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Engines that run on compressed air

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by Julian_S » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:06 pm

Martin R wrote:Interesting reading - it would appear that whilst some work has been done, early predictions have turned out to be unfounded and as time has passed by, they obviously realised that technically, they were missing the mark.

Usually, when something appears to be too good to be true, it is.

Here's another very similar con artist who tried to remove cash from rich but hard of thinking investors. He has been dead a few years now I think:

Sunday Times Innovation 1 Dec. 96 (

End of road for car that ran on Water

American court finds inventor of water-powered car is guilty of fraud.
Report by Tony Edwards

It appears to be the end of the road for maverick inventor Stanley Meyer and
his water-powered car after a recent American court verdict.

The car was a wonderful, if unlikely, dream while it lasted, offering a
pollution-free future powered by a limitless source of energy. But the
dream was shattered when Meyer was found guilty of fraud after his Water
Fuel Cell was tested before an Ohio judge.
It is rare for an inventor to be prosecuted for an invention that does not
work, but Meyer's problem was that he had been selling "dealerships",
offering investors the "right to do business'' in Water Fuel Cell tech-
nology in anticipation of the day when water would power anything From
domestic boilers to cars and aircraft.
But recently two suspicious investors could not wait for that day to dawn
and sued Meyer to get their money back.
Meyer defended, maintaining his long-held claim that the Water Fuel Cell was a truly
revolutionary invention that could split water into its two constituent
gases of hydrogen and oxygen far more efficiently than conventional
electrolysis. The secret, he said, was to "resonate" electricity at a very
high voltage through water and so "fracture" the hydrogen/oxygen molecular
bond. This, he claimed, opened the way for a car which would "run on wat-
er", powered simply by a car battery. The car would even run for ever since
the energy needed to continue the "fracturing" was so low that the bat-
tery could be recharged: from the engine's dynamo.

Meyer claimed to have adapted a 1.6-litre Volkswagen Dune Buggy to run on
water. He replaced the sparkplugs with "injectors" which, he said, sprayed
water as a fine mist in a "resonant cavity" where it was bombarded by a
succession of high-voltage electrical pulses. He claimed this instantly
converted the water into a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen that could be
combusted in the cylinders, driving the pistons just as in an ordinary
petrol engine.
One of the experts due toexamine the car was Michael Laughton, professor
of electrical engineering at Queen Mary and Westfield University, London,
but he was not allowed to see it. "Although Meyer had known about our
visit weeks in advance, when we arrived he made some lame excuse about why
the car wasn't working, so it was impossible to evaluate it," said
However, the one thing Meyer had built that appeared to work was his Water
Fuel Cell, and it was this device that the Ohio judge called as evidence in
the recent lawsuit.
The cell had been the centrepiece of Meyer's sales pitches. It was a
transparent cylinder of water inside which was a core of stainless steel
electrodes. When plugged into an electrical supply,the cell bubbled away
merrily, producing apparently copious amounts of gas that Meyer ignited
through a welding torch.To the layman it was an impressive performance and
hundreds of small investors signed up, but it did not impress three expert
witnesses in court.
They decided that there was nothing revolutionary about the cell at all and
that it was simply using conventional electrolysis.
Meyer was found guilty of "gross and egregious fraud" and ordered to repay
the investors their $25,000 (xxx£15,000).
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by Firebird1900 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:15 am

The scientific bit:

You need to distinguish between a fuel (like petrol or coal) which is a source of energy and an energy store like a battery or compressed gas where you put in more energy than you get back.

Energy storage

Using compressed air to store energy and run a car is not a scam. Compressed gas is a just a way of storing energy, like any other energy store eg compressed spring, wound up rubber band, battery. But storing enough compressed air safely to get a reasonable range is a big challenge, but it is not a scam and it is not impossible.

You put energy in to compress the air and you get the energy back when you decompress it. Its not a fuel (and no one claims it is, you use fuel to compress the air in the first place) its a way of storing energy. You have to put more energy in than you get back.


Running a car on water, as a fuel, is a totally differnt concept and is thermodynamically not possible and is not similar to the above. The only way to use water is to heat it to get steam or split it it to get hydrogen and oxygen. Yes you can use both these to run a car but again only by putting in more energy than you get back.

So yes saying that water is a fuel (energy source) to power cars is a scam and breaks the laws of thermodynamics.

What has been done to some effect is water injection which is effectively using waste engine heat to create steam, again though you are not geting back more energy than you put in.
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by Julian_S » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:35 am

>Using compressed air to store energy and run a car is not a scam.

It most certainly is when they are using cutting edge technology air tanks, motors and vehicles made from lightweight glued plastic that despite a decade's development can't get beyond a 5 miles range. I could get it to go further by using a rubber band motor or a sail on the roof!

It most certainly is a scam, the designer knows it, yet perseveres with advertising hype in a continued attempt to attract investors and their cash.

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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:21 pm
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