Popular Mechanics and NBC’s Dateline have produced a story that looks at various devices that purport to improve fuel efficiency by allowing your car to run on water. Shockingly, they’re frauds. All of them.
The theory behind all these devices is that your car can run a generator which then produces electricity to split water molecules into two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen through electrolysis, which are then fed back into the intake manifold and recombined in the combustion chamber of your car’s engine.
Anyone even tangentially familiar with basic scientific concepts should know this won’t work. Even if there weren’t losses in conversion from different energy types–mechanical to electrical, electrical to chemical, and chemical to mechanical–as well as the loss of energy through friction and electrical resistance, the energy required to break the bond between the three atoms that comprise water is definitionally greater than that produced by recombining them back into water. Were this not the case, a single drop of H2O could provide the world with infinite amounts of renewable power.
That these kinds of contraptions have enjoyed such a popular following for so long among otherwise intelligent individuals should be surprising–unless you also consider that well-respected economists have their own version of a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In the economic edition, a dollar taken from the productive part of the economy is spent instead by the unproductive part, which through the magic of a “multiplier effect” produces more money than was originally in the system at the start. It’s bupiks. For were it true, if one tax dollar spent by the government added more than one dollar to the economy, then one hundred trillion dollars would have an even greater effect. But, still, people, even Nobel laureates, believe it.
Whether it’s fiscal or fuel, you can’t get something from nothing. And the bitter clingers who delude people into believing otherwise are going to run our economic engine into the ground.