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Can we make water?

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Shaun, 24 Jul 2012.

  1. Shaun

    Shaun Über Geek

    I've been reading 2001: A Space Odyssey and the moon visit got me thinking about whether we could make water - for use when we're "off planet" and away from Earth.

    Whether we could somehow manufacture water using a controlled chemical process?

    I know we have an abundance of water here on Earth, but could we make it from scratch to sustain astronauts as we reach out further into space in coming generations?
    amusicsite likes this.
  2. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Source of Hydrogen + Source twice as big of Oxygen surely? Or is my chemistry just as bad as when I was 12?
  3. Night Train

    Night Train Active Geek

    Hydrogen fuel cell.
    Feed in hydrogen and oxygen at one end, get water out the other end.
    By product is electricity.
    BoforsGun likes this.
  4. beanz

    beanz Staff Member Staff Member

  5. Ben M

    Ben M New Geek

    Yep, easy as said, using hydrogen and water.

    You're really clever if you make the hydrogen and oxygen by fusion and fission though.
  6. I was on a business course once where we were split up into groups and had to come up with ideas for money-making products. I suggested that dehydrated water would be a winner ... Imagine the savings in transporting it to desert regions! You can carry an almost infinite amount of dehydrated water in a 1 litre container.

    One person who evidently had slept through all his chemistry lessons at school asked how we would rehydrate the dehydrated water. I said that the most efficient way would be to send out a container of concentrated H2O and use that. He was impressed! :wink:
  7. classic33

    classic33 Über Geek

  8. Natinium

    Natinium Regular Geek

    Forget the moon, I have been wondering why we don't just do this here on earth. There are often water shortages, even in a terminally wet country like the UK. Rather than relying solely on fresh water lakes and reservoirs, why doesn't the government invest in water producing facilities? This is even more true for water deprived countries. There is a lot of speculation that water will become the oil of the new millennium - an essential but scarce resource that will sky rocket in price and be the cause of many wars no doubt. We could just nip that in the bud right now by investing in water producing technologies, if it is as simple a process as people claim.
  9. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    80% of the surface of this planet is water. You just have to take the salt out! :wink:
  10. On today's Giro d'Italia stage, the riders crossed an area with enormous shallow salt extraction ponds. It looked as though sea water was let in to be evaporated by the sun.

    Here you go - Margherita di Savoia Saltworks.

    Of course, that way you are losing the water and keeping the salt. What you'd need to do is to have some giant condensers to catch the water!
  11. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member


    And there are many other ways they are trying it.


    We even have one in London. 150 million litres of drinking water each day – enough for nearly one million people. That's a lot of :coffee:

    Then again in the UK there is more than enough water. It's mainly a case that it's hard work to move it around the country. There are some huge lakes up north with more than enough water. The main cost is whenever you have to pump it up hill, downhill is free. There are many free energy systems we could or do use to move water around. Rivers and canals are good, you can use wind and solar pumps to eliminate some of the costs. Then there are things like the Indians Solar Canal project, put solar panels over the canals and you cut evaporation as well as generating power.

    I don't think it will be long till we crack free energy from the environment (solar, wind, tidal) powering desalination plants that convert water fairly cheaply.
    Last edited by a moderator: 2 Apr 2014
  12. Shaun

    Shaun Über Geek

    Interesting - I visited the site in the hope of seeing how they scoop up the salt without taking the earth underneath with it and after checking the pictures and (rather long winded) video, I'm still none the wiser?!!!
  13. I didn't get that far!

    I was just impressed by the helicopter shots this afternoon while I was watching the cycling. It almost looked like somebody had built a network of narrow roads out into the sea!

    That reminded me of a strange lagoon in the coastal town of Calpe on the Costa Blanca. I used to cycle past it most days on my Spanish cycling holidays and wondered what it was for. I just checked and apparently it dates back to pre-Roman times. Salt was collected there for hundreds of years.
  14. Alex H

    Alex H Senior Geek

    Central France
    We don't need to produce any more water - just use it more efficiently. In the UK we use fresh, processed water for everything - washing the car, watering the garden, flushing the toilet. Why not use rainwater harvesting for these tasks? I know it would be difficult to retrofit houses with the technology for the toilet, but a water butt on every house would go a long way to reducing consumption of the good stuff. Here in France it's possible to buy a kit consisting of a 5000l undergound tank, water pump and associated tubing to collect rainwater and use it for the garden in the major DIY stores.

    In my particular case I have nearly 3000l of water butt storage for garden / building use. However, I did calculate that in a average year over 235,000l of water falls on the roof of my house / barn :eek:
    Shaun and amusicsite like this.
  15. OhioTom76

    OhioTom76 Active Geek

    I forget where I heard about it, but there are some people working on machines that can extract water out of plain air, which is perhaps just as good. It's kind of along the lines of a dehumidifier but it produces a lot more water which is also potable. I'm not sure what effects it would have if these things were being run on a large scale though. It might be fine running a few in a lab setting, but if they were running all over the place, it could potentially change climates in certain areas I would guess.
  16. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Active Geek

    Virtual World
    Making one's own water never was strange to me at all because of the fridge, particularly in the freezer area, where ice and therefore water is produced by means of a chemical process.