Thursday, September 18, 2008
Running a car on water has been the holy grail for car manufacturers for some time now, but it appears that a Japanese company named Genepax may have pulled ahead of the competition with a prototype vehicle that runs entirely on water and air. Their new "Water Energy System (WES)," generates power by supplying water and air to the fuel and air electrodes using a proprietary technology called the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA). The secret behind MEA is a special material that is capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.
Not surprisingly, Genenpax has kept the exact details of their technology under wraps, but they did say that their new process, while based on existing technology, is expected to produce hydrogen from water for longer time than any method currently available. Furthermore, WES does not require a hydrogen reformer, a high-pressure hydrogen tank, or any special catalysts to get the job done.
During a recent conference, Genepax unveiled a fuel cell stack with a rated output of 120W and a fuel cell system with a rated output of 300W—and there are plans for a 1kw-class generation system for use in both electric vehicles and houses sometime in the future. At this point, the cost of production on the water-powered vehicle engine itself is around about ¥2,000,000 (US$18,522), but they hope to drop the price to ¥500,000 (US$4600) or less if they succeed in bringing it into mass production.
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