Do cells use water as fuel? The acid-base electrochemical cell theory of cell biology
Water makes up 70% of the cell by mass, and 99% of the molecules. The way cells could use water as fuel is the same way an acid-base battery works. In an acid-base battery, hydrogen ions are excluded from the alkaline compartment, and abundant in the acid compartment. In the alkaline compartment, this forces oxygen from the dihydro state, H2O, into the dioxygen state, O2, with the release of 4 electrons per dioxygen produced. The reverse reaction takes place in the acid compartment. Water, H2O, as fuel for an electrical generator.
Acid-base batteries commonly use potassium hydroxide as the base. In the cell, the gel phase of water that forms at contact surfaces might be preferring to associate with K+ over H+, because of the higher attractive force of K+, spontaneously assembling the alkaline compartment of the acid-base battery. This might also explain the spontaneous accumulation of potassium in cells.