Hey there, welcome to Life Noggin!
Welcome to my garage-slash-workshop-slash
Olympic-sized swimming pool room
And it’s the perfect place to work on my new invention, a water-powered car!
Well, ok, it’s not technically my invention.
The idea for water-powered cars has been kicking around for ages.
Jules Verne wrote that “water will be the coal of the future!” way back in 1874…
so why aren’t water-powered cars everywhere yet?
And why isn’t mine working perfectly as I planned?
To get to the bottom of this, we need to take a look at
some of history’s more recent attempts to go with H²O
The idea became especially popular a century after Jules Verne’s prediction,
during the American oil crises of the 1970s.
A prolific inventor named Stanley Mayer patented a vehicle
that he said could drive across country on only 75 liters of pure water
It was a beautiful vision, but the science didn’t quite back this idea up,
and he ran into some legal trouble because of it.
In the late 2000s, the internet was inundated by simple kits
that promise to transform your car into a water-burning hybrid
and increase your fuel economy by up to 300 percent
That same year, a company called Genepax began marketing a water-powered car
that they claimed was going to save the world from global warming.
In the end, though, these prototypes ran into a teensy-tiny problem:
the first law of thermodynamics.
Energy cannot be created or destroyed.
So what’s the problem here?
Well, water on its own is simply not a fuel; similar to CO2,
it’s only the product of a real fuel combusting.
But water still carries energy locked up in its bonds,
and Mayer’s invention, like many others,
is based on splitting these bonds in a process called electrolysis.
By separating the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water
the hydrogen can be used as fuel
and fed back into the engine or if its an electric car, the fuel cell.
重新回到引擎 如果是电车 就回到燃料电池中去
Even better, this consumed hydrogen only produces water as waste.
So vroom vroom, there you go!
A super clean zero emissions fuel attached to zero guilt.
Except not really.
Because water is very stable, and splitting it up
requires a lot more work than it’s worth,
kind alike climbing up a steep slide.
Triangle Bob’s having fun though, so that’s good!
Mayer thought he’d figured out an easy way to do it,
with far less energy wasted than a normal electrolytic cell,
But but what he created consumed more energy than it produced.
Today, after decades of research, the electrolysis of water has yet to prove itself
今天 经过数十年的研究 水电离还没能证明自己
a viable way to produce hydrogen fuel.
And if we can’t get hydrogen fuel from water,
it’s not really clean energy at all.
Currently, only four percent of all hydrogen produced comes from water electrolysis,
Some of which is generated by renewable electricity.
The rest mostly comes from fossil fuels.
Still, some scientists are desperate to make hydrogen energy sustainable.
And in recent years, efforts have more than doubled th eefficiency of water electrolysis.
In turn, researchers at Stanford claim they’ve figured out a way
to generate hydrogen fuel using solar power and saltwater.
So who knows maybe there’ll come a day when you can just pull over to the side of the road
谁知道呢 也许有一天 你可以把车停在路边
and fuel up on the ocean.
But until then, maybe just try and ride your bike
or take the bus as much as you can!
Or ride your whale with legs to the local market and watch everyone scream.
Whichever you prefer!
So if you could power your car on anything imaginable, what would it be?
Let me know in the comment section below
Or tell me, what should I talk about next.
Curious to know why these walls have legs, check out this video!
Perhaps they would look a bit like their other ancestor, Ambulocetus natans
whose name actually translates to walking whale that swims.
As always my name is Blocko, this has been life noggin, don’t forget to keep on thinking!
我是波洛科 这里是《品生活》 请坚持思考
Hey there, welcome to Life Noggin!