Back in June I posted extensively about John Kanzius RF machine that cracked hydrogen out of saltwater. His last comments at the time were that he believed that his device had achieved unity–and therefor he would go silent. (That is, unlike electrolysis which is about 72% efficient–Kanzius believed his machine was +100–meaning he believed his machine produced more energy than it consumed. Needless to say, everyone around the net has said this is impossible.)

There have been a flurry of new articles this week on John Kanzius RF device for burning saltwater. None suggest, that the process creates more energy than it consumes. Here’s a new video. The video does a good job of sketching Kanzius visit to Penn State. He brought his device up to the labs of Penn State Materials Researcher Rustum Roy. According to the ScrippsNews:

Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, held a demonstration last week at the university’s Materials Research Laboratory in State College, to confirm what he’d witnessed weeks before in an Erie lab.

“It’s true, it works,” Roy said. “Everyone told me, ‘Rustum, don’t be fooled. He put electrodes in there.’ ”

But there are no electrodes and no gimmicks, he said.

Roy said the salt water isn’t burning per se, despite appearances. The radio frequency actually weakens bonds holding together the constituents of salt water — sodium chloride, hydrogen and oxygen — and releases the hydrogen, which, once ignited, burns continuously when exposed to the RF energy field. Kanzius said an independent source measured the flame’s temperature, which exceeds 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, reflecting an enormous energy output.

According to another article:

Apparently, Kanzius’s invention–which uses just 200 watts of directed radio waves, not quite enough electricity to light three 75-watt light bulbs–breaks down the hydrogen-oxygen bond in the water, igniting the hydrogen.

The ScrippsNews continues:

As such, Roy, a founding member of the Materials Research Laboratory and expert in water structure, said Kanzius’ discovery represents “the most remarkable in water science in 100 years.”

But researching its potential will take time and money, he said. One immediate question is energy efficiency: The energy the RF generator uses vs. the energy output from burning hydrogen.

Roy said he’s scheduled to meet Monday with U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense officials in Washington to discuss the discovery and seek research funding.

“It seems like, to me, an interesting set of processes that’s been uncovered,” said George Sverdrup, a technology manager at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

Brent Haddad directs the Center for Integrated Water Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He commented in an email that the “research is located in the right place: at the nexus of energy production and water treatment. But it is too early to tell what the practical applications will be.”

Kanzius said he powered a Stirling, or hot air, engine with salt water. But whether the system can power a car or be used as an efficient fuel will depend on research results.

If its the case that the RF device imitates atomic frequency of the catalyst platinum–then it would be profitable to look for even better catalysts–and imitate their atomic frequencies. One candidate would be Titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Janusz Nowotny and Charles Sorrell are researchers from the Centre for Materials Research in Energy Conversion at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. They have been looking for an economical way to use titanium dioxide to act as a catalyst to split water into oxygen and hydrogen—using solar energy.

Nowotny and Sorrell announced their breakthrough today at the International Conference on Materials for Hydrogen Energy, hosted by the University of New South Wales in Sydney. They believe they have found a way to considerably improve the productivity of the solar hydrogen process (using sunlight to extract hydrogen from water) using a device made out of titanium dioxide.

If you added sunlight to the equation you wouldn’t have to worry about net energy. Just put salt water under glass in the sun and zap it with low wattage RF tuned to the atomic RF of Titanium dioxide (TiO2).

In addition I would suggest that the device be tested with high concentrations of salt in the water — just like you would find after much fresh water had been stripped out by RO. Break down the water to O2 & H2, capture the gasses, burn them to recombine into pure water. Recapture the waste heat energy & feed back into energy source to minimize total energy in. Provides the advantage of electrolisis-based desalination without the electrodes. This Wikipedia electrolysis entry toward the end gives a pretty good sketch of the details.  Just swap out the  electrolysis for the RF generating  device.

This experiment is well documented it shows how the addition of salt
will increase the output of hydogen ten times

Do this experiment and then move on to a radio wave RF device

There’s evidence to suggest that while the RF destabilizes the H20 — the Na acts as a heat sink (like any metal in a microwave oven) –and superheated–cracks the H2 out of the molecule–in a way similiar to methane steam reformation. So maybe water with high concentrations of Na would allow the same amount of hydrogen cracking at lower energy levels. At the very least the RO concentrate might be turned into a new source for hydrogen.

We will get our ideas together and check this out and see where it leads,” Roy said. “The potential is huge.”

Back in the 90’s when the SuperCollider was being built in Texas, Rustum Roy published an article in Physics Today questioning the enormous amount of money that was to be spent on this, and presumably diverted from other areas of scientific research. Leon Lederman, a Nobel Prize winner and SuperCollider backer, responded in a letter that questioned whether Rustum Roy was even a real person. Another writer then pointed out that making fun of Roy’s name was a sign that the SuperCollider backers did not have a valid argument. Not too long after this the SuperCollider was defunded.

The Washington Post has an interesting article on new sources of energy coming on stream. Among them is a buoy system. As you read the article below consider Pete Dominici’s line about how you need water for to produce energy and you need energy to produce water. For example, you might use an installed buoy system to pump water ashore. I would wonder however if it wouldn’t be cheaper to drill a pipe like an oil derrick — drilling from shore first down and then laterally sloping up so water flowed downward toward shore. Then you might devise a pipe that got slightly smaller as it came to shore to increase the pressure of the water. There might be as well some way to corrugate the inner walls of the pipe with a pattern of hydrophobic and hydrophilic material such that water would be “encouraged” to flow in a particular direction. Finally, the pipe might come up out of the sea floor 200+ feet off the bottom and end in a mushroom shape. Seven years from now the membrane would be so good it would pass only fresh water through on the underside of the underwater mushroom at ocean pressure without fouling. So the force of the water falling down the stem of the mushroom and then the slope, slimming and hydrophobic/hydrophillic pattern of the pipe moving water toward shore would generate enough pressure to bring the water to the surface on shore under pressure.

In short you wouldn’t need the expensive buoy system to pump water ashore. The water would go passively–perhaps requiring less maintenance. That said, here’s the article and some cool graphics.

Beyond Wind and Solar, a New Generation of Clean Energy

By Juliet Eilperin

Washington Post Staff Writer
(Article Link Here) Saturday, September 1, 2007; A01 (Graphics Link Here)

SOURCE: Finavera | GRAPHIC: By Seth Hamblin and Todd Lindeman, The Washington Post – September 01, 2007

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Iron Works has the feel of a World War II-era shipyard, with sparks flying from welders’ torches and massive hydraulic presses flattening large sheets of metal. But this factory floor represents the cutting edge of American renewable-energy technology.

The plant is assembling a test buoy for Finavera Renewables, a Canadian company that hopes to harness ocean waves off the coast of Oregon to produce electricity for U.S. consumers. And Finavera is not Iron Works’ only alternative-energy client: So many companies have approached it with ideas that it has created a “renewable-energy projects manager” to oversee them.

“In the last year, it’s just exploded with ideas out there,” said Vice President Chandra Brown. “We like to build these creative new things.”

As policymakers promote alternative energy sources to reduce the United States’ emissions of greenhouse gases and its dependence on foreign oil, entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly inventive about finding novel ways to power the economy.

Beyond solar power and wind, which is America’s most developed renewable-energy sector, a host of companies are exploring a variety of more obscure technologies. Researchers are trying to come up with ways to turn algae into diesel fuel. In landfills, startups are attempting to wring energy out of waste such as leaves, tires and “car fluff” from junked automobiles.

This push for lesser-known renewables — which also includes geothermal, solar thermal and tidal energy — may someday help ease the country’s transition to a society less reliant on carbon-based fuels. But many of these technologies are in their infancy, and it remains to be seen whether they can move to the marketplace and come close to meeting the country’s total energy needs.

Some technologies are more advanced, though still small in the nation’s overall energy mix. Nevada boasts 15 geothermal plants, with the capacity to generate enough electricity for 73,000 homes. California utilities are looking at solar technology that would use mirrors to heat water and spin turbines in desert power plants.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), whose Bainbridge Island home overlooks Puget Sound, said that after being thrashed around by the ocean as he kayaked near his house, he became convinced that efforts such as Finavera’s could succeed.

“There’s just such an enormous power out there,” Inslee said, noting that there is nearly 900 times as much energy in a cubic meter of moving water as in a cubic meter of air. “I was wondering how we could capture that.”

Finavera’s chief executive, Jason Bak, believes he knows how. The equipment his company designed, called AquaBuOY, aims to generate electricity from the vertical motion of waves. The buoy, anchored in an array two to three miles offshore, will convert the waves’ motion into pressurized water using large, reinforced-rubber hose pumps. As the buoy goes up the peak of a wave and down into its trough, it forces a piston in the bottom of the buoy to stretch and contract the hose pumps, pushing water through. This drives a turbine that powers a generator producing electricity, which would be shipped to shore through an undersea transmission line.

“This is the new source of power,” Bak said. “It’s the highest-energy-density renewable out there. Wind is like light crude oil, and water is like gasoline.”

In many cases, Americans are working with overseas experts who have more experience developing renewable energy. This month, Iceland America Energy — a partnership between Icelandic and U.S. entrepreneurs — will start drilling just west of California’s Salton Sea to build a geothermal power plant to supply Pacific Gas and Electric with 49 megawatts of electricity by 2010.

Magn?s J?hannesson, Iceland America’s chief executive, said the facility will pump naturally heated water from underground, run it through turbines to generate electricity and re-inject it into the earth, “making it a renewable, giant battery that can run for 20, 30, 50 years.”

Iceland America has several other U.S. geothermal projects in the works, including a potential second Salton Sea plant that would serve Los Angeles and a home-heating plant for the ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

“There’s huge potential for geothermal energy in this country, especially on the West Coast,” J?hannesson said.

It is hard to predict what portion of the country’s needs could be met by these emerging technologies. The United States is already the world’s largest producer of geothermal electricity, with 212 plants generating 3,119 megawatts. A panel convened by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded in a recent report that by 2050, geothermal plants could produce 100 gigawatts, which would be equivalent to 10 percent of current U.S. electricity capacity.

“That level would make it comparable to the current capacity of all our nuclear power plants or all our hydroelectric plants,” wrote the panel’s chair, MIT chemical engineering professor Jefferson W. Tester, in an e-mail.

A 2005 report by the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry consortium, said there is “significant” wave energy potential along America’s coasts, predicting that it, too, could eventually generate as much electricity as the entire hydropower sector.

Both the Bush administration and Congress are promoting renewable energy through a mix of federal largesse and mandates.

Last month the House passed, as part of its energy bill, a requirement that by 2020, renewable energy must account for at least 15 percent of private utilities’ energy supply, and authorized $50 million for marine energy research over the next five years.

Over the next two years, the Energy Department will offer up to $13 billion in loan guarantees for energy ventures that “avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants and greenhouse gases,” said department spokeswoman Julie Ruggiero, “to make new and emerging clean-energy technologies cost-competitive with traditional sources of energy.”

Still, it will be years before many of these projects will come on line. Oregon Iron Works is nearly done constructing the AquaBuOY prototype, which will be 72 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter, and Finavera hopes to install it off the Oregon coast as early as next week. After testing the technology and applying for the necessary federal permits, Finavera officials hope that by 2010 or 2011 they can operate two wave parks — one off Bandon, Ore., and another off Trinidad, Calif. — that would each span two to three square miles and produce 100 megawatts, enough for 35,000 homes. They plan to start up another wave-power operation in British Columbia around the same time.

Operating equipment in the hostile environment of the ocean poses challenges, however. Josh Pruzek, who oversees government contracts as military marine manager at Oregon Iron Works, said the company uses high-grade steel that is less vulnerable to corrosion, and designs parts to be easily maintained.

The power of moving water can also overwhelm high-tech equipment. In December, Verdant Power placed turbines off New York City‘s Roosevelt Island amid much fanfare, promising to harness the tides of the East River and convert that energy into electricity. By last month, all six of the turbines, battered by the current’s strength, had been shut down. The company is repairing and redesigning its equipment.

Still, such projects are popular with politicians across the nation, from New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D), who is hoping to make his state a breeding ground for renewable-energy projects. David Van’t Hof, Kulongoski’s sustainability policy adviser, said government officials are exploring ideas, from solar projects on the eastern side of the state to biomass energy culled from Oregon’s forests, in an effort to generate 25 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2025.

“Wind’s going to continue to be the king, both in Oregon and the nation, for the next five years,” Van’t Hof said, but that will last only for so long. “People are already asking, ‘What’s next after wind?’ ”

Staff writer Steven Mufson in Washington contributed to this report.