars."
According to the company, the water gets poured into a tank at the back of the car and uses a generator to break it down and convert it to electrical power. It's a completely different approach from the big automakers, who are looking at fuel cells that run on hydrogen as the next power source. Ironically, they emit water from the exhaust, not use it to run the vehicle.
Genepax can't say yet when you'll be taking one of their cars for a spin but like all these future fuels, their arrival seems to be off in the distance. They've just applied for a patent on the system and can't say when - or if - it will ever actually hit the showrooms.
But they're in talks with Japanese automakers about the idea and hope it will one day water down your need to ever visit a gas station - with its non-stop climbing prices - again.
According to Engadget :
We've seen plenty of promises about water-powered cars (among other things), but it looks like Japan's Genepax has now made some real progress on that front, with it recently taking the wraps off its Water Energy System fuel cell prototype. The key to that system, it seems, is its membrane electrode assembly (or MEA), which contains a material that's capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction. Not surprisingly, the company isn't getting much more specific than that, with it only saying that it's adopted a "well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA." Currently, that system costs on the order of ¥2,000,000 (or about $18,700 -- not including the car), but company says that if it can get it into mass production that could be cut to ¥500,000 or less (or just under $5,000).