Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Burning salt water - expanded

When I posted here about the experiment in which a radio beam split salt water in into immediately combustible components, I did so without comment. Laban just suggested that this process would consume more energy than it produced, and of course he's right. That isn't the point, though.

Firstly, it's apparently a new process. Like electrolysis, it breaks down the bonds in water molecules but unlike electrolysis it requires neither anode nor cathode immersed in said water. So we've learned something, and that's always good. But new things can lead to interesting places, and this is the second and more important aspect of this.

Here's a thought experiment. Cars have been converted to run on hydrogen - existing engines can be converted but it's a bit of a faff. However, how about swapping corrodible pipes for synthetic ones and running salt water from a tank to the cylinder head, replacing the carburettor or injection system with a radio transmitter.

Yes, the ultimate power source would be the nuclear power station that generated the electricity that got stored in the batteries in the car and powered the radio transmitter. But that's cool - I'd be happy to own a nuclear powered car. And the fact that this technology might be capable of converting all existing vehicles to clean, green nuclear power is exciting, even for a climate sceptic/realist like myself.


dearieme said...

What's your objection to electrodes?

Peter Risdon said...

None, but a non-intrusive approach must have advantages in some applications.