Stanley Meyer: An Infamous Invention and Death

By Samuel Belding

With CO2 emissions at an all time high, and with many of these emissions coming from gas-consuming vehicles, it is apparent that changes need to be made in the automotive industry to reduce these emissions and keep global temperature changes at a minimum. There has been a recent surge in the use and development of electric vehicles, which make use of rechargeable batteries fueled by, well, electricity. Some may wonder, however, why aren’t there vehicles that make use of one of the most abundant resources on the planet: water. Back in 1975, StanleyMeyer attempted to bring this idea to fruition with a car powered by his patented “water fuel cell.”

The Technology:

The water fuel cell was designed to take in minimal amounts of

water, have an electric current run through the liquid, which

then divided the molecules into their respective elements: H

and O. Hydrogen atoms would be burned, followed by a

release of clean emissions (meaning ones that would not

cause harm to the environment or the atmosphere). The fuel

cell was also claimed to be able to recombine the hydrogen and

oxygen atoms back into water molecules, which would then be

recycled to continue to fuel the cell. This aspect of the cell,

however, is mathematically and scientifically impossible.

A schematic of the water fuel cell.


Parading a vehicle outfitted with his water fuel cell around the country, Meyer caught the eye of the public, and investors, with his revolutionary technology. Not long after obtaining his investment, in 1996 he was taken to court in Ohio for fraud on account that the fuel cell was using the already developed technology of the electrolysis fuel cell, and was just being marketed as an original idea. Additionally, there was also no evidence, besides eye witness reports, that the car actually ran. No clear videos of the car in motion were taken, which could be argued to leave the investors with doubt in the back of their minds. Stanley had to pay back the investments in full.

An Untimely Death:

In 1998, Stanley Meyer was met with an untimely demise. While in a business meeting with his brother and two potential foreign investors, Stanley began to violently vomit, and his brother claimed Stanley’s final words were that he was poisoned. The coroner’s report stated that Meyer had died due to a cerebral aneurysm. There are those, however, who believe that Stanley’s death was in fact due to poisoning. I will leave that idea up to you, the reader, to decide.


The water fuel cell’s legacy still has many questions surrounding it. The main being: did it actually work? As stated before, there were only eyewitness testimonies backing the water-powered car’s legitimacy. Whether it worked or not, it is easy to wonder why nobody has continued Meyer’s work. The patent for the fuel cell has expired, so anybody could pick up where Stanley left off. If one were to have a breakthrough with this technology, and be able to mass produce it, there would be massive implications on protecting the environment. Having cars run purely on water with harmless emissions could solve many of the global climate problems faced today. It would definitely be a step in the right direction in keeping the global temperature rise at the target +2°C, and make the +1.5°C target a much more feasible goal. Perhaps you, the reader, will become inspired by this story of a man who wanted to help the global climate fight, and create the next great technology to combat our ever rising CO2 emissions.


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