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What is the meaning of "what you have in water" in the following sentence,

Burn something and - whether it's melted or not - you have changed its chemical character, because it become bound to an oxidant (often oxygen -- ooh, what a coincidence!?! -- but not always e.g. you can burn sodium in gaseous chlorine to make salt) and released energy, so you will never get back your starting material without putting back into the system more energy than it gave up in burning.

And that's why we'll never have water-powered cars - you can't burn hydrogen any more than what you have in water. Water is hydrogen ash.

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source: Mick Wilson's writing in https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-melting-and-burning

Does "You can't burn hydrogen any more than what you have in water" mean "You can't burn hydrogen any more than hydrogen in water" ?

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What this means is that when you completely oxidize (that is, burn) hydrogen, you have water (H2O). Therefore, you cannot oxidize hydrogen any further than it has been oxidized in water.

Adding in to the sentence you quote:

you can't burn hydrogen any more (any further) than what you have done to the hydrogen that is in in water.

Honestly, it's not a very clearly-written sentence. By keeping the vocabulary simple, the author has actually made it difficult to understand.

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  • Does "what you have done to the hydrogen that is in in water." mean "what you have done(burned) to the hydrogen that is in water" ?
    – user22046
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 2:27
  • Yes, that's what it means - the hydrogen in the water is already completely "burned," and it cannot be burned any more. Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 12:33

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