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Daisy Williams

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As a nation the Australians have invented a great deal, from the refrigerator to the surf ski. But who would have thought that Australia would also be the home of a car that runs on tap water?

Well, such was the vision of an amateur engineer who invented a new type of fuel cell that allows almost any car to run on nothing more than water. The revolutionary inventor, known as Joe, envisaged a world where fuel for our cars flowed as freely as water from our taps.

The invention came about in the 1990s when fuel prices were on a never ending incline . Inventor Joe, frustrated at having to pay high prices for petrol started the process of developing a cheaper alternative. 

After scouting for some simple parts in a local scrap yard, the Australian experimented on his own car, a V8 Rover, until he eventually invented what was to become known as the ‘Joe Cell’ – an electrolysis cell built from stainless steel pipes that runs on nothing more than H2O.

During a documentary series Joe revealed he created the configuration by ‘throwing it together in a weird order’ and that he was surprised when he ‘hit the key and the damn thing ran’. According to Joe, the water in the cell needs to be charged but is not consumed and can be affected by a number of factors. 


Over the past several years, many scientists have invented different versions of water-powered cells. However, unlike the Joe Cell, most of these cells were charged by hydrogen a compound element of water. The Joe Cell, on the other hand, doesn’t involve extracting hydrogen from water, but rather using simple household water.

Many theories claiming to explain how the Joe Cell works have emerged over the years. Among these is the Orgone energy theory, which attributes the Joe Cell to be an Orgone Accumulator – a device that runs on an omnipresent energy source. While other reports claim the Joe Cell generates a gaseous substance that produces energy when ignited. 

The lack of scientific verification has meant the Joe Cell has remained highly controversial amongst the scientific community. Some respected scientists have openly condemned the theory as pseudo-science. While some environmentalist groups have herald the Joe Cell as a reputable invention, which could dramatically change the way we consume energy. 

The Bryon New Energy Charitable Trust have published claims that they have successfully driven a car across Australia on less than two cups of water. The Trust’s founder, Sol Milin, reported to the Bryon Echo Newspaper that the ‘want to find useful power sources for the planet that enables people to power vehicles for free’.  However, the Bryon New Energy Charitable Trust has yet to develop a useful and free source of energy, and in 2012 their reputation was tarnished when Sol Milin was involved in a court case with Dick Smith, founder of the Australian Skeptics

Due to this uncertainty and scepticism the Joe Cell has become the centre point of many conspiracy theories claiming potential inventors of water powered cells around the world are being intimidated to abandon their research by powerful governments and counter movements. 

Information for this article was sourced from a posting on the Gumtree blog.

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