Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The legend and promise of the Water Engine

There I was, racking my brains over what I was going to write in my energy column, The Energy Source in the Budapest Business Journal. For years I have followed the concept of the "water engine" - an idea that it could somehow be possible to build a device that could derive energy from water. Not by using water as an energy intermediary as in the steam engine or nuclear power plant, but by somehow splitting water into its component parts - hydrogen and oxygen - in such a manner that the hydrogen could be used as a fuel to produce more energy than was required to split the water beforehand.

A conversation in New Zealand in late 2000 introduced me to the story of Archie Blue, a New Zealand farmer who purportedly sorted out a way to do just this: power a vehicle using water as fuel. The man who told me the story said that Mr. Blue had used a method of splitting water not by ordinary electrolysis, but by feeding electricity into the water in specifically tuned pulses, thereby breaking the atomic bonds of the water using rather less energy than was generated by the hydrogen when used to power Blue's internal combustion engine.

I would later be told that this is physically impossible, that the physical nature of the Earth with its gravity, the composition of its atmosphere, etc., make the existence of hydrogen in its free state a rather untenable thing - which explains exactly why free hydrogen is so unstable and can be used as a fuel and, moreover, why energy is required to bring it to its free state from water - which is in turn created when hydrogen and oxygen atoms - physically in love with each other as they are - combine. The energy we get from the combustion of free hydrogen, I was told by two highly qualified scientists, is just a return of the energy that was used to liberate it in the first place. Therefore, a system such as the one allegedly employed by Mr. Blue could never produce more energy than was put in.

But ever since high school biology class when I learned that swamp vegetation produced hydrogen using the biological "electron transport chain" and then emitted it as combustible methane - the source of swamp fires - I had a penchant for finding a devious way to produce hydrogen, even it meant violating some physical laws. And the scientists who told me that a water engine was impossible - "just another hopeless attempt at a perpetual motion machine" - did so long after my first encounter with the story (or legend) of Archie Blue. So I pursued the topic on the Internet, which led me to a number of stories about men who had purportedly built successful water-powered contraptions. The most impressive appeared to be an American inventor named Stanley Meyer and a Filipino named Daniel Dingle. Both claimed to use an unconventional, low-energy method of water splitting that enable their vehicles - a dune buggy and a Honda respectively - to fill their tanks with water and drive around without the need for any other source of power. I also came across plans by other "inventors" such as Carl Cella and others that claimed to do essentially the same thing. Cella's plan basically laid out in detail how to build a water-powered car.

Both Meyer and Dingle have received mainstream media attention, including stories in newspapers and on TV stations, all of which did not question their claims.

For a time I was even in email correspondence with a man named Frank Roberts who claimed to have a water-powered car he used as his everyday transportation. He wrote me that he had been in contact with government officials who told him that it was OK to have a water car for personal use, but that it was illegal to sell it. Later he wrote that he was being harassed and that his mother had been either arrested or kidnapped (I forget which).

I also learned - from Internet sources - that Stanley Meyer, some time after driving his dune buggy across the country, was arrested and convicted of "egregious fraud." Prosecutors said he had taken investors' money on the basis of false claims about having invented a new low energy method of electrolysis to make his dune buggy run on just water. Online supporters of his claim he was railroaded and that he was harassed the rest of his life by dark forces that eventually murdered him. I read what was allegedly a scanned copy of a funereal home document stating that Meyer had died from "food poisoning." His brother, meanwhile, (again, according to Internet sources) carried on the marketing of his technology in a somewhat less aggressive manner. Stanley Meyer also appears to have successfully filed for a number of patents for his technology, many of which I have seen. There are several websites that talk about him and Dingle. There is at least one group of tinkers who appear to be working together to replicate this sort of technology.

Is all this water engine talk a load of bunk? Did Stanley Meyer, a relatively uneducated man, get it in his head that a water car was possible and so he set about building it, developing a battery-powered electrolysis device that produced enough hydrogen to power his dune buggy - but that his dune buggy would stop because his batteries ran down, not because he ran out of water? Perhaps he genuinely believed his water car could one day work as he hoped - or perhaps he was even convinced that it did, convinced enough to successfully sell the idea to others (including, a TV news report stated, a Pentagon colonel), but that in fact it was all just a hoax: a battery-powered car that simply used water as an energy intermediary.

The scientists I spoke with had me sufficiently convinced to leave any talk of a water engine out of my column - for now. But part of me wants badly for the water engine to really work. Perhaps the water-splitting developed by Dingle and Meyers works something like Joshua's horn, which brought down the walls of Jericho by finding just the right pitch and loudness. Perhaps our little arena of the universe is less stable than we think and that by cracking it just a bit we can unleash unknown - and hitherto thought impossible - forces for our own benefit? I did like what one of the professors told me after he denounced the water engine as a "perpetual motion machine."

"I won't say it's impossible," he said, raising his brow. "Never say never."


  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger arjane rona said…

    Hi.. Actually most Filipinos like myself and especially those who are considered as inventors and scientist are always doubtful about the 'absoluteness' of scientific laws and 'theories'.
    I don't know exactly why Mr Dingel was not recognize and had not been supported by the government. Many people think that it all boils down to politics (oil/gas having more tax). Nonetheless, as you pointed out, plants have their way of doing it and plants doesn't use electrolysis-- so there must be another way of doing it beside what was known. (that's why it is an 'invention')

  • At 3:08 PM, Blogger arjane rona said…

    By the way, for now we can use another Filipino invention that can help you/world save gas and reduce pollution... The 'hydrogasifier'.

    How it works? visit

  • At 1:35 AM, Blogger retrodynamic said…

    Technology Submission - State of the Art / ·1; Novel Rotary-Turbo-InFlow Tech / Featured Development - GEARTURBINE PROJECT Have the similar basic system of the Aeolipile Heron Steam Turbine device from Alexandria 10-70 AD * With Retrodynamic = DextroRPM VS LevoInFlow + Ying Yang Way Power Type - Non Waste Looses *8X/Y Thermodynamic CYCLE Way Steps. Higher efficient percent. No blade erosion by sand & very low heat target signature Pat:197187IMPI MX Dic1991 Atypical Motor Engine Type / ·2; Imploturbocompressor; One Moving Part System Excellence Design - The InFlow Interaction comes from Macro-Flow and goes to Micro-Flow by Implossion - Only One Compression Step; Inflow, Compression and outflow at one simple circular dynamic motion Concept.


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