As reported in 5/17/07 edition of Erie Times
SPARK O F INNOVATION
How John Kanzius’ push to cure cancer may have discovered alternate fuel
By DAVID BRUCE [email protected]
Charles Rutkowski placed a test tube filled with ordinary salt water into John Kanzius’ external radio-wave generator.
He then blasted the salt water with 200 watts’ worth of directed radio waves, not quite enough electricity to light three 75-watt light bulbs.
Within seconds, a blue flame erupted from the top of the test tube. It then turned bright white like a blowtorch’s flame and burned for several minutes at about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I’ve done this countless times and it still amazes me,” said Rutkowski, general manager of Industrial Sales and Manufacturing, the Millcreek company that builds Kanzius’ generators. “Here we are paying $3 a gallon for gas, and this is a device that seems to turn salt water into an alternative fuel.”
Kanzius, a retired radio and television broadcaster and engineer, didn’t create his radio-wave generator to burn salt water. He designed it to cure cancer.
Now the same machine appears to convert salt water into fuel.
“It was all a fluke,” said Kanzius. “We were showing the device to a foreign official last October. He saw condensation while we demonstrated it and suggested using it to desalinate salt water.”
The ramifications could be enormous. If Kanzius can reproduce the effect on large quantities of salt water, it could be used as an alternative fuel.
Cars could run on engines powered by salt water instead of gasoline. Hydroelectric plants could be built along almost any shoreline.
“It doesn’t have to be ocean salt water,” Kanzius said. “It burns just as well when we add salt to tap water.”
Early tests didn’t work. But when Rutkowski accidentally bumped the test tube while it was being blasted with radio waves, he saw sparks inside the tube.
After several months of finetuning, Kanzius and Rutkowski were able to ignite the salt water on a consistent basis.
“The key was filling the test tube to the brim and then adding a couple more drops,” Kanzius said.
An Allegheny College chemistry professor said that she couldn’t imagine that bombarding salt water with radio waves would generate that kind of heat.
“There doesn’t seem to be enough energy in radio waves to break the chemical bonds and cause that kind of reaction,” said Alice Deckert, Ph.D., chairwoman of Allegheny’s Chemistry Department. “I have never heard of such a thing.”
Kanzius will unveil his generator’s new capabilities today at a news conference but he gave the Erie Times-News a sneak peek last week.
“We discovered that if you use a piece of paper towel as a wick, it lights every single time and you can start it and stop it at will by turning the radio waves on and off,” Kanzius said as he watched a test tube of salt water burn at a lab at Industrial Sales and Manufacturing. “And look, the paper itself doesn’t burn,” Kanzius added. “Well, it burns but the paper is not consumed.” Kanzius has demonstrated his generator’s new use to a andful of people, including U.S. Rep. Phil English of Erie, nd Ed Apsega, general managr of Akron Paint and Varnish, northeastern Ohio-based ompany that helps Kanzius ith lab testing.
with scientific research, having helped design tires for the space shuttle when he worked at B.F. Goodrich in the 1980s.
“But when I saw this, it was the most amazing thing I ever saw and I’ve been around for a lot of stuff,” he said.
“It’s so unique and off the wall. … It’s just amazing that you can do this with radio waves, something that is all around us,” he said.
Kanzius said that he hasn’t decided whether to share his invention’s new use with government or private business, though he would rather try to get a federal grant to develop it.
“I’m afraid that if I join up with some big energy company, they will say it doesn’t work and shelve it, even if it does work,” Kanzius said.
HOW IT WORKS
John Kanzius isn’t sure how his radio-wave generator causes salt water to erupt into flame. He was still awaiting test results Wednesday night but was “99.9 percent sure” that the radio waves broke bonds in the salt water that released flammable hydrogen gas.