Is the solution to our energy needs as simple as a trip to the beach?

The idea is a fascinating one as a Florida man searching for a cancer cure may have stumbled onto a virtually limitless source of energy: salt water.

John Kanzius of Sanibel Island, Fla., demonstrates how salt water burns after bombarded with radio waves from a machine he invented.

In 2002 he was diagnosed with a severe form of leukemia, and began a quest to find a kinder, gentler way to treat the disease compared to harsh chemotherapy.

In October 2003, he had an epiphany: kill cancer with radio waves. He then devised a machine that emits radio waves in an attempt to slay cancerous cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

His experiments in fighting cancer have become so successful, one physician was quoted as saying, “We could be getting close to grabbing the Holy Grail.”

But in the midst of his experiments as he was trying to take salt out of water, Kanzius discovered his machine could do what some may have thought was impossible: turning water into fuel.

“On our way to try to do desalinization, we came up with something that burns, and it looks in this case that salt water perhaps could be used as a fuel to replace the carbon footsteps that we’ve been using all these years, i.e., fossil fuels,” Kanzius said.

If it’s for real, the possible ramifications of the discovery are almost mind-boggling, as cars could be fueled by salt water instead of gasoline, hydroelectric plants could be built along the shore, and homes could be heated without worrying about supplies of oil.

“It doesn’t have to be ocean salt water,” Kanzius said. “It burns just as well when we add salt to tap water.”