Many people were amazed when they saw TV news footage of John Kanzius apply RF waves to a beaker of saltwater and then set it on fire. If they believed the breathless commentary of the TV news reporter, they might think the homegrown inventor and one-time television and radio engineer had stumbled upon a new source of virtually unlimited clean energy in his quest for a cure to cancer.
But what he had really discovered was a new method of electrolysis, a way to break water down into its components, hydrogen and oxygen. Salt made the water a strong electrolyte or conductor, and the RF waves, which were at a frequency between 13 and 56 MHz with about 200 W of power, supplied the energy. Upon closer examination in labs across the U.S., engineers determined that the energy in the RF waves far exceeded the energy the flame produced — another victory for the Second Law of Thermodynamics. There could be future applications for this phenomenon such as converting excess energy into hydrogen or desalinating seawater, but it certainly won't be as an energy source.
For a video of the phenomenon: http://tiny.cc/gf6s8