New technologies on renewable fuel sources are springing up all the time, including one that claims it can run a car on just water. In this article, we will look at some of the unusual inventions.
By: Anastacia Mott Austin
First, there came the hybrid car. Part fuel combustion engine, part electric battery. It improves gas mileage and is better for the environment. Sales of these cars have gone through the roof, spurred by rising gas prices and an increase in the public’s need to leave a smaller carbon footprint. Many major auto manufacturers offer a hybrid variety or are in the process of developing one.
But that wasn’t enough for some. Anyone who has seen the documentary, ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’ would be wondering what the hold up is on the all-electric car. Though GM ‘killed’ the EV1 electric car shown in the movie, the company is hard at work developing the Chevy Volt, an all-electric car (with gas hybrid option) that will supposedly be available to the public around 2010. In addition, several well-known auto companies have electric prototypes in the works, and numerous smaller start-up companies are developing such vehicles that are in the market already or will be soon. Some savvy hackers have already converted their Toyota Prius hybrids into plug-in versions, meaning they run almost entirely on electric power.
So why stop there? With fuel prices and pollution at dangerous levels, necessity has indeed spawned some strange inventions. Creative thinkers have pondered on what seems to be in abundance-at least for now-and come up with solutions that use little to no fossil fuel and produce no emissions. Let’s look at a couple of them as described below.
Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM) has contracted to manufacture the first air-powered car for distribution in the United States by late 2009 or early 2010. Yes, air! Similar in concept to the two-seater model that will soon be marketed in India, ZPM has a larger, six-seat version in mind for the US. The car employs compressed air as its fuel source, similar to Airbus airplanes, along with a heating process which increases the air volume, and thus, the speed of the automobile.
Company representatives say that it could go as far as a 1,000 miles and up to 96 mph. on each fill-up of air, and produces zero emissions. Plus, their estimate on the cost is about USD 17,800. It still needs to undergo further development and testing, but ZPM says that we can count on the vehicle as another alternative to the gas-guzzling polluters we’re tooling around in now.
Japan’s Genepax announced last month that it had developed a technology to enable cars to run on any kind of water. Its Water Energy System uses a secret ‘membrane electrode assembly’ method that apparently breaks water down into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical process.
Another entrepreneur claims that he can make a car run on saltwater, and has the YouTube video to prove it. A little searching on the Internet will locate several websites willing to sell you an instruction manual explaining how to convert your own car into a water-fueled wonder car.
To answer the concerns of folks who say that water is the new oil, and soon we will be more worried about water availability and cost than gas, Genepax says that their car can run on any kind of water: spring water, seawater, rainwater, wastewater, or recycled water. That would truly be a resourceful use of recycled water, something along the lines of the movie ‘Waterworld,’ where Kevin Costner uses a handy little device that converts his own urine back into drinkable water. I don’t know about drinking it, but think of the environmental savings in being able to use your ‘wastewater’ to fuel your car. Save on gas and plumbing at the same time!