|Type||R & D|
|Founded||October 10, 2006|
|Key people||Kiyoshi Hirasawa, President|
|Products||Manufacture and sales of electricity generation systems R & D of electricity generation technologies|
|Total equity||43 million yen (approx. 400,000 USD)|
Genepax (???????????, Kabushiki-kaisha Jenepakkusu?) is a Japanese corporation that claims to have created a car which can run on nothing but water. According to the company, a proprietary unit, a type of membrane electrode assembly (MEA), breaks water apart into hydrogen and oxygen using a chemical reaction, which provides fuel for a hydrogen fuel cell to run the car.
There has been much speculation about the process by which the vehicle extracts energy from water. Some speculate the car is actually powered by the stock electric system of this model of car, others speculate that it is a combustion based vehicle.
A report in TechOn magazine states that a "well-known process to produce hydrogen from water" is employed and that "This process is allegedly similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water."
It is well known that certain metal hydrides will react with water to produce hydrogen—which could in turn be used to power the car. The problem is that the metal hydride is the "fuel"—not the water—because it is consumed by the process of reacting with the water. Eventually the car would need to be refilled with more metal hydride—and the first and second laws of thermodynamics guarantee that the energy cost of producing the hydride would be greater than the energy produced to drive the car.
An alternative process for producing hydrogen from water uses a Rhenium catalyst, but requires organosilane compounds as an additional fuel and produces silanol compounds as a byproduct. This also conflicts with Genepax's claims of water being the only fuel and the only product.
The corporation's Japanese website explains the chemical process as having water as both a reactant and a product. Furthermore, diagrams on the site do not reference any additional fuel source to power the hydrolysis process.
Genepax demonstrated the car in the Japanese city of Osaka on 12 June 2008. Genepax Claims that one liter of any kind of water—rain, river or sea (even tea, stated the press release)—is all that is needed to run the engine for about an hour at a speed of 80 km/h. However, their claims that a 300 watt engine could drive the car (the weight of which has not been specified) at this speed and for this duration despite wind resistance / Automobile drag coefficients and other energy-draining forces warrants further investigation.
The demonstration vehicle was a Takeoka Reva, a small electric car weighing between 740 and 960 kg whose manufacturer claims a range of 85 km running on its standard set of batteries, which take 8 hours to charge off the mains at 100 V on a 15 A circuit.
Should Genepax validate their claims, no infrastructure would be required to recharge the car's batteries, which is usually the case for most electric cars. The vehicle will supposedly continue to run for as long "as you have water to top up with from time to time." . As the residual product of the engine is also water, this would in principle lead to the development of a perpetual motion engine, in which the exhaust product, water, could be fed directly back into the system as fuel.