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We report simulations of a spherical Janus particle undergoing exothermic surface reactions around one pole only. Our model excludes self-phoretic transport by design. Nevertheless, net motion occurs from direct momentum transfer between solvent and colloid, with speed scaling as the square root of the energy released during the reaction. We find that such propulsion is dominated by the system’s short-time response, when neither the time dependence of the flow around the colloid nor the solvent compressibility can be ignored. Our simulations agree reasonably well with previous experiments.