The WSJ has an interesting article about why get rich quick schemes that should be so easy to demolish, particularly with Google at our fingertips, seem to attract so many people.
The article reminded me of a piece I published years ago over at my climate site. It was about a company called "Hydroinfra" in Sweden. I want to reprint the article as I still find the subject to be immensely entertaining. In particular, I really really encourage you to look at the comments section of this article linked towards the bottom and see the back and forth with reader "michael". In the face of overwhelming skepticism from pretty much every other reader, Michael desperately wants to believe -- so much so that he and a few others start heaping derision and sinister motives (interspersed with spurious appeals to authority) on those who are trying to patiently explain the science. One can see this same desperate behavior from those who have bought into every famous pyramid scheme ever.
I got an email today from some random Gmail account asking me to write about HyrdoInfra. OK. The email begins: “HydroInfra Technologies (HIT) is a Stockholm based clean tech company that has developed an innovative approach to neutralizing carbon fuel emissions from power plants and other polluting industries that burn fossil fuels.”
Does it eliminate CO2? NOx? Particulates? SOx? I actually was at the bottom of my inbox for once so I went to the site. I went to this applications page. Apparently, it eliminates the “toxic cocktail” of pollutants that include all the ones I mentioned plus mercury and heavy metals. Wow! That is some stuff.
Their key product is a process for making something they call “HyrdroAtomic Nano Gas” or HNG. It sounds like their PR guys got Michael Crichton and JJ Abrams drunk in a brainstorming session for pseudo-scientific names.
But hold on, this is the best part. Check out the description of HNG and how it is made:
Splitting water (H20) is a known science. But the energy costs to perform splitting outweigh the energy created from hydrogen when the Hydrogen is split from the water molecule H2O.
This is where mainstream science usually closes the book on the subject.
We took a different approach by postulating that we could split water in an energy efficient way to extract a high yield of Hydrogen at very low cost.
A specific low energy pulse is put into water. The water molecules line up in a certain structure and are split from the Hydrogen molecules.
The result is HNG.
HNG is packed with ‘Exotic Hydrogen’
Exotic Hydrogen is a recent scientific discovery.
HNG carries an abundance of Exotic Hydrogen and Oxygen.
On a Molecular level, HNG is a specific ratio mix of Hydrogen and Oxygen.
The unique qualities of HNG show that the placement of its’ charged electrons turns HNG into an abundant source of exotic Hydrogen.
HNG displays some very different properties from normal hydrogen.
Some basic facts:
- HNG instantly neutralizes carbon fuel pollution emissions
- HNG can be pressurized up to 2 bars.
- HNG combusts at a rate of 9000 meters per second while normal Hydrogen combusts at a rate 600 meters per second.
- Oxygen values actually increase when HNG is inserted into a diesel flame.
- HNG acts like a vortex on fossil fuel emissions causing the flame to be pulled into the center thus concentrating the heat and combustion properties.
- HNG is stored in canisters, arrayed around the emission outlet channels. HNG is injected into the outlets to safely & effectively clean up the burning of fossil fuels.
- The pollution emissions are neutralized instantly & safely with no residual toxic cocktail or chemicals to manage after the HNG burning process is initiated.
Exotic Hyrdrogen! I love it. This is probably a component of the “red matter” in the Abrams Star Trek reboot. Honestly, someone please tell me this a joke, a honeypot for mindless environmental activist drones. What are the chemical reactions going on here? If CO2 is captured, what form does it take? How does a mixture of Hydrogen and Oxygen molecules in whatever state they are in do anything with heavy metals? None of this is on the website. On their “validation” page, they have big labels like “Horiba” that look like organizations thave somehow put their imprimatur on the study. In fact, they are just names of analytical equipment makers. It’s like putting “IBM” in big print on your climate study because you ran your model on an IBM computer.
SCAM! Honestly, when you see an article written to attract investment that sounds sort of impressive to laymen but makes absolutely no sense to anyone who knows the smallest about of Chemistry or Physics, it is an investment scam.
But they seem to get a lot of positive press. In my search of Google, everything in the first ten pages or so are just uncritical republication of their press releases in environmental and business blogs. You actually have to go into the comments sections of these articles to find anyone willing to observe this is all total BS. If you want to totally understand why the global warming debate gets nowhere, watch commenter Michael at this link desperately try to hold onto his faith in HydroInfra while people who actually know things try to explain why this makes no sense.
Years later, doing a Google search, I still seem to be the only person in the first 10 pages of Google results that wrote a skeptical article. Seriously, I figured out this was all bullsh*t from about 60 seconds of studying their web site -- is this really what happens in tech journalism? I got the same press release in my box that they did. I (and many of the tech site commenters) figured this out quickly, why didn't any actual journalists?