David Williams, Evening Standard
21 September 2005
SCIENTISTS have made a breakthrough which will allow them to build a car which runs on water.
A British company is on the brink of creating an ‘ultra-green’ family saloon which could be on the road within a decade. If it goes into production the car would cost as little as a regular model, thanks to subsidies and grants.
In scenes recalling the film Back To The Future, where a sports car’s generator is fed with household scraps, a generator on this car will convert water into power. Government sources say the technology – developed by Russian scientists who have set up a UK company called OM Energy – could eventually enable ships to use seawater for fuel.
The breakthrough is the electro hydrogen generator which extracts hydrogen from water by spinning it at high speed.
The hydrogen is then mixed with the petrol supply to create an environmentally friendly ‘super fuel’ which ‘stretches’ the unleaded fuel, enabling the car to go further on less. The generator is spun using the engine’s recycled exhaust gases.
Experts see this as the ‘holy grail’ that could ease the world’s energy crisis. If successful, production vehicles will use water as the main fuel and need only a small amount of petrol, dramatically cutting fuel costs for motorists.
WATER WORKS: How the hydro car would operate
Some commercial vehicles already run on hydrogen which is used to generate electricity and drive electric motors.
But it is expensive and dangerous to distribute large amounts of hydrogen fuel. Car-makers have been waiting for a compact system capable of performing the conversion under the bonnet.
OM Energy was lured to Britain by the Government’s UK Trade and Investment’s Global Entrepreneurs Programme, which was set up to develop and encourage talent. A patent has been registered and the Government is set to take a proportion of any sales.
The AA Motoring Trust welcomed the breakthrough. ‘Alternative technologies such as this – not more taxation – are the answer to lessening the impact on the environment,’ said spokesman Luke Bosdet.