Rising Seawater? Burn It!

Thus saith Science...

The world has been inundated of late with warnings of global warming.  If we are to believe Al Gore, our technology and its carbon emissions have led to rising temperatures, thus melting the icecaps, thus raising sea levels, and causing flooding in places like New Orleans, Bangladesh, the Netherlands, and eventually pretty much everywhere close to the sea.  To prevent the Western world ending as a damp squib, we are called upon to walk to work, use compact fluorescent light bulbs, and avoid air travel - unless, of course, we are Al Gore or some other global-warming celebrity.  The message of the day is, "The sky is falling!  Repent, or be drowned!"

This is far from the first time that a religious apocalypse has been predicted on the basis of a natural calamity.  In the Middle Ages, everything from the Black Plague to the Lisbon earthquake was blamed on an angry God, and the solution to the ensuing horrors was heartfelt (and, if necessary, law-enforced) repentance from sin.  The only difference from today's environmental activists is the name of the worshipped god; it's now Mother Earth instead of Jehovah.

When plagues strike, we no longer rush to the cathedral to pray.  Instead, we run to the nearest doctor or pharmacist, who -- like as not -- can serve up relief fresh from the drug company's laboratory.  Five hundred years of modern science have taught us that scientific discoveries and technological research can come up with a solution to almost any problem in the natural world.  The Black Plague is a thing of the past; we now have advance warning of pending hurricanes; and even earthquakes, while still a devastating surprise, are no longer quite as dreadful as they once were thanks to modern building codes and rescue equipment.

Now comes what may be the solution to the global warming hysteria, and from a most unexpected source.  While we've been awaiting new developments in battery technology for electric cars, improved solar panels, or the magic fuel cell, inventor John Kanzius has been working on... no, not the answer to our energy needs.  Mr. Kanzius has been seeking that other great scientific Holy Grail, the cure for cancer!

His cancer treatment uses radio waves and nanoparticles to destroy cancerous cells.  The RF waves of the appropriate type, are generated by a special machine invented by Kanzius; several are in clinical testing at various noted cancer centers throughout the U.S.  In the course of this testing, an unexpected condensation of water was noted on the equipment, and someone suggested that his device might have other uses in desalinization, to provide drinking water to coastal regions where all they have is seawater.

When Kanzius aimed his gadget at a container-full of seawater, he got a spark and small flame - not what you'd expect.  So he did what every boy in chemistry class so loves to do - he held a match over the container, and lit the seawater on fire.  As long as his RF generator stays on, the seawater keeps burning.

Not directly, of course.  What's actually happening seems to be that the water is broken down by the radio waves, releasing free hydrogen.  As the Hindenburg illustrated so memorably, hydrogen burns excellently.  You can use it as a flammable fuel; or you can feed it to a fuel cell to create electricity.  Either way, your exhaust is nothing more than pure, drinkable water.

The waste from the salt water would not be quite so pure, to be sure; but neither are we quite so likely to run out of it as we are of oil, and it may be found in more pleasant and peaceful places than the Middle East.  Meanwhile, Kanzius says he just wants to license the technology, and get back to finding the cure for cancer.  Only in America could the same man both cure cancer and solve the energy crisis.

As an additional benefit, we need no longer concern ourselves with the rising sea levels of global warming.  With the billions of Indians, Chinese, and citizens of other developing nations eagerly taking to the roads, they are raising their standards of living and energy consumption to those associated with modern life in the West.

So if the whole world drives enough, and consumes enough sea water for energy, we can keep those sea levels right down where they belong, global warming or no.

Stand by for Al Gore's next prophecy:  "Sea Levels Dropping; Urgent Legislation Required."

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Environment.
Reader Comments

It takes more energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, then you get back from burning it.


September 18, 2007 2:36 PM

I thought I read that this new thing Kanzius came up with was actually more than 100% efficient?  That's confusing.  The article at nature.com that Korvus mentions offers no facts whatsoever - strange for an article that blasts the media for not doing more digging.  *Why* exactly does it take more energy?  The nature.com people need to discuss the mechanics of nature more.

September 18, 2007 3:24 PM

Yes, that's true.


What this means, I don't know.  I can imagine several different possibilities though, not the least of which is the long-rumored cold fusion - RF is waves, and wave interactions do very odd things, including creating very small areas of tremendous pressure.  Could high-intensity RF waves be creating enough pressure at the teeny tiny spots where they interfere, as to cause cold fusion in single molecules?  That would create enough energy to get this effect, but not so much as to make the beaker explode.

September 18, 2007 3:44 PM

Listen up!

I liked the first part of your article, unfortunately your solution has flaws i.e. perpetual motion does not work. You cannot get more energy out of a process than you put in. It is possible to change the form of energy from one to another but you will always encounter massive losses.

But reverse-osmosis (desalination pumps) powered by "clean" nuclear power could provide loads of "fresh" water from the sea to dry areas of our planet. The question is who is going to pay for it? Plus I am not certain whether this is the solution to all our problems, but it certainly is a start.

September 19, 2007 4:12 AM

There is potential energy stored within a molecule and holds it together. Break apart that molecule (such as burning) and energy is released. Now, I don't have a clue about the energy required or gained from this process, but citing conservation of energy to say this can't work is as absurd an argument here as it would be in a conversation about any other fuel source.

September 19, 2007 8:25 AM

restassured: water is at a lower energy state. It *takes* energy to break the bond between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms: that's called electrolysis. Burning Hydrogen and Oxygen releases Energy in the form of heat & light, and forms water. Water is a *waste* product; that's one reason there's so much of it. This seawater invention is just a radio-wave powered form of electrolysis, which may be innovative, but it is *physically impossible* to get more energy out the "burning" seawater than it takes to power his RF generator.

Anyone trying to sell you magic free-energy machines that also happen to cure cancer, should be treated with far more skepticism.

September 27, 2007 4:44 PM

Here's a news report showing the thing going, and it sure looks real enough:



November 7, 2007 8:56 PM

Alas, he just died.


Bring on the conspiracy theories - Big Energy bumped him off!

September 30, 2010 2:50 PM
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