Arturo Estévez’s water engine

In Spain, in the 1970s, an inventor named Arturo Estévez became very popular, who designed the motor that works with water, an invention that at the time caused great interest nationally and worldwide. However, there are several reasons why the product did not catch on in the automotive industry.

Arturo Estévez used a mixture of ingredients that had been well known since the 19th century, among which water and silicon stood out. The latter is a metalloid chemical found in some minerals, such as sand, quartz, flint, agate, amethyst, among others. Likewise, Estévez used caustic soda, popularly known as sodium hydroxide, an element that served as a chemical base to make a wide variety of very useful compounds in different industries.

The mixture of these ingredients was used in a combustion engine , capable of generating a spark to obtain the necessary explosion that produces the movement of a car. However, this chemical process was nothing new to leading scientists of the time, so the invention was not commercialized. However, the media attention it received in its time was truly momentous.

Who was Arturo Estevez?

Arturo Estévez was a Spanish inventor who, throughout his life, accumulated more than 70 patents. Some of these might have some utility, but others might seem pretty far fetched, like the idea of ​​putting rollers on roads to generate power when cars pass by.

Estévez became a public figure when he designed a system to recover one of the parts of space rockets once they take off, an idea that earned him the attention of NASA. Shortly after, he unveiled his next idea, the first car powered by a water engine, which promised to be able to reduce the environmental pollution problems caused by the vehicles of the time.

First presentation of the water engine

In 1971, in the Spanish municipality of Valle de la Serena, in the province of Badajoz, Arturo Estévez announced the presentation of the Spanish water engine. At this event, the inventor claimed that he could power a vehicle with his revolutionary invention. At the same time, he mentioned to the press that he would build the first 1,000 water motors and donate them to taxi drivers to reduce pollution.

However, when the press and the interested public arrived at the scene, they did not witness a car from the future or a high-tech device, but rather a hydrogen generator with which Arturo Estévez inflated a balloon. It is important to note that the media in the past did not work like it does today, so despite the disappointing presentation, the story of the water engine became famous and the newspapers of the time continued to publish articles regarding an alleged Inventor of the water-powered car.

Despite the exaggerations of the press, what is interesting is that Arturo Estévez in the presentation demonstrated the process of hydrolysis of water, a chemical reaction in which electricity is used to separate the elements of a compound, in this case, H2O which makes up water. In this way, the inventor separated the oxygen from the hydrogen particles.

However, the problem with this procedure is that the car battery required to separate hydrogen from oxygen had to be larger than the vehicle itself, making it impossible to produce on a large scale.

Second presentation of the water engine

Eventually, Arturo Estévez realized that his water engine could not be carried out, but knowing that he still had the interest of the public, he used another method in which hydrogen could be separated from water with a mixture of silicon. This process had previously been used to fill airships and observation balloons.

In this second presentation, Estévez took a jar of water that contained a mysterious compound, which was silicon. First, he would drink from the jug to prove that it was drinking water, and then he would pour the water from the jug into a 4-stroke Honda moped. For the next step, he had to wait 20 minutes for the right temperature to occur for the chemical reaction that could move the vehicle, which finally happened.

Arturo Estévez’s rise and fall as an inventor

Given the success of his second experiment, Arturo Estévez announced that he would donate the patents to Spain for the benefit of all people. In this way, he caught the attention of the Ministry of Industries and the invention became a discovery of national interest that should be investigated. However, when studying Arturo Estévez’s invention, it was revealed that it had no technical foundation, so the government rejected the project and Estévez’s fame began to decline.

Before completely losing public interest, Arturo Estévez caught the attention of a venture capitalist who still believed in his invention. However, realizing that Estévez’s idea had no commercial future, both ended up fighting in court for fraud, where the judge acquitted Arturo Estévez of the crimes and declared that there was no fraud.

This is mainly because Estevez had no intention of scamming anyone. On the contrary, he did believe that his inventions could go far, he even dared to think that the scientific processes he used stemmed from his own intelligence and not from discoveries made by scientists several centuries ago.

In conclusion, it is important to mention that Arturo Estévez was an extremely skilled and charismatic person who could please anyone who met him. In addition, he possessed some scientific knowledge, since otherwise he would not have been able to build a homemade hydrogen engine.

However, Arturo Estévez’s greatest skill was from the human and social point of view, since he was very clever in hiding part of the information and showing another to attract the interest of a large number of people. Currently, this phenomenon occurs with some regularity, since it is precisely the things that cause intrigue and are shrouded in mystery that most attract the attention of the public.

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