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Water Powered Car Overview

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Water Powered Car Overview

Andrew Oke
February 18, 2008

I remember way back when I was in Grade 12 when we did the experiment that split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Since that day I have been fascinated with using that idea to power engines. It's not as crazy as it seems either.

I was doing research awhile back to see whether someone had done this already, and it turns out that the water powered car building community is quite large. There are even plans out there that will guide you in doing it yourself.

The theory behind a water powered car is simple- split water into hydrogen and oxygen and burn that mixture of gas in our engine.

The most important part of this system is something called the electrolyzer. This is the device that actually splits the water into its respective elements. You can make this device in about an hour and do a really good job. You need to start out with a large glass jar with a sturdy plastic lid. Then you will have to drill 3 holes into the lid, two of these holes are for the electrodes and the other hole is to let the gas escape. The gas hole should have a hose fitting on it which you can buy from your local hardware store. 1/4" fitting will suit you well. You will then have to attach the electrodes. They are made up of stainless steel wire and are coiled into spirals. A recent upgrade was the addition of these spirals. The old way of doing it was to submerge to stainless steel plates, but the spirals increase the surface area and thus increases the amount of hydrogen that is produced. An important note is that the electrodes do NOT touch. The electricity has to flow through the water in order for it to separate. Next you need to pour some water into the jar and add some baking soda.

Baking soda acts as a catalyst. By that I mean the it helps the water split as the electricity is passed through it. This again increases the efficiency of the device.

Most people right now are running "water-hybrids" which just means that they are using their hydrogen system to supplement the gas for their engine; however, if you hook six or more together you should be able to run your engine just on the hydrogen/oxygen mix.

If you're the do it yourself type or just want to cut down on your gas bill, this is a very cost effective route to take. If you're interested in learning more visit my website http://waterforgascar.com



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