A car company based in central China claimed it has built a hydrogen-powered vehicle that could travel up to 500 kilometres powered only by water.
The prototype made by Qingnian Cars in Nanyang, a city in Henan province, made its maiden journey on Wednesday when local Communist Party chiefs visited the plant, according to the Nanyang Daily newspaper.
The vehicle is not known to have been tested over longer distances, but Pang Qingnian, chief executive of the company, told Securities Times that it would be capable of travelling between 300 to 500 kilometres powered by 300-400 litres of water.
“The cost [of research and development] is a trade secret that I cannot reveal,” Pang later told Thepaper.cn. “We achieved this at a low cost, this is our company’s technology.”
Pang explained that its engine ran on hydrogen produced by a chemical reaction when a catalyst is applied to a mixture of aluminium powder and water.
“The water that we are using is ours, we don’t have to go to the Middle East to buy [petrol]. Water is not polluting either,” Pang said.
Pang dismissed experts’ doubts that the cost of making hydrogen-powered engines was too high, saying that the company would recycle the reactants used in the process.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles are steadily gaining in popularity in the new energy vehicles market, although they are far less mainstream than electric vehicles. These vehicles commonly react hydrogen with oxygen to power an electric motor.
To fuel a hydrogen-powered car with water alone, the water would have to undergo electrolysis which creates hydrogen to power the engine.
Various companies and individuals from around the world have laid claim to inventing a water-powered car, but many of these have later been shown to be false.
A local official from the Nanyang Bureau of Industry and Information Technology confirmed to state news agency Xinhua on Saturday that the car was only a prototype.
Zhang Wensheng, the current party secretary of the Nanyang Municipal Committee, and Huo Haosheng, the city’s mayor, were on a business trip and could not be reached for comment.
Qingnian Cars has been developing hydrogen technology with Hubei University of Technology since 2006, the management committee of the Nanyang Hi-Tech Zone said on Saturday.
The car was first successfully demonstrated on Wednesday, but is not currently in mass production, it added.
But many people on Chinese social media remained unconvinced without proof of a successful voyage.
Jiang Feng, a professor of material sciences at Xian Jiaotong University, told Thepaper that people should keep an open mind towards the claims.
He said it was at least theoretically possible to power a car using water, adding that his own experiments had shown it was possible to create hydrogen from water and aluminium.
“If you don’t understand it, at least you should have a tolerant attitude toward it,” he said. “I think making emotionally charged comments is inappropriate.”
This article Just add H²0 to go? Chinese firm claims its hydrogen-powered car can travel 500km fuelled by water first appeared on South China Morning Post