Editor’s note: With this post we welcome Shom Teoh to the Celsias writing team. Shom is from Malaysia and currently lives in Kyoto, Japan where she is pursuing her MSc in Environmental Management at Kyoto University. Her specialty is Global Ecological Economics. She has also worked as a technology journalist and as a Communications Officer for UNDP Malaysia's Energy and Environment Division. Shom starts us out with news of some new, clean car technology out of Japan. Could this be the end of high oil prices? Genepax, a Japanese company, may have a breakthrough solution to global warming as it has just unveiled an eco-friendly car prototype that is claimed to run solely on any kind of water – even seawater or tea! With just one litre of water, the car is said to be able to run for up to an hour, at a speed of 80kmph.
Typical fuel cell vehicles take in hydrogen and emit water, but Genepax’s car generates electricity by breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The company says that this is made possible by a technology called ‘membrane electrode assembly (or MEA), which contains a material that is capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.
"It does not require you to build up an infrastructure to recharge your batteries, which is usually the case for most electric cars," said Genepax’s CEO Kiyoshi Hirasawa on Tokyo TV. According to the company, the system alone costs about ¥2,000,000 (roughly $18,000 U.S.) but if mass produced, the cost can be reduced to about $5,000 or less. Some people have reacted with disbelief and questioned the car’s legitimacy, claiming that the technology appears to violate the First Law of Thermodynamics. Genepax is reportedly in the midst of filing a patent for its groundbreaking technology. Without more in-depth details, we can’t say for sure if the car is too good to be true, but this will certainly be something worth watching for in the coming months.