If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I try to highlight opportunities for amateurs to help make advances in science and technology. A lot of people may think that the days of amateurs working on research in their basements or garages and making major discoveries is long past.
Those people would apparently be wrong. John Kanzius was trying to find a way to use radio frequencies to de-salinate saltwater more efficiently when he stumbled upon something rather surprising: the right combination of radio frequencies applied to the water caused the molecular bonds between the hydrogen and oxygen to weaken, releasing hydrogen gas. In other words, Kanzius found a way to allow salt water to become flammable.
The results were confirmed by Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, and now Roy is seeking funding for the Department of Defense to conduct research into the possibility of using saltwater--one of the most abundant and easily accessible resources on the planet--as a fuel source. The scientists want to find out whether the energy output from the burning hydrogen - which reached a heat of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit - would be enough to power a car or other heavy machinery.