Yes, we know it sounds hard to believe, but a man in Erie, Pennsylvania, has apparently managed to set fire to a vial of salt water with a self-built radio frequency generator. When John Kanzius tried to desalinate seawater with a device he had created to (supposedly) treat cancer, he found he could keep the water burning like a candle as long as it was exposed to the proper frequencies.
Not surprisingly, many in the scientific community initially dismissed Kanzius' claim as a hoax. However, when Rustum Roy - a professor of chemistry at Penn State University - took him up on the challenge and attempted to recreate the experiment, he was amazed to see that it actually worked. And, no, there were no tricks to it either (or electrodes, as many thought). According to Roy, the salt water itself isn't actually burning - what happens is that the radio frequency helps weaken the bonds holding together the water's constituents, releasing the bound hydrogen which burns when exposed to the frequency's energy field. At a temperature of around 3,000°F, the flame reflects a tremendous energy output, Roy explained.
Roy, who deems the discovery "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years," will now take up further research with the Departments of Energy and Defense to investigate its potential applications as a source of alternative energy. "We will get our ideas together and check this out and see where it leads. The potential is huge," he said.
Now we're talking clean energy.
See also: ::Windows With Water Reduce the Need for Cooling by 70%, ::Perchlorates: Turning our Water into Rocket Fuel
Image courtesy of Eonn via flickr