The lure of extracting hydrogen from water in a somewhat real-time fashion in sufficient quantities to power an automobile has so far been a complete dead-end pursuit. One of the biggest problems is that it takes more energy to release the hydrogen from its water-tight bonds than is actually returned by the resulting hydrogen.

But those basic laws of physics haven't stopped scientists with well-funded checkbooks from trying. The latest endeavor comes from Daniel Nocera of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is being funded by Indian businessman Ratan Tata, who, among other things, heads the global automaker that bears his name. At this time, the total grant comes in at $15 million.

As intriguing as all of this sounds, it bears mentioning that water-powered cars have repeatedly failed in their missions (see here) of offering nearly free fuel for all.

Take the story of the MDI's air car. In 2007, Tata signed a deal with MDI to bring the air-powered car to market and the companies said in early 2008 that the car would require nearly two years of work. We have heard little about it since then except a name change to FlowAir and a lot of skepticism that it would ever see the light of day at all. Will Tata's hydrogen bet fare any better? Thanks to Matteo and Roy B. for the tips!

[Sources: Sify News, ANSA.IT | Image: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade]

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