Engineering

Published on June 21st, 2016 | by Muralidar S.

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Cars that are fuelled by water

A water-powered car is one of the most attempted inventions in the world.Even though hydrogen is regarded as one of the most efficient alternative fuels, the expense that goes behind producing it is excessively high. As a result, there has always been a need for economic alternative fuels – a need that helped in discovering water as a fuel.

The engine of a water-powered car is based on the principle of electrolysis, in which water is chemically broken down into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen obtained from the process then undergoes combustion, and helps to power the vehicle.

The first known attempt of a water-driven car was made in the year 1808 by the French inventor and politician Francois Isaac de Rivaz, who had built the world’s first ‘internal combustion engine’ a year before, in 1807. The engine was patented, but could never become commercially successful. Very much later, in the year 1983, the American rock star and mechanic Carl Cella modified his 1979 Cadillac to run on water by mounting in it a water-fuel generator kit, which he had himself built.

However, the idea of a water-fuelled car caught widespread attention in 1989, when Stanley Meyer, an American inventor, created his water-fuelled cell. His Dune Buggy, fitted with the engine, covered around 40 kilometres on a litre of water. He further claimed that it could travel from Los Angeles to New York using only as much as 83 litres! Some years later, Herman P. Anderson, an American ex-serviceman and President of the Herman P. Anderson Technologies LLC, converted his Chevrolet Cavalier into a water-powered vehicle. His hydrogen-powered Ford LTD V-8 was a breakthrough in the field of alternatively fuelled cars.

Recent developments include the water-powered car introduced in 2008 by the Japanese company Genepax. In the year 2014, the European electric car manufacturer nanoFlowcell AG released Quant, the world’s first car to run on saltwater. The vehicle could run up to 600 kilometres per 200 litres of saltwater. Mohammed Raees Makrani, an Indian mechanic from Madhya Pradesh, has engineered his Maruti 800 to run on a combined fuel of calcium carbide and water, a litre of which costs him as cheap as ten rupees! Makrani has patented his invention, and has been sought after by the Chinese to develop the technology for their market.

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