The electric car revolution promises a sharp decrease in the amount of carbon emissions added to the atmosphere by automobiles. But there is one remaining problem at the moment. All around the world, much of the electricity used to recharge our beloved electrics and plug-ins is generated by burning coal or other fossil fuels.
The Quant E-Sportlimosine (doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, does it?) is the world’s first salt water powered car and it’s ready for production, according to EWA News. The heart of the car is a so-called NanoFlowcell that manufactures hydrogen gas. That hydrogen is used in a fuel cell that creates electricity to turn the car’s electric motors. No coal, no fossil fuels of any kind are used. Cool, huh? And because the hydrogen is only made as needed, there is no need for heavy onboard storage tanks capable of withstanding the 10,000 psi that are needed to store liquid hydrogen.
Splitting hydrogen and oxygen atoms from water is tricky business. Genepax, a company based in Osaka, Japan, used a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) to split hydrogen molecules from the oxygen molecules via a chemical reaction in 2008. The cell only required air and water, which removed the need for a hydrogen reformer or a high-pressure hydrogen tank. Genepax went bankrupt shortly after unveiling its model, even though it had received a patent on its water energy system.
Stanley Allen Meyer also invented a hydrogen-powered vehicle system which was patented. His idea implemented the use of “subjecting the collected gas mixture (extracted hydrogen and oxygen) to a pulsating, polar electric field whereby electrons of the gas atoms are distended in their orbital fields by reason of their subjection to electrical polar forces, at a frequency such that the pulsating electric field includes a resonance with respect to an electron of the gas atom.” Got that? Stanley died in 1998 after a meeting with investors. According to his brother, Stanley came out of the meeting saying, “They poisoned me,” then collapsed and died.
However, also of note is that Stanley’s “water fuel cell” claims were found fraudulent in an Ohio court in 1996, and he was order to pay back the investors $25,000. Additionally, the technology apparently isn’t technically a “fuel cell” and was deemed to not be “revolutionary.” More history regarding his story is here.
So-called flow batteries are not unknown. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, they can be completely discharged without damage, have a useful life of 10,000 cycles or more, and are infinitely scalable. But they are most suitable for large grid storage applications because they tend to be quite a bit larger than other batteries. No one has ever tried to put one in an automobile before, especially one that rockets to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds or less.
Production of the Quant E-Sportlimosine is supposed to begin soon, with sales in Europe following shortly thereafter. We shall see if the car actually gets built and whether any intrepid customers step forward with enough cash to buy one. No prices have been announced, but the car is likely to cost considerably more than your typical Mazda Miata.
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