Aqueon Fireplace

By on August 5, 2005

Wow! A fireplace with a real flame that’s powered by nothing but electricity and water.

Heat&Glo has developed this piece of technological art that uses electrolysis to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water, then burns the hydrogen, adding a little oxygen for ambiance. The only by-product is water vapor, which means no need for venting.

This is just too cool, and might it be one of the first steps in producing a method whereby ordinary water can be used to, say, power a vehicle? Or maybe light up a city? How I would envision it is this; the electrolysis process gets a jump start from stored electricity of some sort, which produces a small amount of hydrogen. The hydrogen is used to heat a boiler which drives a steam turbine, which spins a generator, which supplies electricity to continue the electrolysis process, which produces more hydrogen, which continues the electrolysis process, which produces more hydrogen… Get the picture?

Right now I’m sure the efficiency of the system isn’t where it needs to be to become self-sustaining, much less producing an energy surplus, but I say it’s only a matter of time.



  1. A perpetual energy machine! As soons as the bugs are worked out, electricity will be too cheap to meter!

  2. perpetual motion can never happen, there will ALWAYS be energy lost in friction, mathematicaly possible, but physicaly impossible. sorry to burst ur bubble

  3. One thing; no one is mentioning perpetual motion except for the three commentors. What I suggested as a possibility in the last paragraph is not perpetual motion of any sort.

    The Aqueon fireplace uses electricity to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water, and then burns the hydrogen. What I was suggesting is using a similar system where electricity is used to separate the hydrogen and oxygen, and the hydrogen is used to power an engine of some sort. The engine drives a generator that produces the electricity to continue the process of separating the hydrogen & oxygen from the water (which is the fuel), and the surplus power is used for whatever purpose it is needed.

    Again, this is not perpetual motion. Just using water as fuel. I’m not suggesting that it’s possible now, but with refinements in the electrolysis process I believe it will one day be possible for this to become reality.

    Am I the only one who thinks this isn’t such a far fetched idea? Any real physicists out there who think it’s not possible?

  4. I’m sorry for the sarcastic tone in my comment, but I wasn’t sure that the original post was serious. As I understand it, electrolysis cannot be made more efficient.

  5. When you burn the hydrogen, you produce water again.

    So you start with water, put energy in to separate it into hydrogen and oxygen, then burn the hydrogen producing the same amount of water, and no more energy than it took to separate it in the first place. Even if the separation was perfectly efficient, you would not be producing any more energy than you were using.

    Furthermore, if you were, and could convert that energy with sufficient efficiency to remain in surplus, it would be a perpetual motion machine, because you are not using up water as fuel – you produce as much water as you use, so there are no net inputs, but a net output of energy.

    This should be obvious to high school scientist, if you remember what burning hydrogen produces, but for the record, MA(oxon) in physics.

  6. While what you are proposing isn’t a perpetual motion machine in the traditional sense (as it assumes a continuous input of water). But separating water into H and O through electrolysis takes much more energy than burning the H will produce even with perfect efficiency, which is a matter of chemistry.

  7. Nope.

    It produces as much water as it consumes, so you don’t need a continuous supply. Capture the water produced when it burns, and feed it back into the electrolysis, and it is a sealed unit with no inputs.

    Also, separating the water into h and o is just the reverse of burning it, which recombines the h with o from the air to produce water again. As such, ignoring efficiency issues, you are actually talking about the same amount of energy.

  8. separating the water into h and o is just the reverse of burning it, which recombines the h with o from the air to produce water again…

    That makes no sense… If you’re burning the hydrogen gas, some (if not most, or all) of the hydrogen is consumed and converted to energy, so how can hydrogen molecules that have been burned recombine with oxygen in the air to make water? And while one of the byproducts of burning hydrogen is water vapor — which I believe is the result of unburned hydrogen molecules recombining with oxygen molecules in the air — I seriously doubt that it’s a 1 to 1 ratio of water in to water out with the electrolysis process and burning the hydrogen. I’m no chemist, but that just doesn’t click. If it is true, educate me.

  9. these idiots are thinking of this thing as a ‘solve all to electricity concerns’

    where as… i… envision it as a fucking sweet ass fireplace that ill own in 2010

    he makers of it dont claim perpetual motion, or anything like that at all… its the idiots on the forums, lol


    Burning hydrogen will produce a significant amount of Dihydrogen Monoxide, please make sure you read about it’s dangers at before you buy this or similar fireplace or even decide to switch to H2O-based “free” energy.

  11. And while one of the byproducts of burning hydrogen is water vapor

    You got it all wrong. By definition, when hydrogen burns, it combines with oxygen to produce water. A side-effect of this reaction is that a large amount of energy is released (reaction is highly exothermic). This is true of any burning reaction – a substance combines with O2 to produce an oxide and energy.

    Conversely, in order to break up water into hydrogen and oxygen (by electrolysis), an amount of energy must be consumed (as electricity). It follows, from the laws of thermodynamics, that the energy consumed during electrolysis cannot be less than the energy produced when hydrogen burns. Therefore, it is not possible to use a system such as you suggested to produce energy from water. It is possible, however, to use a similar system to store energy. Fuel cells are based on this principle; however, they are quite inefficient at the moment.

  12. while not perpetual motion one coudl use it as an eneergy converter using solar power to produse the hydrogyn from the water should produce some surplus energy from the combustion process (not a real surplus as you could have used the energy from the sun to do something else but it would reduce heating costs in a home to the cost of water and equipement

  13. Yeah, I’m another Ph.D physicist. The proposed scheme is classic perpetual motion. Dozens of people “discover” things like this every week and some of them bombard the Patent Office, which actually has a ‘perpetual motion doesn’t work’ form. What’s really weird is that the manufacturer gives no hint that this thing is just an expensive way to not only waste energy, but wastes the highest grade energy, i.e. electricity. In the real world, low grade energy, such as waste process heat, or low temperature combustion should be used for heating. Electricity for heating is perhaps best used via heat pumps.

  14. Forget perpetual anything. Did anyone see the price tag? Just under $50000! I mean it would be so cool to have one, but that is madness. I wonder it you can get a small table-top version?

    BTW Hydrogen is not destroyed by “burning” it.

  15. Hi all,

    It is true the recombining of H and O2 needs the same ammount of energey that it produices in the decomposition. However it is impossible to get a machine that will fuel itself because there will always be a loss of energy somewhere. In the example of a fireplace; light, radiated heat, sound, ect. This inefficiency is not possible to compleetely get rid of so the prospects of building of a perpetual reaction and combination would be impossible.

    It is a cool thought though :)


  16. People! We are not trying to get something from nothing, or get more energy out than we put in, but think how cool and Earth-friendly it would be to bypass ALL the gas pumps, everyday, thumb your nose at Propane and fuel-up from your garden hose. It is already being done.

    The trick here is to produce fuel at LOWER cost than the current $3.00/gallon for gasoline or diesel – which I’m told is 60%taxed anyway, and bound to go higher in the next few years. Check it out… We ARE running out of fossil fuels FASTER that previously thought or published!!!.

    Extract (on-demand) MASSIVE amounts of Hydrogen for pennies, safely, right in your own home using readily available materials: Water containers (WalMart), Stainless-Steel plates (local metalshop or tin smith), cables and connectors (local DIY shops),good quality acid-resistant hoses (Aquarium supply or WalMart), some 3-liter soda bottles (free) and water < -- imagine that!

    Why not run a 5-10Kw generator on custom/adjustable pureified Hydrogen/Air mix and power your home. Heat, cook, clean and surf with it and NEVER worry about having to gas-up again.

    Plans for doing this and more (Car, Tractor, Diesel Benz and Lawnmower) are avail on French sites (NAUDIN), several AUSTRAILIAN and CANADIAN sites as well. This information is suppressed in the States for a reason

    D/L these while you can! Want more? Just search for waterpower or ZPE and get educated.

  17. Yeah, that DHMO is scary stuff. Lots of people die from it every year. Mostly sailors, fishermen, and scuba divers, but everyone is exposed. ;-)

  18. OK, I’ll jump in. High school Physics teacher here. Electrolysis – Hydrogen fireplace is a more efficient heat source and therefore more efficient heater than an incandescent light bulb or any other heating element that glows with visible light. This is because less energy is wasted producing visible radiant energy. On the other hand, as mentioned above, if you use the electricity to capture and redistribute heat energy that is around, as in the use of a heat pump, If we want to be more efficient, we’d stick the condensers of our refrigerators outdoors like a home air conditioner in the summer and then bring the condenser indoors in the winter to dump that heat we sucked from the food into the house. Let’s stop pretending this is an efficiency issue. Aqueaon is art that costs less to display than a painting with a wall-washer fixture. That’s about it.

  19. cough Thermodynamics aren’t just a good idea, people. Every time you tell the internet you can split and recombine identical molecules and somehow gain energy in a closed system, God kills a kitten.

    It takes energy to split water, at minimum the binding energy of the molecule. The energy you get back when they recombine is the same, but it’s thermal in nature. Therefore to get the energy back you need a heat engine. There are maximum efficiencies which are less than 100% for these things. So says thermodynamics. No free energy machine for you – NO COOKIE!

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