Skip to comments.Making fire from water
Posted on 10/29/2013 8:32:16 AM PDT by Phillyred
A portable device that makes fire from water has been developed within a European research project. It doesnt use flammable gases, it produces its own fuel as needed.
Andrew Ellis, a research technologist with ITM Power, explained: This is an electrolyzer system weve got here. Its been developed to use a standard mains electricity supply, and water. The water is split into hydrogen and oxygen gases and fed into a torch where a flame is produced, which can then be used for brazing or any other industrial application where flame is used. So its just using water to make a flame, basically.
Traditionally, the use of electrolyzers has been limited by the high costs of membranes and of catalysts requiring platinum or other precious metals. The researchers wanted to make this technology more affordable.
Andrew Ellis said: Weve got a whole team of chemists working on new formulations of membrane, which have shown increases in the performance of the electrolyzer. Weve also been doing lots of research on catalysts, trying to reduce the amount of platinum and looking into much cheaper materials that can be used in the cells. And this research has led to big reduction in the cost of electrolyzer systems.
Hydrogen and oxygen are recombined at the very tip of the torch, creating a flame that is cooler and much easier to handle than commonly-used mixtures of oxygen with propane or acetylene.
Rory Olney, a welding consultant, said: You can see from the flame that its a lot softer compared to something like an oxy-acetylene flame. Theres no actual hot spot just off the tip of the nozzle, so glare from the flame is a lot less aggressive on your eyes. So you see Im just wearing clear goggles.
Pressurized bottles containing acetylene are dangerous and inconvenient. Their use is banned in locations where gas leakage could be too risky. And the hot oxyacetylene flame requires extra care when working with sensitive metals such as aluminium.
Steven Baines, a specialist in materials and joining, and the TWI/SafeFlame Project Coordinator, said: We have high temperature, high velocity, which can melt the workpiece very quickly, and thats one of the principle downsides.
Hydrogen-based flame is more gentle, and cleaner too, because it only produces water when it burns.
Nick Ludford, a materials scientist with TWI, said that compared to acetylene gas, they anticipate that the cost of the gas in their new unit would be at least 20 times cheaper than acetylene because of the absence of expenses like gas storage, insurance, and transport.
Small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to assess these advantages in the near future when the technology is expected to become commercially available.
Right now, the prototype electrolyzer system is being thoroughly tested by welding professionals in the UK.
Rory Olney said: One of the main benefits of this torch, this system, is that the torch always remains cold because the flame, as its being produced, burns on the outside of the torch. So its cold to touch, and as Im using it, the torch never gets hot. And when you turn the flame off at the [end] of operation, the torch will also remain cold afterwards, so you can put it down anywhere you want.
For more information, see www.safeflameproject.eu
Copyright © European Commission 2013 / euronews 2013
Is it man portable and can I cook a steak with it?
Welding and cutting steel isn't going to be as fast as with Oxy/Act. though.
Max temp for Hydrogen torch = 3,632 degree Fahrenheit
Max temp for Oxy/Act. torch = 5,972 degrees Fahrenheit
Firewater is not new. Ask the Indians.
Thirty years ago I had a device called a “water welder”. It did the same thing...
Isn’t most cutting being done these days with plasma units?
Depends on what’s being cut. Oxg/Act. is more portable, offers better control, and allows for cutting thicker materials and etc.
” standard mains electricity supply”
OK, so there’s the source of power.
You can not get MORE power out of a system than you put into it. Saying that it gets fire from water is very misleading.
However, a simple method of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen is a very good idea and has many applications.
How long does it have to be plugged in before you can use it. How long once you’ve accumulated enough gas can you work?
Sounds like the age old Brown’s gas deal.
Certainly nothing new.
There have been all sorts of claims about it for a long time.
One HUGE advantage that plasma cutters have over Oxg/Act is the ability to cut any kind of metal. With Oxg/Act, you’re limited to pretty much just cutting steel.
When I was a kid, the pipes in the basement froze.
I was a budding young chemist - mixed up a bunch of lye, added aluminum, I think the gas it gives off is pure hydrogen.
Home made torch! Unfroze the pipes real quick.
I can think of a neat application.
I greatly prefer to cook on a gas stove, but don’t presently have gas available.
Could one of these be hooked up to electric and water and provide a flame for cooking?
Shows how much I know!
“So its just using water to make a flame, basically.
Well if you leave out the required equipment and electricity require to split the hydrogen from water, than I guess the statement is accurate.
And to put it out, you douse it with gasoline.
The electricity is the power source. The water is only a medium to convert electrical energy into chemical energy that is then used in the burning of the hydrogen and oxygen.
It may be effective means of providing heat in some specific applications, but it is not efficient. It will consume more electrical energy to produce heat from burning, than simply running the same electricity in a heating element.
Yes. And it would use more energy than an electric stove providing the same amount of heat, along with the benefit of needing a water source and creating a combustible gas.
No, it's just using heat to make steam to make a turbine spin to make electricity to make water electrolize into hydrogen and oxygen that is then recombined to make heat.
Terribly inefficient process.