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A Japanese company, Genepax, has announced and demonstrated a new fuel cell system that runs on water.
From Reuters India:
Tired of petrol prices rising daily at the pump? A Japanese company has invented an electric-powered, and environmentally friendly, car that it says runs solely on water.From Fuel Cell Today:
Genepax unveiled the car in the western city of Osaka on Thursday, saying that a liter (2.1 pints) of any kind of water—rain, river or sea—was all you needed to get the engine going for about an hour at a speed of 80 km (50 miles).
“The car will continue to run as long as you have a bottle of water to top up from time to time,” Genepax CEO Kiyoshi Hirasawa told local broadcaster TV Tokyo. “It does not require you to build up an infrastructure to recharge your batteries, which is usually the case for most electric cars,” he added.
Once the water is poured into the tank at the back of the car, the a generator breaks it down and uses it to create electrical power, TV Tokyo said.
Whether the car makes it into showrooms remains to be seen. Genepax said it had just applied for a patent and is hoping to collaborate with Japanese auto manufacturers in the future.
It is claimed the Water Energy System (WES) developed by Genepax can generate power by supplying water and air to the fuel and air electrodes. The basic power generation mechanism of the system is similar to that of a standard fuel cell. The main feature of the new system is that it uses a membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material that breaks down the water to hydrogen and oxygen.From TechOn:
Though the company did not reveal any more detail the company president said that they had “succeeded in adopting a well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA”, similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water. However the company claims that compared with the existing method, the new process produces hydrogen from water for a longer time.
Genepax unveiled a fuel cell stack with a rated output of 120W and a fuel cell system with a rated output of 300W. The 300W system is an active system, which supplies water and air with a pump. In the demonstration, the company powered the TV and the lighting equipment with a lead-acid battery charged by using the system. In addition, the 300W system was mounted in the luggage room of a compact electric vehicle “Reva” manufactured by Takeoka Mini Car Products Co Ltd, and the vehicle was driven by the system.
According to Genepax, the main feature of the new system is that it uses the company’s membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.This looks kinda real. How much more do we know, or can we guess? Also, would I be correct in assuming the system throws off oxygen? That could get exciting. (Thank you, Bill Brazell.)
Though the company did not reveal the details, it “succeeded in adopting a well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA,” said Hirasawa Kiyoshi, the company’s president. This process is allegedly similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water. But compared with the existing method, the new process is expected to produce hydrogen from water for longer time, the company said.
With the new process, the cell needs only water and air, eliminating the need for a hydrogen reformer and high-pressure hydrogen tank. Moreover, the MEA requires no special catalysts, and the required amount of rare metals such as platinum is almost the same as that of existing systems, Genepax said.
Unlike the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), which uses methanol as a fuel, the new system does not emit CO2. In addition, it is expected to have a longer life because catalyst degradation (poisoning) caused by CO does not occur on the fuel electrode side. As it has only been slightly more than a year since the company completed the prototype, it plans to collect more data on the product life.
At the conference, Genepax unveiled a fuel cell stack with a rated output of 120W and a fuel cell system with a rated output of 300W. In the demonstration, the 120W fuel cell stack was first supplied with water by using a dry-cell battery operated pump. After power was generated, it was operated as a passive system with the pump turned off.
This time, the voltage of the fuel cell stack was 25-30V. Because the stack is composed of 40 cells connected in series, it is expected that the output per cell is 3W or higher, the voltage is about 0.5-0.7V, and the current is about 6-7A. The power density is likely to be not less than 30mW/cm2 because the reaction area of the cell is 10 x 10 cm. …
For the future, the company intends to provide 1kw-class generation systems for use in electric vehicles and houses. Instead of driving electric vehicles with this system alone, the company expects to use it as a generator to charge the secondary battery used in electric vehicles.