Advanced search

to think that experts would say you can power a car on water - although Gove says you can't?

(10 Posts)
amispartacus Wed 25-Jan-17 15:57:30

Bit of context - the debate on oil, Dakota pipeline and water pollution.

Gove's Tweet - you can't power a car on water (in response to you can't drink oil)

Generate hydrogen from water. Use hydrogen as fuel in fuel cell.
Use water as hydropower. Store the electricity generated in batteries. Car is powered.

But hey, experts are doing this. So maybe they're wrong.
He probably meant you can't put water in a car and expect it to go.
Or you can't put water into any old car and expect it to go.

AIBU to think you can power a car on water?

TiggyD Wed 25-Jan-17 15:59:40

How do you get the hydrogen from the water?

amispartacus Wed 25-Jan-17 16:01:51

How do you get the hydrogen from the water


amispartacus Wed 25-Jan-17 16:03:17

Or this. Read it before it goes

TiggyD Wed 25-Jan-17 16:13:37

So what do you use to do electrolysis? Is it electricity? How do you get electricity at the moment? By burning fossil fuels?

It's hopefully going to be a good way of storing energy in the future but it's still a little way off. It might get beaten by improved batteries though.

booklooker Wed 25-Jan-17 16:14:54

I hope another poster comes along soon with a bit more knowledge than my A' Level in Chemistry taken nearly 40 years ago.

Water is a very stable compound, breaking it down into its elements would require a lot of energy, more than the energy that the hydrogen could produce.

I skimmed the article you linked, I saw no mention of producing hydrogen by electrolysis, but I did see this quote:

It (hydrogen) must be produced from other sources or “feedstocks” such as water, biomass, or fossil fuels. The technologies for producing
pure hydrogen from these feedstocks also require energy to
power the production process.

amispartacus Wed 25-Jan-17 16:17:48

So what do you use to do electrolysis? Is it electricity? How do you get electricity at the moment

You can get electricity by tidal power, hydropower, geothermal power...

Then store it as a gas - so you don't need batteries. Just a fuel cell.


Page 5 of that article. It goes into detail.

amispartacus Wed 25-Jan-17 16:24:35


Would you agree that it is perfectly possible to power a car on water - if you use that water to generate hydrogen (which is easily done) and you use the hydrogen in a hydrogen fuel cell?

It's early days. Expensive. Not efficient. But it is possible and is an expanding area of research until Trump drops it

user1484317265 Wed 25-Jan-17 16:26:03

I imagine he meant you can't power a regular car with regular water, which is true.
If we're being pedantic and sure why not, you can actually drink oil. Not a lot of it, and it won't do you any good, but you can.

booklooker Wed 25-Jan-17 16:29:14

Again, I am certainly not talking a someone with any real knowledge, but I imagine that the amount of hydrogen needed to produce the same energy as a bog standard petrol tanker (I mean the lorries, not the ships) would be huge. Even if it was liquified, it would take a heck of a lot of energy to keep it a liquid whilst in transit.

Also, I have a concern about tidal energy, though I have not read of this elsewhere, the ecosystem of a costal area is dependent upon tidal patterns and waves. If the energy is 'taken out' of the waves, this will have a knock on effect that could be awful.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now