A Sao Paulo civil servant develops a motorbike which can cover up to 500 kilometres fueled by just one litre of water. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: Ricardo Azevedo was frustrated with the ever increasing price of gas. So he used his skills as a mechanic and took some tips from his son's chemistry book to build a water powered motorcycle. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) CIVIL SERVANT, RICARDO AZEVEDO, SAYING: "I still haven't developed everything is it capable of, but I did some tests and in certain settings it can go 500 kilometres (310 miles) using one litre of water." An electrical current is fed into a canister of water which breaks the liquid down into hydrogen and oxygen using the process of electrolysis. The hydrogen gas is then used to power the engine. Research into hydrogen combustion power has increased dramatically over the past decade and while the chemical process used to generate energy from water is well understood, its market potential is curbed until a way to safely contain and use the highly flammable hydrogen gas is developed. Azevedo says the environmental benefits of using his water powered bike or other hydrogen energy sources far outweigh the risks involved. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) CIVIL SERVANT, RICARDO AZEVEDO, SAYING: "It does not cause any damage to the environment, on the contrary as it will go on to replace fossil fuels and reduce carbon monoxide emissions." Azevedo is continuing to tinker and improve the efficiency of his bike. He says getting fuel from a river beats stopping at a gas station any day of the week.