June 24, 2008
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RELATED TICKERS: FSLR
I came up with that idea in Mrs. Trumbles second grade class...LOL
Then what would we drink? lol
Yes, you can very well generate hydrogen and inject it into your car's engine and create an explosion which will drive the pistons allowing it to "fuel" your car. No one denies that hydrogen can be readily made from standard things and then combusted. The problem is that people claim they can power their cars solely on water -- sure, water and electricity will allow you to power your car.
The electricity that these people are getting comes from their car's battery. Once the battery is out of juice, the car will no longer be able to produce hydrogen and thus you can't drive anywhere. I guess, technically, you can use a setup like this and use electricity to recharge the Lead-Acid battery and continue driving with hydrogen, but you won't get very far. It will drain the battery in a very very abrupt way.
Gasoline, however, works to fuel your car because of the thermodynamic change in energy. You're starting with a large hydrocarbon (assume octane) C8H18, and breaking it down into water and carbondioxide (ideal combustion). CO2 and H2O are at lower energy states than octane, and thus the change in energy is what powers your car. With "water powered" vehicles, you take Water (H2O), and use electricity to split it into Hydrogen and Oxygen, these are higher energy species than water. You then inject the hydrogen into the engine, where it is mixed with oxygen, and creates water -- same energy species as the initial starting point. As such, you ideally have no "net change" in energy and will thus generate no power. In reality, however, the initial splitting of water is not a truly reversible process, so you spend more energy splitting water than you get from combusting it. Additionally, you lose energy to heat during the combustion cycle (the universe tends toward entropy).
You can use these principles to create an electric powered car, but I believe the economics of it won't be in your favor. The internal combustion engine is too inefficient and you would need to spend considerable money on a large rechargable battery systems to go anywhere.