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A New Way To Make Water, And Fuel Cells

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-in-the-drinking-water dept.

Power 107

Roland Piquepaille writes "You probably know that it is easy to combine hydrogen and oxygen to make water. After all, this chemical reaction is known for more than two centuries. But now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have discovered a new way to make water. As states the UIUC report, 'not only can they make water from unlikely starting materials, such as alcohols, their work could also lead to better catalysts and less expensive fuel cells.' But be warned: don't read the technical paper itself. It could win an obfuscated contest — if such a contest existed for scientific papers." Yet another advance in fuel cell technology; we discussed a different one just the other day.

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107 comments

Wow (-1, Redundant)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226119)

Making water from alcohol! Alchemists have been trying to transmute one element into another for hundreds of years! This is really big. If we can transmute carbon into oxygen, or hydrogen it solves the global warming problem entirely.

The planet has been saved!

 

Re:Wow (0, Offtopic)

datadigger (1014733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226131)

I 2nd this

ohnoitsroland (5, Informative)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226235)

Oh, no, it's Roland!

The Snake-Oil X-Man!

Re:ohnoitsroland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21227205)

This news is a terrible blow to my company, which wants to sell powdered water. We almost have the technology working, although the reconstitution part is a little tricky. But as soon as investors put more money in, we'll have it licked.

Re:ohnoitsroland (2, Funny)

aevan (903814) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227527)

We have tonnes of powdered water here every winter,and amusingly enough, licking it is one of the ways to restore it to liquid water. Just add a label to 'add heat' and you're back in business.

Re:ohnoitsroland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21228691)

I thank you on behalf of my fledgling company. In gratitude, I shall send you a case of powdered single-malt Scotch which you may also lick. It's been aged 12 years, so some of the powder is, I fear, dust. Nonetheless it'll be an uplifting experience, unless you lick too much, in which case it'll be an under-the-table experience.

Don't lick the yellow powder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21229751)

'nuff said....

Re:ohnoitsroland (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230421)

Instructions: Add contents of sachet to 8 pints of water. Stir. Makes 1 gallon.

Re:Wow (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226159)

There is a lot of hydrogen in hydrocarbons as well as carbon. So you generally get water when you burn them, and it's possible that some methods of burning them wouldn't create CO2 either.

For example, it might be energetically favorable to release all the hydrogen from hydrocarbons, combine it with oxygen and leave the remaining carbon in the form of graphite or maybe even carbon nanotubes.

If I knew more chemistry I could do the math and find out if this was true.

No duh (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226507)

The title of this news release certainly wins a prize in the "yeah, so?" category-- lots of starting materials make water, including, among other things, gasoline-- a significant component of your car exhaust is water vapor.

It's easy enough to release the hydrogen from hydrocarbons and burn it (to get water), leaving carbon behind-- that's essentially a description of pyrolisis. Or, if you like, it's a description of how to make charcoal.

Re:No duh (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226755)

I was trying to be polite to the original poster and point out to them that they were sadly (and rather stupidly) mistaken without being inflammatory.

Re:Wow (1)

ammoQ (454616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226925)

If I were to select the form of the remaining carbon, I'd choose diamonds.

Re:Wow (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21229653)

If you actually figured out how to do that DeBeers would shoot you.

Re:Wow (1)

jhines (82154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226227)

I thought humans had proved this one a long time ago, at the first kegger.

Re:Wow (1)

innerweb (721995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226309)

This makes sense. In a normal person, alcohol is broken down into water and sugar inside the body.

InnerWeb

Re:Wow (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226487)

I can name three ways to make water out of alcohol off the top of my head:

(1) Set fire to it.

(2) Pump it into your gas tank and start your engine.

(3) Drink some booze and take a leak.

But considering the amount of energy it takes to make alcohol in the first place, why would you want to get water from such expensive ingredients?

rj

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

bassman2k (409481) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226603)

Making water from alcohol! Alchemists have been trying to transmute one element into another for hundreds of years!
Neither water nor alcohol are elements.

Re:Wow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226707)

Are you dense? Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Hello? The four elements that make up the universe. You keep your post-biblical pseudo-scientific hogwash were it belongs.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226949)

five elements, you forgot alcohol you insensitive clod!

Re:Wow (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227855)

You mean firewater?

Captain Planet (2, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228421)

It all makes sense now!

That "heart" power the jungle boy and his monkey had was alcohol all along!

Re:Wow (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227171)

The alchemists didn't know that... And I think you should see your doctor ASAP, you're badly in need of an irony transplant.
 

Re:Wow (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228693)

Air, water, earth and fire are elements, so the OP get 50%, you get 0%. Signed, Aristotle.

Re:Wow (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226849)

Now if they could turn water into alcohol, the investors would be kicking their door down!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226955)

Great first post...only problem is neither water nor alcohol are elements. Nobody is transmuting anything here. So much for news for nerds!

Alcohol into water? (5, Funny)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226133)

Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Re:Alcohol into water? (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226307)

Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Bah, that old one's almost 2000 years old now.

Re:Alcohol into water? (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226313)

Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Only if you listen to the Christians and only for one man at a time. ;-)

*ba-dum! ching!*

I'll get my hat...

Re:Alcohol into water? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227161)

What, you never heard of grapes?

Re:Alcohol into water? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226485)

That was already done 2000 years ago, that's not really groundbreaking.

The russians do it too, their water (wodka) is quite strong.

Re:Alcohol into water? (1)

phatvw (996438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226611)

Jesus:

For my next miracle, I'm gonna turn water into funk.

Re:Alcohol into water? (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227577)

they make water from unlikely starting materials, such as alcohols,
Big deal, last night I turned a quart of vodka into water, tonight I am doing the same with beer.

Re:Alcohol into water? (1)

The Famous Brett Wat (12688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228257)

That gives me an idea. Attach permanent magnets to the corpse of W. C. Fields [wikiquote.org] , wrap coils around his coffin, and then say you've found a way to turn alcohol into water. Bingo: free electricity.

This religion won't take off (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21229137)

I'm predicting this wine into water dude won't be remembered after 2000 minutes, let alone 2000 years.

[OT] Grammar nitpick (5, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226141)

But be warned: don't read the technical paper itself. It could win an obfuscated contest -- if such a contest existed for scientific papers.


An obfuscated contest or a contest for obfuscation? The fomer would be difficult to figure out, while the latter would reward entries that are difficult to figure out.

Re:[OT] Grammar nitpick (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226341)

But be warned: don't read the technical paper itself. It could win an obfuscated contest -- if such a contest existed for scientific papers.


An obfuscated contest or a contest for obfuscation? The fomer would be difficult to figure out, while the latter would reward entries that are difficult to figure out.

So that would be a Perl contest with government funding rules then?

Re:[OT] Grammar nitpick (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226349)

Reading the post, I already felt thoroughly obfusced. Reminds me of the timy my fsck obfsck'd by hard drive and it all turned to water.

Re:[OT] Grammar nitpick (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226351)

Yes.

Re:[OT] Grammar nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21227051)

Exactly.

Pet Peeve: UIUC (4, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226167)

No one in the state calls it UIUC, except for University of Illinois at Chicago students and alumni who get upset when you call it U of I. Every one else just calls it Illinois. It confuses everyone else when its referred to as UIUC.

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (4, Informative)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226257)

Actually "everyone else" might just be defined to be people who aren't in your state... last I checked there were more people not from Illinois than those from Illinois. (And if you have to pick a segment to confuse, I'd think you'd want to pick the ones who are near the place and can probably figure it out.)

Good to know either way, but whether you like it or not, the majority of folks know it best as UIUC. Sorry that you're so well known and all. :)

Also, if they don't want to be known as UIUC, perhaps a change of domain name is in order...

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (1)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226275)

Ah, I see they have both domains...

It's almost like its got two names each of which might be equally acceptable for use!

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (1)

ArcticFlood (863255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226453)

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (1)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226671)

Oh dear, I'm sorry to hear that. Marketing people really need to get the hell out of universities...

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (1)

ArcticFlood (863255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226765)

Yeah, some tech decisions aren't made for good reasons, such as using Blackboard [blackboard.com] (which is hugely bloated). At least only the new subdomains are being used as illinois.edu instead of uiuc.edu, and that only matters with the login system. However, it is neat having my school mentioned on Slashdot.

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21227827)

The University of Indonesia is in Chicago?

http://www.ui.edu

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226387)

They actually are trying to rebrand the name now to "Illinois" instead of UIUC. The domain is in use(http://illinois.edu/).

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226371)

Every one else just calls it Illinois. It confuses everyone else when its referred to as UIUC.

Who's "everyone else"? Anyway, most of us at UIC just refer to it as Urbana and our location as Chicago.

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (1)

Hesperus (16733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226553)

Uh.. I call it UIUC. For what it's worth my wife grew up in Urbana, and her brother is a physics student living in Champaign (I prefer Champaign myself). Still when we are visiting I tend to say "we're going to Chambana".

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (0, Troll)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228401)

UIC students should be honored to have been mistaken for a real university.

*ducks*

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21229129)

FWIW, as a Californian, the only time I hear UIUC is in reference to the computer science department.

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230549)

I got a degree from UIUC, and the majority of the time I was there I heard it referred to as UIUC. So I'm not sure where you're getting your perspective from, but I do not believe it is a majority. Generally "U of I" is used in a more general sense, sort of like how one would say "UC" to refer to the University of California system of schools (rather than a specific campus). And "Illinois" is of course the name of the state.

Re:Pet Peeve: UIUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231551)

ditto dude I wonder why the get angry all about it when you don't use the acronym

Obfuscation be damned (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226247)

How valid is their conclusion? Is there an expert here on Slashdot that can offer some insight, because this does sound like a huge discovery.

Re:Obfuscation be damned (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226569)

Well, here's an actual link to the paper if someone wants to actually read it: Homogeneous Catalytic Reduction of Dioxygen Using Transfer Hydrogenation Catalysts [acs.org] . Unfortunately, they don't let anyone read more than the abstract without an account or paying $25.

I'm a little offended by the suggestion not to read the paper because it's too confusing. But then, it's not like we can read it anyways without jumping through a bunch of hoops and paying unreasonable sums of money.

Re:Obfuscation be damned (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226687)

I thought I read in the article that the study was funded by the US Department of Energy. Since which is a public research project funded by the US government at a state university kept under a $25 key? I thought the usual stipulation of government grants for research at universities like this, that the results be made freely available to the public. That's why we're paying for them.

Where this some small corporation I might be tempted to scream hoax or fraud when you made a broad claim, try to dissuade people from investigating it, and then charging for details. However I don't know what to think of a university pulling such a stunt.

Re:Obfuscation be damned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232917)

I thought I read in the article that the study was funded by the US Department of Energy. Since which is a public research project funded by the US government at a state university kept under a $25 key? I thought the usual stipulation of government grants for research at universities like this, that the results be made freely available to the public. That's why we're paying for them. Where this some small corporation I might be tempted to scream hoax or fraud when you made a broad claim, try to dissuade people from investigating it, and then charging for details. However I don't know what to think of a university pulling such a stunt.

I don't know where you get your ideas from, but publications have always been like that. The journals don't work for free and traditionally the reader pays. I can tell you that all the scientists I know hate this system, but the money has to come from someplace. I doubt we'd be able to convince our funding agency to fork over another few grand for publishing. The system is better than it once was. The journals used to demand we give them an exclusive copyright license, so we couldn't even print out copies of our own paper. Now most journals allow us to put PDFs on our website. Anyway, I don't know how you can get all huffy and threatening when you know so little about the system.

Re:Obfuscation be damned (1)

Seedy2 (126078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21233879)

Well, they submit the paper for publication, the published get to do what they want as far as controlling access to their publication.
And there are frequently stipulations about where/when else you can publish a paper when you get one accepted by a journal.

Re:Obfuscation be damned (1)

Seedy2 (126078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21233913)

For any other Chem heads out there that were puzzled by Cp*IrH (since Cp isn't an element) there's a wiki at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cp* [wikipedia.org]

Re:Obfuscation be damned (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226959)

It appears that Roland has just seen some stuff about chemistry that he finds very exciting but doesn't understand well enough to explain, similar to the articles on materials and thermodynamics of his that have been linked to here with sometimes spectacular conclusions that are unfortunatly wrong. A lot of reactions with hydrocarbons and oxygen result in some water.

Lets' all chip in an get Roland and Zonk some second hand textbooks so they can write about the spectacular stuff as it is without inflating it to unlikely stuff by accident.

Re:Obfuscation be damned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21227329)

Hydrogen Flammable. News at 11.

Re:Obfuscation be damned (1)

frozenraisin (23152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227763)

For anyone who reads the chemical literature regularly, this is a not very interesting reaction, but they've managed to get some press by using a catchy title to lure those not well-versed in oxidation chemistry. The noble metal-catalyzed oxidation of alcohols by oxygen is a well-known reaction. Most noble metal salts or noble metals embedded on carbon or silica will mediate the same reaction. In fact, the reaction described is often an undesired side reaction in other metal-catalyzed processes. It's amazing what a clever title in a paper can do.

sigh (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226263)

The reaction rate of oxidizing hydrogen or even many alcohols isn't a problem with the catalysts in current use, the porblem is that the catalysts are based on platinum, rhodium etc.. which are extremely expensive. The catalyst in this case is based on Iridium which is also very expensive, if not more so than Platinum. Lcohols are not an unusual starting material for making water and giving off large amounts of energy in an oxidation reaction. Methanol for example, in contact with Platinum in air will oxidize to formaldehyde and water releasing enough heat to eventually cause the platinum to glow red. This is in fact used to great effect in certain fire-starting mechanisms.

Re:sigh (3, Insightful)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226439)

Right, alcohol fuel cells [fctec.com] already exist.

My reading of the blurb leads me to think their apparent contribution is finding an iridium based metal hydride that catalyzes both the oxidation and reduction sides, which I never thought about and didn't know platinum couldn't do. Your example above leads me to think it can so I'm wondering what this is really all about.

Also we have a new reason not to RTFA. The summary forbids us from doing so.

Re:sigh (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227137)

So basically they found a new expensive catalyst to turn a product (alcohol) that is energetically costly to make and that consumes quite a bit of water, back into water and energy. Presumably with some non negligible loss of both energy and water in the process.

Is this supposed to be some kind of exciting news ?

Or maybe it is of interest to chemists because it's some sort of exotic catalytic reaction ?

Re:sigh (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227421)

Or maybe it is of interest to chemists because it's some sort of exotic catalytic reaction ?
we have a winner. There are better energy solutions than using alcohols [which are usually made at the expense of food production]. Food that otherwise could have fed millions of people and saved many lives.

Re:sigh (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228657)

. . . or it could've rotted in the fields because it was no longer economically feasible to harvest or transport the food to the millions of hungry mouths. Food production is heavily dependent on fossil fuels which are just stored biomass. The more expensive it gets to extract and refine fossil fuels, the more attractive using "fresh" biomass for fuels becomes. We just need to produce more biomass than our machines and bodies consume.

WTF (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226273)

Er... Water is pretty much the side product of almost any reaction. For example, you may have heard that ethanol burns relatively cleanly. Translation: Ethanol -> Carbon dioxide + Water
This has almost never not been known.

Re:WTF (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226441)

Yup.

An "unusual starting substance" would be something like pure boron.

Well, I learned last night that you can make your own steroids with Red Bull and Super Glue so it's time to dust off the pyrex!

Re:WTF (1)

dykofone (787059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227707)

"An "unusual starting substance" would be something like pure boron."

My god man, I read that as "pure bacon," and was filled with a rush of visions of a glorious future, in which water was no longer pumped from the ground, but instantly created as a byproduct of the pork industry.

Maybe I've had too much Super Bull Red Glue...

How do they get 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O + Energy ? (0)

xebecv (1027918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226333)

I mean where does one H2 go?

Re:How do they get 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O + Energy ? (1)

xebecv (1027918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226355)

That will be an F in Chemistry to me.

Re:How do they get 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O + Energy ? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226399)

This is elementary chemical equation balancing. In 2H2 + O2, You have 4 atoms of hydrogen and 2 atoms of oxygen, and with 2H2O you have 4 atoms of hydrogen and 2 atoms of oxygen. They are the same quantities for all elements involved. The only difference is to what those atoms are bonded, but conservation of matter is maintained.

Re:How do they get 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O + Energy ? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232645)

>but conservation of matter is maintained
Actually no. The reaction releases energy, so the end products are lighter by E/c^2. Mass-energy is conserved.

Re:How do they get 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O + Energy ? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227425)

The chemistry notation is apparently confusing you: try this for more normal looking math.

2(H*2) + (O*2) = 2(H*2 + O)

Does that make more sense now?

water from alcohol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226367)

That's a discovery!

What did they think happens when alcohol burns?
Or when alcohol is metabolized for that matter...

Breaking News (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226383)

Upon inspection of the molecules it was discovered that they in fact had created Di-Hydrogen Oxide and not water which has caused quite a few deaths of late.

Free Energy (3, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21226473)

All these chemicals are just storage media for energy released by the fuel cells. Where is all that alcohol supposed to come from, Russia's motherlode of vodka wells?

Making the alcohol consumes the very energy released by the fuel cells along with water. If the alcohol is fermented vegetation, that bacterial process consumes some of the energy to process the higher-energy sugars and carbohydrates in the vegetation. The vegetation is the key, because it converts the actual source of energy, sunlight, into those sugars. But by the time the alcohol hits the fuel cell, already over 95% of the sun's energy is lost in other processes before the final 50-80% max efficiency is applied to the usable 5%.

Re:Free Energy (1)

protobion (870000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232673)

Not to mention the inherently low efficiency of light-harvesting in photosynthesis in general which hovers around 1% of total insolation recieved.

Re:Free Energy (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21233179)

The QM theoretical peak efficiency of photosynthesis is 12%. Sugar cane gets 8%, the most of any land plant. But I haven't seen stats showing the average is so low. Where can I find them?

Re:Free Energy (1)

g8oz (144003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21233101)

You're right, but historically, the concentration of energy in a source has been more important than the total efficiency of the process involved in making it. Just look at the oil and gas industry. It hardly efficient to wait 70 million years for decomposed plant matter to turn into an acceptable fuel, but that hasn't stopped the world from depending on it.

Re:Free Energy (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21233205)

Well sure, but that's exactly why I asked "Where is all that alcohol supposed to come from, Russia's motherlode of vodka wells?"

The point isn't some abstraction about efficiency. It's the most concrete point about where the energy is supposed to actually come from, while we get all excited about improving one bottleneck in one segment in one conduit from whatever source to our consumption.

Please, RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226721)

This recommendation to not read the article is suspicious and harmful. I am tired of journalists who interpret scientific research in sensationalist, non-scientific ways and I am tired of the readers who trust the editorial versions of these journalists verbatim without taking 15 minutes to at least read the conclusions of the original investigators (i.e. researchers).

Too many times have the press totally misrepresented scientific findings and the slashdot crowd is guilty of following the popular science shepherds. Go, read the damn paper yourself.

Meh, when I were a lad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21226847)

'not only can they make water from unlikely starting materials, such as alcohols...
How is this news?
Many moons ago when I was at college, we were doing this several nights a week.

Re:Meh, when I were a lad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230431)

College is in your past, suggesting that you are an adult, yet you use "meh" in you posts?

don't read the technical paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21227075)

why?, is too difficult to you, so no one should read it?. btw most comp sci papers are really obfuscated and with no content.

Sign of the End Times (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227101)

Water into Wine - that's a miracle.

Wine into water - that's the work of a beast!

Re:Sign of the End Times (1)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21229567)

I've had the ability to turn wine (and other alcohol based beverages) into water for quite some time. Well... a water-like substance anyway.

Water Out of Alcohol Is Unlikely? (0)

amitofu (705703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227183)

I guess these "Scientists" have never heard of a molotov cocktail. Or an ethanol powered car or rocket. Or anything.

CH3CH2OH(l) + 3O2(g) -> 2CO2(g) + 3H20(g)

What would be unlikely is if they didn't produce water from alcohol. What a stupid summary. TIS, right? (This Is Slashdot).

Re:Water Out of Alcohol Is Unlikely? (1)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228099)

In before five million Sparta jokes.

How does this compare to just burning alcohol... (1)

xebecv (1027918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21227269)

... inside internal combustion engine? By this I mean energy conversion efficiency, and cost/durability.

Re:How does this compare to just burning alcohol.. (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230379)

Fuel cells are about 70% total efficiency or more. Internal combustion engines are about 20-30%. Bigger co generation plants can get to 50%. At this point fuel cells that can compare to the robustness of normal engines are expensive. The rest are more or less at the research prototype level.

a better idea (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228331)

Let's just concentrate on developing more efficient ways of turning salt water into fresh water.

This might not seem like such an important thing to do, but it is. There are nations in the world (even modern nations) that suffer from a constant shortage of water. They could benefit from an easily renewable source of fresh water and would pay dearly for better technology to achieve this.

There's no money to be made in turning alcohol into water.

Re:a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21229201)

Oh... you mean like mexico because we used it all to water our lawns? Or china because they flooded their biggest river and made the water in it nearly undrinkable? Or egypt, same problem as mexico. Hmmm... I think it's not just developing nations.

We actually have some pretty good ways of doing desalinization, but from what I understand they are still very harmful to the bay used. Greenpeace raised a big stink a while back when they were going to buid a desalinization plant in the sparm whale spawning ground. I could be misremembering and mixing all sorts of stuff up, but that's what I recall. I think we'd also be well to focus on keeping the groundwater clean. Water in more and more towns is becoming undrinkable. That water then has to get pulled out of rivers and reservours instead... which we hope ARE drinkable. When the sources for those get developed and their groundwater gets polluted then they have to pull from upstream, and everyone has to get full out water treatment plants... which dump out farther downstream, and generally act as large evaporators further depleting the water supply. OH! maybe you could tell the army core of engineers that cutting all of the trees off of the levis (which this year they decided makes them stronger... last year having the trees made them stronger) greatly increases evaporation, along with killing off many of the organisms which help to purify the water.

Ugh... why do we suck at this so much? It's not that complicated... really. Everyone is all about the hybrid cars, which is a good thing I think, at least people are concious of it (even if it's sudden rise IS a gimic from the car industry so they can still follow the gas laws that pushing everyone into SUV's was supposed to get around) and I haven't heard a peep about biodegradable soap in years. I was rather miffed 2 days ago to discover the place I had decided to live sprayed pesticides, diazanon I believe, a neurotoxin. It also has a pool and lawn in CA which is stupid, we're in a fucking desert. If you want a lawn go live where lawns grow. The problem is... there aren't options. EVERY apt complex has a pool and an fsck'ing lawn.

Alcohol into water (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228423)

As states the UIUC report, 'not only can they make water from unlikely starting materials, such as alcohols,

Okay, I can understand water into wine, but the other way around?

...noranydroptodrink (1)

jberryman (1175517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21228717)

Hate to be pedantic (okay, that's a lie) but the tag on the article is a misquotation.

props and lmao (1)

SoyChemist (1015349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21229365)

First off, thank you to James E. Kloeppel, the author of the press release, for giving credit to the grad student and identifying him as the lead author. Second, I have no idea where water is formally known as dihydrogen monoxide. Hopefully, that was a joke. When I go to see the queen, I will be sure to address it by the proper name. Go Illini! It sounds like the entire press release could be summed up in one sentence. They developed a new iridium catalyst that helps electrochemically reduce oxygen in fuel cells.

hydogenation?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231187)

6 months ago I couldn't even spell hydogenation.

obscfuctation of the obvious (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231905)

"Turn alcohol into water" you mean... with a device called a "match." Just burn it and you get h2o + co2. I don't even know what the hell this article is getting at other than a giant obscfucation of the most obvious chemical principals combined with some rather messed up and nonsensical notations.

This is not about "making water". (2, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21234513)

This is about "generating power in a fuel cell".

Poor Zachariah Heiden made some comment that included the partial sentence "unconventional metal hydrides can be used for a chemical process called oxygen reduction, which is an essential part of the process of making water", and all the context got thrown away.

The actual paper seems to be "Homogeneous Catalytic Reduction of Dioxygen Using Transfer [acs.org]
Hydrogenation Catalysts".
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