Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fire from Salt Water: Lets Focus, People.

A man in Erie can make salt water burn!

In a manner of speaking, yes. He’s freeing the hydrogen and it makes a flame but really it's just re-bonding with oxygen so it...


You
can run an engine with it!

Well, yes, it's fire, which can do that, but you have to run the radio wave generator and...


We have tons of salt water! We can use this instead of coal and oil!
No.

No no no no no no.

No.

Stop. No. Ow. Can I get an aspirin?

“New Source of Energy in Salt Water” sounds so good you just want to believe it. Bless your little heart for having so much faith in these times of despair and no snow, but unfortunately a gallon of free gas isn’t worth anything if you use up two gallons getting to the station.

Always ask questions. It’s where answers come from. Questions like, if radio waves + salt water = fire, why don't the oceans ignite from radar? Or, if our bodies are 70% water and some salt, why doesn't the radio wave generator cause internal bleeding in the guy running it? Here are the most common questions I’ve seen on blog discussions on this topic:


So…can salt water burn or not?

The video isn’t a fake; he’s actually started a fire. But do you think water can burn? Really, does that make sense? Usually water puts fires out. Knowing that, you might suspect that something isn't being fully explained here. And in fact, this is where most news stories on this are getting things backward: water doesn't burn. Water is produced when hydrogen "burns".

It's really no mystery what's going on in the video. The hydrogen can’t burn if it’s bound to oxygen (like it is in water). But, if you mix the water with sodium chloride you loosen those bonds. Then, if you do something like hit it with a very strong radio wave, then you separate the hydrogen and oxygen. Now add heat and the hydrogen will make a flame. This is the flame you see in the video. The experimenter has separated the oxygen and hydrogen and is burning the hydrogen, not the water.

But wait. Remember what I said about questions! What does it mean to burn hydrogen? Where does the oxygen go? Here's where the confusion arises: hydrogen burning = bonding with oxygen to form water. The hydrogen, in order to "burn" must re-bond with the oxygen you just separated it from. You're just ending up with exactly what you started with but spending energy to get it.

All that the radio man has done is spent energy breaking apart the water bond, given heat to the hydrogen/oxygen mixture, and released a little bit of energy putting them back together. The bottom line is all you are doing is taking apart the water molecules, and by making a flame you put them back together but that does not release any more energy than you've already spent. This is not a matter of how efficient the radio wave generator is. This is not a matter of how much salt is in the water. This is simply a matter of understanding what chemical reaction is actually taking place.


What if we get a more efficient radio wave generator?
The inefficiency of this system has nothing to do with the radio wave generator, although it is a bit like pulling apart a piñata with a team of horses (excessive). This has to do with the simple fact that it is impossible to break the bonds between hydrogen and oxygen in water and put them back together (=burn the hydrogen) without losing energy.


But it's still revolutionary that he's managed to make flame by splitting water molecules...right?

I sense you're starting to doubt CNN.

We already know how to separate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. You can do it at home with a battery. There are lots of very easy ways to do it. This might be the first time someone has done it with a radio wave. But really, there was no need. Check out this website on how you can do it at home:

http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Stories/001.1/index.html


Fire is energy. We need energy. Can we use this as an energy source?

No.

A guy in a lab shoots a radio wave (using energy) at a beaker of salt water and fire starts atop it (creating energy). Unfortunately, the radio wave (or whatever method you use to break the bonds) consumes more energy than the fire releases. You spend two gallons of gas getting one for free. Therefore, it can’t be used as an energy source, because you haven’t actually found a source of energy. You’ve found a terrible exchange rate.

It costs energy to split the hydrogen and oxygen. Putting them back together does release energy but not as much as you spent breaking them apart. That is just a fact of nature.


If you can’t create energy or destroy it, how can a reaction end up with more or less energy than it started with?
The salt-water-on-fire reaction is a negative energy equation. Negative because you lose some energy to the system around you, or for processes that don’t pay off in the energy release, or just because you took three lefts to make a right. Breaking those bonds might cost more energy than they give back, depending on how you break them. Even if the reaction were perfect, though, you could only get as much energy out as you put in because you're simply reversing the action.

There are such things as positive energy equations. These exist when energy has been stored in something prior to the start of the reaction, and often involve a catalyst (something to lower the energy needed to make the reaction happen). The best example: gasoline.

Lighting gasoline on fire gives off more energy than the person who ignited it put in. The energy comes from the breaking of chemical bonds. They key is that nature put those bonds together, not us. We’re taking advantage of someone else’s work. It’s what we do when we eat food: the plant got energy from the sun, stored it in a little energy piñata, and we came along, broke it open and took all the candy. So to speak. The earth and millions of years under pressure put energy into oil and coal. The sun could heat things for us. The wind could move things for us. There are ways to get energy out without putting it in, but breaking apart salt water and putting it back together is not one of them.


Is getting energy from water hopeless?

Hard to say. Keep your eye on scientists studying electrolysis, or ways of getting hydrogen out of water with electricity, for new innovations. But the trouble is finding innovative ways to get more energy out, not finding new ways to separate hydrogen and oxygen.

Buzz Skyline pointed out to me that we should look to nature when questioning this phenomenon. Nature is far more resourceful than we are. If there were a way to get energy out of salt water, without spending more energy than you get, there would probably be creatures utilizing it already.


We use energy to turn oil into gasoline, to process it and ship it. It’s getting very expensive and cars aren’t 100% efficient when they burn it; isn’t that putting in more energy than it’s getting out?
Possibly. This is partly why oil prices fluctuate so much. Some people might argue that we put more energy (and money) into getting oil than we can actually use it for, especially with the environmental costs. For that reason, people might think that we should at least investigate this salt water thing to see if it turns up something useful and less harmful. But remember that burning hydrogen is really what you’d be talking about. For that, there is no reason to use the radio waves or to break apart water; we have un-bonded hydrogen in the air.

And remember that neither hydrogen in the air nor in seawater is a renewable resource. We could still run into ecological problems if we tried to use either of those.

Plus, if we just offer ourselves another energy source that doesn’t make us change anything, doesn't make us more aware of our energy spending, and which potentially hurts our ecosystem in another way, then what good have we done? Ideally, hydrogen cars would replace gas cars without disrupting the driving schedule of most Americans. But what does that teach us about solving the problems we create? Even hybrid cars give a false pat on the back to consumers because we think a handful is making a difference. We need to stop looking for a magical solution to the energy crisis and admit that there are solutions available, but accepting them would just mean being aware of the problem we've created.


You’re being awfully nice about this whole thing. Doesn’t it make you just a little bit ANGRY that the news is manipulating this story to make people think we’ve found a new energy source, and that people aren’t taking the time to question why this hasn’t been used already, or why a retired radio technician is being treated like a revolutionary physicist?

Good question.


And remember kids, the inventor of fire breathing salt water says:

“This is the most abundant element on Earth. Water. Salt water.”

I’ll just let the chem geeks stew on that one.

41 comments:

  1. In fact, nothing that is in the Universe can disappear from it so there is no such thing as a negative lose of energy from this saltwater burning experiment.

    If there were such a thing as an annihilation of an element simply by changing it's form then Science and Theology would be involved in a new war, with Science claiming to be able to make something out of nothing.

    When the two gases of oxygen and hydrogen combined to make the liquid water on our earth plane of existence they are in natura abscondita, but they have not ceased to exist. When the sodium chloride loosens these chemical bonds the hydrogen can be burned.

    I'm not saying that burning saltwater is the way to go and as you mentioned hydrogen is available in the air, but what you've written is a one-sided piece that puts down an inventor while managing to glorify the use of gasoline without even reminding people of the FACT THAT THE USE OF GASOLINE KILLS EVERY LIVING THING ON THE PLANET. Clearly it's time we stopped using gasoline, coal, and oil.

    Like you said, Nature is far more resourceful than we are at getting energy out and one example is the human body's use of salt. Researchers in nutrition have proven through controlled experiments that Magnesium Sulfate accelerates the body's healing time by one-third. It 'charges' the body without taking anything from it.

    But I digress. It seems to me the question we should really be asking ourselves is: "What type of 'usable' energy is going to sustain life by not destroying our environment?"

    I think perhaps you need to give Fire Breathing Saltwater Man some positive kudos for at least searching for an answer even if it's not the solution to our energy crisis.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the reminder, fengshui. A very good point, that with our energy consumption we need to constantly be looking for alternatives, and promoting such exploration. And, I should have made clearer that I was using gasoline as an example of a "positive" energy reaction, not as the best way to fuel our energy addiction. I should have also mentioned the by-products that are part of such a reaction.

    Conservation of energy is one of the most fascinating principles of physics, and has some interesting philosophical implications as well. You're right that it's a very important concept in this example. Positive and negative energy reactions are relative terms, never referring to the entire Universe, in which case everything adds up the same at the end.

    Although I will give this guy a pat on the back for his innovation and effort, I am still upset by his, the newspapers, and the news stations failure to consult outside sources to find out what was going on before toting it as an "alternative energy source." In the war against gasoline and coal, I think the hype this thing has received has done more harm than good. This process is simply not something we can use to gain energy. By giving people the idea that it can do that, it takes people off their guard. It makes us feel as though we've reached a solution when we have not. Most physicists and chemists might have realized that what he had come upon was a new way to create a classic reaction, but not a source of energy for the world.

    Still, this is a tough road we're on and we should commend those who would make sacrifices to end our fossil fuel dependence. Particularly with tax cuts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kanzius never claimed over unity. Never. I'm so tired of people rolling their eyes and throwing up their hands at this idea because it's not perpetual motion. Nothing is. It produces less energy than the energy input just like a wind turbine does in relation to the total energy needed to rotate the turbine and produce the electricity. The key is finding a renewable energy source to produce the hydrogen that makes the process possible. Until we do that, the Hydrogen Economy will never take off. Burning coal to produce "clean" hydrogen is a fool's errand.

      Delete
  3. Before accusing the Fire Breathing Salt Water Man you should have read the whole story. He stumbled across this while he was trying new treatments for cancer and a possible innovative desalination method. This was an accident not an attempt to cure the worlds energy crisis. So before you attack him or the over anxious press you should prepare your defense and research the whole picture (what your accusing him of not doing).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Before you attack me, don't assume I didn't read the whole story!

    How do his attempts to cure cancer or desalinate water in any way turn a first year chemistry class demonstration into a new source of energy? And how do his efforts to help people in one way justify the press misleading the public in another?

    A story about a man trying to cure cancer in his garage, even a guy trying to find an alternate energy source would be fine with me. This is not a personal attack. But touting the news that his discovery is a new source of energy is COMPLETELY DECEPTIVE. We were told a lie. This is not a debatable issue like nuclear power or hydrogen fuel cells. The reaction fundamentally uses more energy than it releases. How does good intention in any way alleviate that? The fact that so many people think this is something we "still need to investigate" only reinstates the fact that people have been misled as to what it was he "found".

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think that the newspaper reporting and coverage of cnn is great! Congrats on your discovery no matter how much energy it may consume to ignite the hydrogen. This energy is electricity might I add and the majority of power stations are located near water, maybe just maybe it could supply itself and make electricity for the people. Ahh just a dreamer right.. The local power station which I've toured in the past uses 55 gallons of crude oil every 2.4 seconds, you do the math. And that doe'snt supply the whole state.
    I hope the coverage and talks inspire someone to take this to the next level.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm going to try this one more time. After that, the world is on it's own:

    Lets say it takes 500 watts of energy (that's 500 units of energy per second) to power a radio-wave generator, like the one used in this experiment.

    Now, thanks to chemistry we KNOW FOR A FACT that the fire we get from the burning hydrogen can't give us more than 500 watts of energy. In fact, it probably only gives us around 400 watts. So, we spent 500 watts of energy and only got 400 back. If you used that 400 watts to power the radio-wave generator (which you have to keep running the entire time you are burning hydrogen), after 10 seconds you'd still need 1000 watts of energy just to break even (you wouldn't even be getting any spending energy back). Where is that 1000 watts of energy going to come from? From plugging the generator into the wall, which uses OIL OR COAL.
    OIL OR COAL. OIL OR COAL.

    THIS INVENTION WOULD INEVITABLY USE MORE FOSSIL FUELS THAN WE ARE ALREADY USING. There is no next step. There is no more efficient generator. This machine would accelerate global warming.

    As I have pointed out before: if you get too eager about something without knowing all the facts, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "This energy is electricity might I add and the majority of power stations are located near water, maybe just maybe it could supply itself and make electricity for the people. Ahh just a dreamer right.."

    Hydroelectricity what??

    American news media is HORRIBLE at recounting facts in a valid and consistent manner - especially CNN.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Um... actually he's right... it could work... quit "hating".

    As mentioned before, what we generally want to do with energy is harness it to "move" something... generally to save us time.

    Gasoline is just another form of chemical battery, holding stored energy... It too requires other inputs to release energy... Oxygen and electricity...

    So, if you know that radio waves plus salt water can move something in a way we can harness, the second part of the equation is to possibly find a material that emits radiation as part of the "fueling" process

    ReplyDelete
  9. The problem is not whether or not it would work, it's that it is not a new source of energy.

    You need to use energy to produce the radio wave to make the "water" "burn". The energy for the generator has to come from somewhere.

    And the point the author makes is, the only usable portion of the energy being given off by the flame would be the heat in it. Meanwhile you're losing usable energy to the visible light in the flame, the flame warming the water, etc.

    Overall, the system would do less work for the amount of energy you put in it. It's like trying to use a boiling pot of water to melt ice, when you could've skipped boiling the water and used the stove to heat the ice. Using the laser to make the salt water burn is just adding an unnecessary and inefficient step.

    ReplyDelete
  10. EVERY chemical reaction we harness is inefficient... we lose heat energy all over in an internal combustion energy... friction... etc...
    The point is, can you turn a form of chemical energy (like the emission of radio waves) into a form that can be harnessed by a more simple machine... Everyone keeps saying it takes more energy.... IT ALWAYS TAKES SOME ENERGY TO HARNESS ENERGY....

    ReplyDelete
  11. The point is not to just get the energy in the water.... it would be to harness a substance that could emit radio waves that may be accessible...

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is not a debate. This is a bunch of misguided optimists arguing for something that just can't work. I'd love for it to work, though. I remember an old Adam West Batman episode about a car that runs on saltwater. That doesn't make it true, though.

    I think the problem is visualization. Let me suggest we change the experiment...

    I can charge up a rechargeable battery and then use that battery to power my cell phone! Voila! A new source of energy! Oh no, wait, I had to put the energy in before I could take it back out. Oh, and I got back LESS than I put in. Maybe if I charged up LOTS MORE batteries this will work by the economy of scale? Hm. No. Maybe if I charged the battery MORE EFFICIENTLY? Maybe that would revolutionize the world! Hm. No. I guess this is just an elaborate way to WASTE ENERGY and achieve NO BENEFIT.

    Of course, if a magic battery-charger could just be found, then I could charge this battery for FREE!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm not a physicist. Can anybody answer these questions for me?:

    1. How much energy is released when the hydrogen from water is burned in this experiment?

    2. How much energy is needed to create the sparks to run your car's motor?

    3. How much energy is needed to create the sound/frequency that ignites the hydrogen? (is there even a sound generated?)

    4. If we know how much energy is created/released in the burning of the hydrogen from the water, can we calculate how much energy can be "stored" (or is already stored) in a certain volume of water? (i guess that's dependent on NaCl concentration but even if it is let's figure this out) Let's say for a 100 Litre tank.

    feel free to email me at williamgalawin@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well...i would connect a radio generator to my solar panels and power it during the day, recovering the released energy of the heat, even with a steam turbo, to charge the batteries that could run devices during the night and day...but i suppose i am stupid to believe the sun would provide energy ... and the naysayers would tell us that it costs more to make solar panels than the recovered photon generation...

    ReplyDelete
  15. What if the source of electricity was a car dynamo?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just read all of your comments. Clearly, CNN optimism has crept into all of us. There is just one rule to remember, keep it simple... If you have solar panels to make this work, the only gain you are getting is from the solar panels. All the following steps will cause you to lose net energy. It comes down to the fact that it is physically impossible to create energy from this reaction. There are many companies harnessing Hydrogen for fuel, Hydrogenics is huge! Personally I like the Ballard Power Systems patent. They use a presurized system to force water through an aluminum filter which separates the H in a positive manner and on the spot. They even got a car to run on it! Hydrogenics has forklifts all over the world running on H. The radio waves guy is wonderful and entertaining, but needs to keep his focus on curing cancer...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Don't forget the amazing properties of the flame from HHO. It can melt absolutely anything it touches even ceramic or stone. If you can harness the heat of that flame as it touches a lump of granit and make it turn a generator that then powers the radio wave generator (or electrolysis) then you would have free energy!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The only real application that I see is for developing a slightly more effiecient combustion engine for those who will not drive electric cars do to there lack of performance. Yes I have been paying attention to the energy loss data given but, considering that charging a battery for an EV (electric vehicle) cost that consumer about 1/3 the price of purchasing gasoline you can use your EV batteries to power the whole radio wave salt water process and have a combustion engine that cost slightly less to fuel. This would also be slightyly less detrimental to our enviroment considering that some of the energy you will be consumeing would come from clean energy like water and wind turbines and even solor energy. Personally I would just rather finish my electric motorcycle and make the trade of less performance but a more efficient exchange rate of energy usage than the whole combustion salt water engine factor.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Let say you live on the beach or the plant is near the ocean.
    Isn't in this case salt-water scenario beats using coal or whatever.... salt water is much more abundant even if the reaction is not so efficient.
    Does the reaction creates any toxic, if not i dont see why such energy generation can't be used as addition to all other types.

    ReplyDelete
  20. you guys are smart and you seem to know a little about physics.therefore a question:what is the force that acted upon the electron to make it infinately circle a neutron at near the speed of light?truth is we don't know near what we think we know about anything.

    ReplyDelete
  21. why not use solar power to power the radio waves.. granted it would only work without batteries during the day but that is a start and doesnt use coal or oil.

    You have to start somewhere

    ReplyDelete
  22. The only way I believe that you can gain energy is by finding A CURRENTLY USELESS/POORLY CONVERTIBLE source of radio waves. Any exchange of energy that we currently use to "create" energy actually results in a LOSS of energy... For example, the engine in your car doesn't capture all of the energy content of gasoline... it "loses" energy because when it uses pistons to harness the energy of the explosion and it creates heat energy that actually require a system to cool the heat energy that we are not harnessing (another drag in terms of energy). The intake and exhaust are also areas where energy is "lost" in the form of noise. Therefore, it is better to maybe consider this a potential "engine" for another energy "source". Another example is using turbines to capture the kinetic energy of moving water in hydroelectric dams. This is why the suggestion for using solar power wouldn't work. I am assuming you would have to use a currently available form of conversion... unless you are ALSO postulating that there would be some way of extracting the radiowaves in the solar energy more efficiently than we are now. All of these are just reactions that allow us to generate more power from cheaper, (usually) smaller, more easily designed, more renewable, etc... chemicals/materials. This reaction ALONE is not viable for harnessing energy... Neither is a car engine without gasoline. Any reaction can be subjected to that same set of rules.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Proposal Technology Submission:
    The Gearturbine, power by barr, with retrodynamic dextrogiro vs levogiro effect, at non parasitic looses system. Details:

    www.geocities.com/gearturbine

    YouTube Video; Tech Tip Info - Gearturbine - Retrodynamic

    ReplyDelete
  24. It seems that the responses to this article are a good metaphor for the chemical reaction being discussed. You put some useful energy, (Agent Utah's points) into a reaction, like all reactions energy is neither created nor destroyed, however for our purposes we usually have two products, useful returned energy and other products, (people thinking and understanding) and non-useful returned energy almost always given of in the form of uncaptured radiated heat, (the negative comments of a very good article).

    The thought that this could still be used as a battery to put energy in and get some out at a later time would be plausible if there wasn't already and almost 100% efficient way to separate oxygen and hydrogen. So one might ask, then why don't we use that? Well we actually do, but it is only useful in for some things, not as an efficient battery. The reason that this is less efficient: We then have to pressurize the gasses, (which gives off a lot of heat); We need to make the steel containers, (which gives off an extreme amount of heat), which have a limited life span to store the gasses; Then we combine the gasses back together(which gives off a lot of heat).

    Our best source of power, (the is the least environmentally unfriendly), is using whatever captures the suns energy. That being said, it is not perfect on the environment but better than the alternatives. This is energy produced by wind, tidal, direct solar, and rain (hydro electric), and oils and fuels that burn cleanly that are created from biomass. Each of these techniques may be done in ways that damage the environment a lot or a little. But all will change our planet in some way. When we determine what we use we need to consider everything from the materials to construct the generators to the shipping of those materials to the site, and to the mining and production of those materials, and then on the other side, the byproducts of the actual creation of the power. People are way too quick to say things like, we have to recycle without thinking, is recycling this product better or worse for the environment than burning, burying it or something else.

    Other ways proposed as free energy are more like steeling, for example you can make enough power to charge a cell phone by using a radio antenna coil. But some company has to put that power out, and they are using way more power that we would ever be able to collect.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This was an EXCELLENT write-up Agent Utah. Thanks!

    I was disappointed with many of the comments, as I found your article both insightful and well written. Plus I see clearly that you were NOT slamming the inventor, but rather slamming the media for mis-reporting the "invention" as if it were a potentially VIABLE new energy source. Even the inventor himself admitted that "this process could not be considered an energy source, as more energy is used to produce the RF signal than can be obtained from the burning gas".

    So not to knock the inventor or his discovery, which are great and may lead to great things down the road; but the media's reporting of it in the video above is quite misleading for the average viewer who would likely find way too much false hope in the discovery and question why the government is conspiring to suppress bringing the seemingly free fuel into our lives and our cars.

    And yes, maybe some day we'll have salt-water fuel driven vehicles powered by radio wave generators powered by solar collector farms in space or by nuclear facilities (or other - maybe magnetic biobugs - I just invented that by the way) - since this is likely more practical than powering vehicles with localized solar or mini-nuclear reactors, but we will NEVER have such vehicles powered by radio waves generators powered by hydro-electric, since there isn't near enough hydro-electric sources to meet even our non-vehicle needs, let alone the massive energy needs of associated radio-wave generators.

    Found this comment somewhere on the interweb from a guy named Don Miller that sums it all up: I filled my gas tank with ocean water, turned my auto radio full volume and tried to start my car. Results were limited to a large repair bill for a rusty gas tank, engine damage ( water apparently doesn't compress in the cylinder ) and laughing neighbors.

    ReplyDelete
  26. found the best explaination. thanks a ton mate!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I see this blog post is still turning up on Google alot..

    Maybe you should update it, as the US Navy is now producing *JET FUEL* using similar methods and by capturing the released H2/O2 from the water.

    http://defensetech.org/2012/10/02/converting-sea-water-to-navy-jet-fuel/

    ReplyDelete
  28. It is certainly possible to use the components of sea water to make jet fuel. After all, water is made of hydrogen and oxygen, which burn very readily. However, you would need to use more energy to make the fuel than you would get out of it to fly the planes. If you have a source of energy that isn't convenient for powering planes (like a nuclear reactor on board a Navy ship, I suppose), you could absolutely use it to convert water to fuel. It just wouldn't be an energy source as much as it would be a convenient energy storage material. The nuclear reactor would be the source.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Jesus Christ, some of you people astound me. I don't know if the author of this article deliberately missed the point, or if he's a member of the board of directors of BP, or he's just a jealous SOB who wishes he would have tried it first…. Or maybe his intellect isn't as robust as he'd like to believe. In any case, to my dismay, there is much that this author has failed to grasp, and I'm afraid that is so all across the internet… You know, my biggest problem with "smart people" is that, if they observe something, but don't know how to explain it, then they ask the WRONG questions, which are meant to discredit their very real observations, in an effort to avoid the realization that they may not know EVERYTHING (e.g. if radio waves + salt water = fire, why don't the oceans ignite from radar?); and then, they presume that because the answers to their irrelevant questions have absolutely nothing to do with what they've observed, and therefore cannot contribute to any explanation of what they've observed, then what they've observed must not be real (or must be an "anomaly", etc., etc., etc.). Therefore, how frustrating it must be for myself, a researcher, to read posts like the one above, knowing that the author is so blinded by the light that he fails to even consider BETTER QUESTIONS than the one he's posed, like: Seeing as how oceans don't ignite from SONAR (RADAR is used in air; SONAR is the system used in water), why is it that in this case, a simple saline solution can ignite simply from application of radio waves? To answer this, and granted, this is by no means meant to be an all-encompassing explanation, but seeing as how I've tried this little experiment myself, and it really does work as advertised, I'm going to try my best to point you (the author) and your poor readers in the right direction, as our energy crisis requires that we start looking into alternative fuels, and this could very well be an energy cash cow.



    To start, let's get some basic, but very important, things straight:

    First of all, a saline solution containing NaCl and pure H2O (or even treated H2O) is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than sea water. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to note, as I will further explain later, but basically, suffice to say, it's not the salt in the water that drives this reaction, and it's not the water itself that drives this reaction. The radio waves drive this reaction.

    That is an important element that ultimately explains why this burning happens in this saline solution, as opposed to sea water: the saline solution is more uniform in its concentration of ions than sea water is. Table salt is nothing more than sodium chloride (NaCl) and Na+ is of course a cation, whereas Cl- is an anion. When mixed with H2O, because each water molecule's H-O bonds have an electrical dipole (...going into more depth would make for a very lengthy explanation), the Na+-Cl bond weakens as the Na+ and Cl- begin making weak, but significant, bonds with the H2O via dipole-dipole interactions (it would be ideal if I could actually draw this, but certainly any physicist should have taken a basic Ochem class and know this). That is why the crystalline table salt disappears in the water, forming a typical saline solution. These molecules, without being disturbed, ultimately will loosely "align" and form a weak electromagnetic field.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Now, I think part of the problem is that many people have a VERY difficult time conceptualizing what is happening within a saline solution. A saline solution is not stagnant at the molecular and atomic level - indeed, it is anything but. What you have are a bunch of collisions - numerous collisions!!! All of the time. So, when I say that, for example, Na+ is forming a weak momentary bond with O- from H2O, this is happening because water molecules are constantly colliding with sodium chloride this whole time. And each time a collision of H2O causes the electrons from oxygen to be drawn to the sodium ions, oxygen's electrons lose a bit of energy, because each momentary formation requires the release of some energy (i.e. the electrons go from a state of higher excitation to lower excitation); this loss of energy caused by electrons moving from a high energy to a low energy state allows for conduction. Now, under normal conditions, these collisions are relatively slow, compared to when heat is added - in which case, they'll speed up.

    Now, it goes without saying that H2O bonds are notoriously difficult to break. This is because they are so stable (and they're stable for a whole number of complex reasons that I won't go into). Indeed, the bonds between gaseous hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) molecules, stable as they are, are still less stable than the bonds formed within each H2O molecule. That's why the reaction 2H2 + O2 --> 2H2O is so much easier to drive forward, rather than in reverse; and it's also why this forward reaction releases heat (the bonds formed in water are a lower energy state than those of H-H and O-O; the breaking of these bonds to form the H-O-H bonds allows for heat to be released). To drive this reaction the other way (2H2O --> 2H2 + O2) requires an input of some other form of energy; and, unless extreme heat is added, it also requires requires some sort of electrical current to be generated to separate H+ from -OH.

    What the radio waves essentially do is generate a fluctuating electromagnetic field within the saline solution by applying a current to a conductor (in our case, the Na+-Cl in solution acts as the conductor) in one direction, and then changing the direction of the current, thereby generating a wave. If you could dye the Na+ and Cl- atoms two different colors, say Na+ is blue, and Cl- is red, when you applied the radio waves, you'd see all of the blue atoms line up on one side, and all of the red atoms line up on the other; then when the current was reversed, you'd see them switch sides, and the alternating current would generate a swirl pattern if you could visualize the constant shifting over time.

    While this is happening, the strength of the H-O bonds of water weaken because of the magnetic pull of the Cl- field (which behaves like an anode and attracts H+) and the Na+ field (it behaves like a cathode and attracts -OH ions). The force of this "magnetic pull" is correlated to the voltage difference between the two fields, and can be increased or decreased in a number of ways - not the least of which is altering the amplitude and frequency of the applied current's oscillation.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Now, THAT above is what makes this so ingenious. Essentially, this requires there to not only be an electrical current applied to the saline solution, but THE CURRENT MUST OSCILLATE AT THE RIGHT FREQUENCY IN ORDER FOR THE MAGNITUDE OF VOLTAGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "ANODE" AND "CATHODE" FIELDS TO BE STRONG ENOUGH TO FORCE WATER MOLECULES TO BE ELECTROMAGNETICALLY "PULLED APART". THAT is only one of many reasons that the ocean doesn't catch on fire when sonar is used - you need a specific frequency to pair with a specific saline concentration in order to generate fields with enough force to drive the molecules apart.

    Now, as I've never run an actual experiment to test, I'm not quite sure what the products of this electrolysis exactly are (obviously one is H2 gas), but I'm going to guess that this is actually none other than the well-documented formation of sodium chlorate: 2NaCl + H2O --> NaClO + NaCl + H2. To learn more about the intricacies of reaction, please see Wikipedia, 'cause my work is done here, folks!

    But to summarize:

    Radio waves - not salt itself, nor water itself - drive the reaction forward by inducing an electromagnetic field in solution, as well as a current

    When you say: "hydrogen burning = bonding with oxygen to form water. The hydrogen, in order to "burn" must re-bond with the oxygen you just separated it from. You're just ending up with exactly what you started with but spending energy to get it," this is EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING, because everything you say is true - except, you don't seem to want to face the fact that the "spending energy" to get back to water part is PRECISELY WHAT THE ACTUAL FLAME REPRESENTS.!! AND SINCE WE WANT THE FLAME JUST AS MUCH - IF NOT MORE SO - AS THE WATER, THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT MAKES THIS REACTION SO ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.

    By EXPENDING ENERGY (which results when the gaseous H-H and O-O bonds BREAK to form H2O - although you confusingly imply that the heat is generated by breaking the H2O bonds, which is astoundingly erroneous on the part of a supposed physicist) you are creating HEAT - which is precisely what you do when you break carbon-carbon bonds while burning gasoline, or wood. The brilliance here lies in the fact that THESE BONDS BREAK PRECISELY TO RECREATE THE STARTING MATERIAL!!! That would be like saying your liquid gasoline becomes a gas vapor (which it does), at which point it combusts and gives off heat energy (which it does), after which, it recombines to become your liquid gasoline again (WHICH IT DOES NOT).

    Thus, one can only imagine the utility of this theoretically "self-sustaining" saline reaction!! Although in real life, at some point, all of the energy would eventually be leaked off, due to the heat waste generated during repeated combustion reactions to reform water - although it would take this system MUCH longer to reach an entropic equilibrium when compared to other materials used for combustion reactions currently (like those just mentioned above).

    Now I can only hope that future visitors to this site read my explanation. As for the author, I ask you: PLEASE DO NOT PUBLISH ANYTHING THIS MISLEADING FOR THE PUBLIC EVER AGAIN.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow, Jenna. That was long and rambling.

    If, as you say, the energy comes not from the water, but from the radio waves, that means you put in energy of one form and get out *at best* the same amount of energy in some other form. But because there is always some inefficiency on the process, you're doing nothing but wasting energy. If you start with salty water and end with the same salty water, you've accomplished nothing of any benefit.

    You are arguing for a chemical version of a perpetual motion machine - which can't happen because of basic thermodynamics. And even if it could happen, it's of no use unless you extract more energy than you started with, which also can't happen if you end up with the system in the same place as it began.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, my comments were "long and rambling" - as is your article. My ramblings, however, contain more accurate, and less misleading, information than yours.

      I want to know where you are getting your facts from. And I want to know how you think oil is refined. How much energy waste do you think is produced from oil refining? And a Sterling Engine is one of the most famous "perpetual motion" machines. It doesn't run forever without renewed energy input at some point (so it's not true "perpetual motion"), but it runs with greater efficiency than most engines, and for a longer time with - APPARENTLY, after viewing the video - little input of more "fuel" (by comparison: if that test tube were filled with gasoline, all of it would have combusted within minutes).

      The thing that costs energy is the generation of the radio waves - obviously; but WITHOUT QUESTION, the energy required to distribute these radio waves is much smaller than the energy required to run the massive refining equipment needed for gasoline production.

      It's not just the refining process of petroleum that requires vast amounts of energy - but also, the drilling equipment, the pressurized systems which are needed to flush out the oil, the numerous mass specs that need to analyze the contents of the oil and natural gas produced in the deep ocean (in the case of offshore drilling, in particular), and also, the energy required to build and maintain the piping systems that move the oil from the ground to the refinery. Oh! And that's not even considering all of the expensive industrial chemicals (which themselves have to be manufactured with devices fueled from petro derivatives) which are needed to flush the gas from the site, and are also needed for the refining process itself. And the HEAT that's required for oil refining!! Let's not forget that! Talk about putting in more energy than you get out!!! That's not even the half of it - I could go on and on and on about everything that is needed for oil refining, and THAT, my friend, would TRULY be LONG AND RAMBLING.






      Delete
    2. In any case, the oil refining process is MUCH more energy intensive than your ridiculous assertions imply:
      "Lighting gasoline on fire gives off more energy than the person who ignited it put in. The energy comes from the breaking of chemical bonds. They key is that nature put those bonds together, not us. We’re taking advantage of someone else’s work. It’s what we do when we eat food: the plant got energy from the sun, stored it in a little energy piñata, and we came along, broke it open and took all the candy. So to speak. The earth and millions of years under pressure put energy into oil and coal. The sun could heat things for us."

      !!??!?!??!???!?! DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT OIL FOR GASOLINE IS SIMPLY TAKEN FROM THE GROUND!??! If so...then I need an aspirin, and a hard drink.

      All that energy spent refining!!! And for what?? To have petroleum that can essentially be used to run engines. Yes, on one level, we'd need to still use electricity, which requires oil, too. But if we began building sustainable solar-powered electrical generators in place, we could lighten the load of our need for oil SIGNIFICANTLY. The idea is not to completely get rid of oil in one sitting! The idea is to develop technologies which allow us to cut down on our need for oil substantially so that we can balance our use of energy from oil with our energy from other sources, so that we don't completely exhaust our resources - there is no way around this! If you want to continue depending upon oil for virtually everything (at this point, oil is pretty much at the basis for EVERY source of energy in the modern world), then fine. Go ahead, and then watch as the whole world perishes in 15 years or so, after the oil reserves become so low that our world breaks out into WW3 fighting for the leftover oil deposits.

      Delete
    3. In the meantime, PLEASE STOP MISLEADING YOUR READERS:

      "If, as you say, the energy comes not from the water, but from the radio waves" This is not just what "I say"! This is a simple fact!!! To drive this reaction, you must use the radio waves. Now, to get the HEAT, you do need the water so that H2 gas can be generated, which is broken down via combustion, and reforms water. If you have ANY background in physics - even just as an undergraduate, not only SHOULD you know this is true, but you MUST know this is true. To try to imply anything else is an absolute disgrace, and you should be ashamed of yourself for misleading people to think anything otherwise. Your whole post is misleading - and I'm beginning to think intentionally so, as some of your statements require a level of ignorance that NO skilled physicist would demonstrate. (e.g. "For that, there is no reason to use the radio waves or to break apart water; we have un-bonded hydrogen in the air." - If this were true, we'd all be blowing up every time we lit a cigarette outside.)


      "you put in energy of one form and get out *at best* the same amount of energy in some other form."
      Uuuuuuuh.... What do you think happens with a combustion engine? You are putting in WAY more energy than you are getting out!! Do you know how much heat is WASTED within a combustion engine?!?!! ON AVERAGE, 65% OF THE HEAT PRODUCED IN A COMBUSTION ENGINE IS WASTED.

      SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT. As a physicist, do you not know this!? POPPYCOCK!!! You MUST know this! And in knowing this, then to consider the thought of getting out "at best" THE SAME AMOUNT OF ENERGY THAT YOU'VE HAD TO PUT IN?!?! That's like a physicist's DREAM! THAT IS GROUNDBREAKING. LIFE CHANGING. MAGICAL.

      And you are correct: "there is always some inefficiency on the process, you're doing nothing but wasting energy." I've touched upon that at the end of my explanation! Yes, this is the system moving toward an entropic equilibrium - EVERY ENERGETIC SYSTEM MOVES TOWARD ENTROPIC EQUILIBRIUM - INCLUDING EVERY HUMAN BEING. But your gasoline tank moves toward entropic equilibrium (i.e. all of the gasoline is used up and emitted into the air as gas) probably about once every few days, or once a week. This system would move to complete entropic equilibrium over a MUCH LONGER SPAN OF TIME.

      "If you start with salty water and end with the same salty water, you've accomplished nothing of any benefit."
      What do you mean I've accomplished nothing of any benefit? IN THIS REACTION, YOU GENERATE HEAT - THAT IS THE BENEFIT. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!! How do you not understand this!?!?! When you break carbon bonds in your gasoline (which is what creates the heat to run your automobile), the products are released to the air.... What you are implying is that when you run a gasoline engine, the whole reason you run it is because you're interested in creating CO2 and H2O, rather than simply to run the damn engine. Does this make sense?? No. Similarly, you're not running this mechanism (i.e. separating water, and breaking H2 bonds) because you're trying to get a different product - you're running the reaction because you want to get heat! So basically, what you've said - that your starting and ending materials are the same, is absolutely fantastic!! That means that essentially, one major aspect of your "fuel source" is being constantly regenerated via THE VERY MECHANISM THAT GIVES YOU WHAT YOU WANT - HEAT!

      Delete
    4. Yes, oil for gasoline is taken from the ground. I've been to oil fields and seen them doing it. Then the oil is refined and turned into many products, including gasoline, kerosine, diesel fuel, etc.

      The amount of energy required to do all that extraction and refining is less than the amount that we get from the oil. That's why oil companies are some of the most profitable businesses in the world.

      Where to you think oil comes from?

      Delete
    5. No, the fuel source isn't being replenished. The fuel source is whatever you used to create the radio waves. That was most likely the electricity from the outlet that ran the radio wave emitter (which in turn is created at an electrical plant run on fossil fuel, nuclear energy, water or wind powered sources). If you want to produce heat with it, just unplug the radio wave generator and plug in an infrared emitter (i.e. an electric heater). It's not that hard to make heat.

      Delete
  33. A stirling engine is not at all a perpetual motion machine at all. It runs on heat, which is usually generated by burning something. That is, a chemical reaction takes fuel (like wood for example) from one state with lots of energy to another state with lower energy (i.e. ash).

    Why use energy to produce radio waves, and then use the radio waves to produce heat energy, when you could just use the input energy to do whatever you want directly?

    Yes, it takes energy to refine oil, but you get fuel that contains more energy than you use to produce it. Otherwise is would be as silly as using radio waves to make salt water burn. The key difference is that there's loads of energy in raw oil that we release when it is converted to fuel and burned. You don't end up with oil at the end, you end up with exhaust gases.

    A process that starts with salt water and ends with salt water can't take energy out of the water along the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know what else to say to you. Your rebuttals have already been addressed several times in my comments above. You can say what you like, but you're either incapable of fully understanding this process (and oil refining processes) or you're deliberately misleading your readers. In either case, I really wish people like you would stop posting garbage on the Internet.

      Also, I work at the University of Pittsburgh, and I've just recently found out that some of his technologies are already being tested, with extremely promising results, by UPMC which is one of the top medical research facilities in the country. So, please stop trying to give people the impression that this is a useless breakthrough, or that you actually know what the hell you're talking about.

      Thank you, and good luck.

      Delete
  34. I applaud Jenna's passion, but I hope to god she is not researching anything important. She really needs to check out the definition of irony.

    In essence the production of hydrogen is a neat trick if you have an excess of energy and no way to store it. Wind and solar can only produce electricity when the wind blows and the sun shines, this is often not at the time that it is needed. This power is then wasted, if a method of energy capture could be tied to these modalities then it would increase their efficiency and usefulness as an energy source.

    Whether it is more effective than electrolysis, I am sure some one can do the math!

    ReplyDelete