Genepax Hoax? Rush to Judgement?

Genepax Doubts?

Genepax’s announcement of a fuel system powered by water has been generating some buzz (see my previous post on the announcement).

To over simplify things for the layman (and I am one of them, so if there are errors, please educate me) the use of water as an energy source requires another source to force the separation of water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.  Genepax claims that their system uses a membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material that allows the necessary chemical reaction to convert water into an energy source.

Some people have slammed Genepax’s invention as impossible since it defies the principles of physics, or as Mark Chu-Carroll calls it, “Perpetual Motion via Fuel Cell.”  They say that there must be a hidden energy source operating Genepax’s system, such as batteries, and Genepax is orchestrating a complete fraud to lure gullible, science-illiterate venture capitalists to invest.

But should we be so quick to dismiss whatever Genepax has to say?  Science has long had a history of disagreeing what is possible or not.  It was only fifty years ago did most physicists dismiss Hugh Everett’s PhD dissertation on parallel worlds.  Today, many physicists have come to reexamine Everett’s work and the idea of parallel worlds is now part of modern astrophysics.

Does it cost us anything to keep an open mind?  Genepax is schedule to hold an English press conference soon where they will demonstrate their system to foreign media.  During that demonstration, I think it would be fair for Genepax to allow someone to closely securitize and examine their prototype car and system to make sure there is not a hidden power source.  If Genepax allows that, would this cause the naysayers to reexamine things?

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21 Comments »

  1. […] Please read my followup post in response to many people’s comments that Genepax’s car is just a […]

  2. 2

    Does it cost us anything to keep an open mind? No. But it costs us a lot to not maintain a healthy sense of skepticism. This should be treated as a complete hoax until Genepax presents a clear, specific explanation of what their MEA does.

    You say that ‘Science has long had a history of disagreeing what is possible or not.’ However, there is a big difference between a disagreement over the cutting edge of research a disagreement over the very basics, like conservation of energy.

    You cannot get more energy out of combining hydrogen and oxygen than you get from splitting them. You can at best break even. This is conservation of energy. Put another way, this system seems to claim to operate as a closed loop from what I can tell, water in, water out. You cannot get out more than you put in. When you pour water in you put in the chemical energy in the bonds, and the thermal energy of the water. That is it. If water comes out, you cannot have used the chemical energy in the bonds, and the thermal energy in a given volume of water is not significant enough to power anything.

    As a final hint that this is a total hoax, look at the power ratings on their fuelcell systems. They aim to make a 1KW unit. That is 1.3HP. Not enough to power a vehicle, even if the vehicle only weighs 500 lbs.

  3. 3
    Alan Says:

    It was not long ago that we where told that according to science a bumble bee could not fly. Yes aerodynamics could prove that they could not fly. Yes and physics proved they could not fly. And yes we all saw them fly and smiled. We are learning new things every day. Some about science and some about people that want to take advantage of others, after all how many people dyed in Africa leaving fortunes that we can have part of if we give someone our personal information 😉 . So at the end of the day this is some thing that wee have dreamed of for years or more. The likely hood of it might be small but we should look and listen and who knows the world could be a wonderful new place soon, thou I am very skeptical so please show me and make my day.

    Alan

  4. 4

    Just so you know, the idea that the laws of physics and aerodynamics say a bee cannot fly is an urban myth.

    It dates to a 1934 book by an entomologist named Antoine Magnan which (correctly) stated than an airplane the size of a bee moving at the speed of a bee could not generate enough lift to fly.

    However, bees do not fly by the same mechanism (hint: their wings are not fixed) and this was known even in 1934. It has never been the case that the laws of physics say bees cannot fly.

    As a simple aside, it makes no sense to claim that the laws of physics say a bee cannot fly–if a phenomenon has been clearly observed and documented, then by definition it cannot be against the laws of physics. It may not be understood, but it cannot be against the laws of physics. The facet that you think that statement makes sense indicates that you do not know what science really is, a fact that saddens me greatly.

  5. 5
    Clint Says:

    I think the system will use pressure to force hyrdogen out of some kind of bladder. Hydrogen molecules are smaller than oxygen molecules.
    If they found a way to do this it sounds very feasible.

  6. 6

    Having a healthy, critical skeptical approach to investigating Genepax technology is not the same as assuming they are a hoax. They are probably taking it live to the public in the way they have because if they had gone privately to some of the big auto-makers, it is likely that
    they would have bought up the technology and buried (as GM did in the 80’s).

    This way the world can see what they’ve done and it will be much harder to hide.
    Don’t assume they’re a hoax because they’re following an unconventional development route. Also, they’re holding press releases and meetings on their technology in a transparent matter. I see no reason to think they’re hiding something or not being forthcoming.

    They don’t claim to not use any other energy sources. They claim to
    (1) not use any fossil fuels and
    (2) not produce carbon emissions.

    If they use some kind of “battery” to do this, fine.

  7. 7
    John Van Ostrand Says:

    Using a battery to split the water molecule and then burn the hydrogen/oxygen is inefficient. The heat loss in an internal combustion engine is like less than 50%. Why wouldn’t they just use the battery to drive an electric motor which is 90% efficient.

  8. 8
    Wayswin Says:

    If I were a bettin man….. I’d put some money down that this thing is also gonna take a sacrifical annode, like an inespensive ingot of zink, that needs to be replaced every so often.

  9. 9
    Suzanne Says:

    I suspect there is something going on here. Just what is that “Membrane Electrode Assembly”? Actually, I suspect that resonances induced in the water molecule by unconventional electrolysis methods (an MEA here, a spiral coil in these downloadable manuals), cause the water molecule to come apart much easier than occurs with conventional electrolysis methods. But being able to repeatedly extract energy where there was none before would shake up all of science, cosmology, and religion. It’s not for the faint of heart. I’ve written quite a long article about it at my site, too.

  10. 10
    Bananaphone Says:

    Just to clarify: an internal combustion engine is extremely inefficient (anywhere from 75-90% of the energy is lost to heat/sound/whatever, depending on the engine).

    Second, a car like this does not violate the laws of thermodynamics, it merely has to get the energy required to split the water from somewhere else, like solar, battery or an exothermic chemical reaction.

    Finally, while I would love to take a close look at the prototype, I can understand why the company is reluctant to release it just yet. Without a product in mass production yet, it would be child’s play for a better funded company to reverse engineer this technology and rush their own prototype into mass production. Certainly I’m skeptical, but in theory, it makes perfect sense.

  11. 11
    Bananaphone Says:

    Oh, and Wayswin, I’d take that bet if I had money to bet. I’m betting they use some sort of oxidizing chemical reaction.

  12. 12

    Not possible in absoultely ANY sense of their definition of “fuel cell.” This vehicle does NOT run on water as it’s primary fuel source for if it does, these are the first human beings to have ever defied the laws of physics (successfully, that is), & thermodynamics and have developed the first perpetual motion machine, a concept that is inherently forbidden by the laws of physics.. for those of you who are physics buffs, you will understand this concept with more lucidity. It is analogous to saying that matter can travel at the speed of light (impossible as that matter will become infinitely dense, therefore massive and its gravitational force will become asymptotically infinite thereby sucking the entire known universe into itself). So, in saying that, there MUST be another source which acts as primary fuel (battery, chemical substrate, etc.) and definitely not water itself. These people have invented an expensive and fancy battery and placed it in a golf cart, coolness, kudos to the 25 years of research to get science-defficient investor’s money!

  13. 13
    Ian Lucas Says:

    Hydrogen can be extracted from water via chemical reaction using
    catalysts – see http://www.physorg.com/news98556080.html.

  14. 14
    bill Says:

    Alan: “It was not long ago that we where told that according to science a bumble bee could not fly. Yes aerodynamics could prove that they could not fly. Yes and physics proved they could not fly.”

    Those are myths. Some scientist or engineer in the 1930s proved that an airplane the size of a bee, moving at the speed a bee moves, could not possibly fly. And that’s correct. Some news reporter heard about it, and reported that science proved bees can’t fly. Ever since then people cite this myth to make science look silly.

  15. 15
    anonymous Says:

    im no pro, but :
    the comments on this side here are interesting :
    http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010326.html

    —-> among these comments you can find a link to a possible explanation :
    http://www.isa.org/InTechTemplate.cfm?Section=Industry_News&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=63705

    but until now its still pure “speculation”, and an effictive ad-campaign 🙂

  16. 16
    bill Says:

    bananaphone: “a car like this does not violate the laws of thermodynamics, it merely has to get the energy required to split the water from somewhere else, like solar, battery or an exothermic chemical reaction …”

    In which case it violates the claim that it “runs on water”, because then, in fact, it runs on something far more expensive.

  17. 17
    gsdfgs Says:

    sorry to say this, but your blog’s background color hurt my eye, it makes me dizzy

  18. 18
    Steve Says:

    It’s certainly something like that:

    H2O + aluminium + gallium ==> H2+ gallium + aluminium oxide (alumina)

    Read :
    http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2007a/070515WoodallHydrogen.html

    But of course you nedd energy to produce aluminium and gallium and to recycle aluminium oxide into aluminium…

    Steve

  19. 19

    we might think about obtaining unconventional sources, like separating the atoms, but in the same time we must consider the risks , like side efects and mutations.

  20. 20
    clubzone Says:

    I can understand why the company is reluctant to release it just yet. Without a product in mass production yet, it would be child’s play for a better funded company to reverse engineer this technology and rush their own prototype into mass production.

  21. 21
    Travis Says:

    People, all I have to say is that it has been along time coming, it was predicted in the 1800’s that water would ultimately be a continuous energy source, and anyone with a little bit a chemistry background can understand physics behind this idea. Need i even say cold fusion. Or possibly a similar nuclear reaction as the sun commits, within it’s entire actions, fuels are world. Are far as shaking up religion and philosophy, i believe they both need to be torn down and reconstructed, i new perspective “environmental holism” not just sentient beings, but it’s complete workings as a whole. As far as religion, i believe the stone age was it’s domination, a period of time when easily influenced minds, had no other resources other then to believe.
    Get Real
    T.H.


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