7 Steps

## Step 7: Results

I have a 2003 Cavalier. The worst mpg I ever calculated was 28. I was purposfully flooring it every where I went just to see what the worst case scenario was. The best I have ever calculated was 45 while following closley behind truckers(they sure hate that). On average I fill my tank up and go 400 to 420 miles before my "pull over and get gas" light comes on. When my light comes on I am able to put 13 gallons in the tank.
The electrodes lasted for half a tank and I got 500 miles out of it. Assuming I got 200 miles out of the other half as usual: 500-200=300 300miles/6.5gallons=46mpg
46/31=1.48 thats a 48% increase in fuel economy!

-With the graphite I got 510 miles out of a tank. 510/13=39
39/31=1.25 a 25% increase in fuel economy. I'm sure that if I increased the size of the electrode the mpg would increase. The pencil lead is just so small. I will update again.

P.S. My wife ran off with the camera to a florida vacation in the middle of my build. Thats why there are no pictures of the graphite electrodes. When she came back the camera wasn't working.
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thegsmiths says: Jul 18, 2009. 7:46 AM
New to site. So if this is an ignorant comment, please excuse. One of the points that most seem to miss is that the hydrogen is not used to replace gasoline, it is used to supplement it. By adding the hydrogen to the fuel system (via air intake, like NOS) you are then able to decrease the amount of gasoline needed (i.e. make the engine run leaner). The hydrogen makes up the difference so you don't lose power or cause engine knocks. I've used it on a 1990 Ranger with the same results as Jalakohops and have not had any problems with the truck's charging system. It may be because I am only producing a small amount of hydrogen, enough to decrease the amount of fuel needed thereby increasing my gas mileage. The only problem I have is with my electrodes. They do have to be replaced fairly often. It can be a pain, but the amount I save on gas is worth it.
lloydrmc in reply to thegsmithsApr 6, 2012. 12:32 AM
I've read some fairly authoritative stuff on using straight hydrogen in an ICE, and also a combination of hydrogen and fossil fuels.

Hydrogen will still combust sufficiently to run an engine, at ratios higher than stoichiometric. Far lhigher, which is good, because apparently NOx is much higher at that ratio.
oooobabyoooo in reply to thegsmithsAug 4, 2009. 2:13 PM
I've covered this over and over and over in this thread. Hydrogen has no catalytic effect; that is to say that it does not improve the efficiency of combusting petrol in a piston engine. If there's a benefit to be obtained, it must come from the thermal energy yielded from combusting a certain volume of hydrogen produced by the electrolyser. Your truck's 80A charging system connected to an electrolyser will produce completely insignificant amounts of hydrogen. In actual fact, due to system losses (described many, many times in this thread), any electrolyser arrangement will REDUCE fuel economy. One thing is certain, you don't want to run the engine leaner than it is designed for. You risk serious and expensive engine damage (burned valves, holed piston crowns etc) if you do. If you're seeing an increase in fuel economy, you've made an error in measuring fuel consumption, have fixed simple problems like tyre inflation, are altering your driving habits, or something else easily explicable yet so far unaccounted for. I hope you're not simply lying. "HHO" systems will always consume more energy than they can return to the system.
berational in reply to oooobabyooooSep 23, 2009. 12:04 PM
Finally. We are getting to the point. Your statement here: One thing is certain, you don't want to run the engine leaner than it is designed for. You risk serious and expensive engine damage (burned valves, holed piston crowns etc) if you do. is the key. Because of the properties of the Hydrogen the HHO and Gasoline blend the engine can run much leaner without pinging. This is why people who use HHO on carb motors don't usually see a benefit but EFI cars do. The O2 sensors on the car measure only for stoichiometric. Gasoline is 14.7:1, H2 is 34:1. when mixed the final ration is somewhere much leaner than just gasoline. So an EFI car will adapt to the new fuel by pulling gasoline and allowing the car to run very lean. Under load the EFI system normally would add gasoline to get the ratio down as low as 12:1 to help cool the cylinders to increase the amount of air able to fit in. At high load EFI systems go into open Loop mode where they just work off of their programmed number rather than feedback from the sensors. So you still get that cooling effect. With an engine programmer you can pull some fuel out here if you are confident in your oil and cooling system. The flame speed of the blended fuel is much faster too, so you get more power by essentially adding "more timing" I think that these are the effects that are present when people talk of the catalytic effect of HHO. It is not a catalyst in a test tube, but is in an four stroke EFI motor. Even more so if you can reprogram the efi.
lloydrmc in reply to berationalMar 26, 2012. 2:02 PM
"At high load EFI systems go into open Loop mode where they just work off of their programmed number rather than feedback from the sensors"

I thought that was full throttle under load, not just high load.
oooobabyoooo in reply to berationalSep 23, 2009. 12:16 PM
Sorry, this is complete nonsense. An electrolyser system running off a common automobile charging system will not provide anywhere near the amount of hydrogen necessary to make any difference whatsoever to the combustion temps.

On top of that, given the losses in converting mechanical energy to hydrogen (which I've covered so many times that I'm not going to cover them again), these systems will always, always, always produce a drop in fuel economy.

...and if you can't produce a catalytic effect from hydrogen 'in a test tube' you're never going to produce one in a 4-stroke engine.

You can fool yourself if you like- but don't try to fool anyone else, mkay?
sheltieman in reply to oooobabyooooDec 23, 2012. 11:53 AM
You are really becoming a pain. Have you tried to use one or not
oooobabyoooo in reply to sheltiemanDec 23, 2012. 12:18 PM
I don't have to jump off a cliff to prove I can't fly.
berational in reply to oooobabyooooSep 23, 2009. 3:36 PM
I was just explaining what some of the "Catalytic" effects are. HHO may not be a chemical catalyst that you would be able to find by doing analysis only on the BTUs generated. I totally agree that there is no free energy. But there are also a lot of inefficiencies in our gasoline engines that putting in a little more energy may rectify.
oooobabyoooo in reply to berationalSep 23, 2009. 4:27 PM
From Ye Olde Wikipedia: Catalysis is the process in which the rate of a chemical reaction is either increased or decreased by means of a chemical substance known as a catalyst. Unlike other reagents that participate in the chemical reaction, a catalyst is not consumed by the reaction itself.

Hydrogen has no catalytic effect. It does not improve the combustion of anything, petrol included.

Modern piston engines with fuel injection and computerised engine management systems manage to burn 99% of the fuel introduced into the engine. However, piston engines are only about 30% efficient in converting the energy in petrol into mechanical energy. This inefficiency is not due to failure to combust the fuel efficiently, it's due to friction and a requirement to limit the combustion temperatures, both to preserve the integrity of the metals the engine is made of and prevent the formation of nitrogen oxides (atmospheric air is about 73% nitrogen- extremely high combustion temps form NOx). Quite a lot of the heat produced by burning petrol in a piston engine is removed by the cooling system instead of being used to move pistons. Adding more fuel (and that's all hydrogen is in this application) or replacing some petrol with hydrogen does nothing at all to reduce the losses in a piston engine.

Last time: 'HHO' is a HHOAX. There's no way to generate hydrogen using an automobile charging system that will not reduce fuel economy nor will hydrogen reduce the losses in a piston engine. Any technique which removes mechanical energy from a drive system and converts it into other forms of energy will always reduce the efficiency of the drive system, due to the laws of thermodynamics and entropy. There's losses in every conversion.

If you want to improve the efficiency of a piston engine, you must find a way to make use of thermal energy which is wasted and/or exhaust pressure or reduce friction losses.
DLocklear in reply to oooobabyooooOct 19, 2012. 5:17 PM
Only about 15 percent of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling. Therefore, the potential to improve fuel efficiency with advanced technologies is enormous.
Engine Losses - 62.4 percent
Idling Losses - 17.2 percent
Accessories - 2.2 percent
Driveline Losses - 5.6 percent
Aerodynamic Drag - 2.6 percent
Rolling Resistance - 4.2 percent
Overcoming Inertia; Braking Losses - 5.8 percent
www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/atv.shtml
But you are the scientist right? If your day job consists of facts and science Please resign before you kill someone or yourself!
oooobabyoooo in reply to DLocklearOct 19, 2012. 6:16 PM
Where, pray tell, have I identified myself as a scientist? I'll save you some effort looking about- I've said no such thing, because my line of work is immaterial to the fact that "HHO" toys don't work.

Every single thing you have painstakingly enumerated has nothing at all to do with the efficiency of an internal combustion engine, which "HHO" toys are supposed to improve- but don't.
chris73044 says: Jul 30, 2009. 2:37 PM
As I recall "Myth Busters" busted this as a way to increase gas mileage..... If this was as efficient a method as is purported by the claims in step 7 they would be flying off the shelves.....
oooobabyoooo in reply to chris73044Aug 4, 2009. 1:47 PM
Quite so, that was in Mythbusters Episode 53, originally aired on 10 May 2006. HHOaxers worldwide went bonkers when the fellas showed it wouldn't work. Scratch around the web for about 5 mins and you will find HHOaxers complaining that Adam & Jamie employed the thing incorrectly, though they installed it per the instructions provided with the device they bought from some nameless (probably water-4-gas) website.

While HHOaxers really don't deserve any more attention and Mythbusters' producer says this myth will not be revisited, it's worth noting that the HHOaxers' claim that it would have worked if employed not as a primary supply of fuel and oxygen for the engine but rather as a 'booster' is also false.

I've broken down the science into bite-sized pieces several times in the thread below, comprehensible by anyone who wants to understand the science without any preconceived notions about automaker-oil company conspiracy theories.

Hydrogen doesn't have any catalytic effect and jam-jar electrolysers can't make enough hydrogen to replace any significant amount of petrol. Moreover, any load put on the car's electrical system will cause it to burn more petrol. The amount of hydrogen produced, when burned in the engine, will not even 'pay back' the amount of petrol used to produce it.

The worst part about experimenters' "HHO" installations is that they normally omit a flashback arrester. A backfire will ignite the mix of hydrogen and oxygen and follow it through the supply tube back to the jam jar. If one was foolish enough to use a glass jar for the electrolyser, the flying glass shards present a clear and obvious hazard.

Indeed, if this system could return more energy than it consumes, which it would have to do for it to have any beneficial effect whatsoever, every car built since the discovery of electrolysing hydrogen from water (c.1800, meaning ALL cars) would have one.

"HHO," 'water-4-gas' and anything similar are at best nonsense and at worst, outright scams.
mbear in reply to oooobabyooooAug 20, 2009. 7:45 AM
Thanks for breaking down the science behind HHO engines. I haven't read all your comments, but it's good stuff to know. I do have some questions though:

1. Even if the hydrogen isn't useful to the engine, wouldn't the extra oxygen molecule help the engine by enriching the fuel mix? Don't racing fuels have extra oxygen "built into" them, and nitrous systems exist to pump more oxygen into the engine.

2. Could the hydrogen interact with the hot parts of the engine to cool it off? (IIRC, heat is the enemy of performance in cars, just like in computers.)

3. Have you heard of air independent propulsion? It's used by diesel electric submarines to extend their dive time by taking over the hotel services (lights, etc.). It sounds very similar to what the HHO engine is trying to do.

4. Could a fuel cell be recharged by using one of these systems if it runs out of hydrogen?

Thanks again!
oooobabyoooo in reply to mbearAug 20, 2009. 12:09 PM
Regarding point 1: Any electrolysis system based on a jam jar and an 80A alternator will not produce hydrogen nor oxygen in any significant quantity compared to the demands of an automobile engine. Such systems will produce a mixture of hydrogen & oxygen measurable in terms of a few litres per HOUR, certainly less than about 10L/hr. Compare this to how much air an engine actually inhales. A (small car's) 2 litre, 4-stroke engine draws in 2L of atmospheric air with every other crankshaft revolution. So, at 2500RPM (a common RPM while driving at ordinary city traffic road speeds), your 2L engine is drawing in 2500 litres of air per MINUTE. You can see that what you will get out of any electrolysis system powered by a typical 80A automobile alternator is utterly insignificant and will make no difference whatsoever. Regarding point 2: No. The hydrogen you'll get out of a jam jar electrolyser will be at roughly atmospheric pressure and fairly close to atmospheric temperature. If it were liquid phase hydrogen (which would have to be stored at about 3000psi, welding gas cylinder pressure, for it to be in liquid phase) being injected into the engine, the release of pressure would indeed cause a big temperature drop, but that's not what you get from these toys. Hydrogen at atmospheric pressure does not have any magical heat transfer properties, so forget that notion. Regarding point 3: "AIP" systems require the vehicle (a submarine in the examples given in Wikipedia) carry oxygen, stored as liquid O2 or in the form of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) which is chemically separated into hydrogen & oxygen. These systems require MASSIVE liquid O2 (which requires immense amounts of energy to either compress or cool the oxygen to get it to liquid phase) or H2O2 storage tanks. In practise, these methods proved completely impractical even for a vehicle as huge as a submarine, where size and weight of the vehicle is much, MUCH greater than that of any automobile. Regarding point 4: Theoretically, yes, it would be a portable source of hydrogen, but think about what it'd take to generate the hydrogen. You run into the same efficiency problems as you do with these toy 'HHO' systems. You'd need an internal combustion engine (ICE) driving an alternator which in turn drives an electrolyser. The ICE is about 30% efficient (i.e. 70% waste), the alternator is about 60% efficient and the electrolyser is 50% efficient. You'd be better off turning the vehicle's wheels with the ICE than attempting to use the mechanical force to run an alternator & electrolyser to generate hydrogen. In other words, it would be fully impractical to generate hydrogen on the fly for your fuel cell.
mbear in reply to oooobabyooooAug 25, 2009. 8:14 AM
OK. Thanks for the replies. It sounds like we'd be better off using the waste heat from the engine to power a Stirling engine and generate electricity that way.
oooobabyoooo in reply to mbearAug 25, 2009. 11:39 AM
Absolutely! Great idea! You could also think about using cleverly mounted Peltier-effect devices to capture waste heat energy and generate electricity. Good luck. :)
heyzuphowsitgoin in reply to oooobabyooooAug 30, 2009. 11:27 AM
Just as a response to some of your comments... Great info! The only thing is... from my understanding, all good sized alternators produce excess electricity which is then grounded. By increasing the draw from an alternator, there is no excess friction, or any energy being consumed. It is just taking waste energy, and in turn, less electricity is being grounded. With that though, I have heard a lot of people in the instructables community say that they do get better gas mileage with this setup. Since (in theory) to extra gas is being used to generate the hydrogen, is there any chance that pure oxygen from the generator combusts faster? Or do cars have exact oxygen sensors? Or are they just air sensors... I don't think that hydrogen would have any effect on the gas milage, since I think gasoline is more reactive (and in turn, if there is not quite enough oxygen for the gasoline, it will take some of the oxygen from the hydrogen generator leaving free hydrogen to come out the tailpipe). But the reason everybody is attesting to this gas mileage increase is probably since people want to believe it, and then drive their cars slightly less intensely. I guess i just talked my way in a circle, proving your point. Oops! too bad... it was a good idea. One last idea. Since you obviously know your stuff, mind if I run an idea past you? I've seen ways to generate hydrogen from waste aluminum, lye, and water. I'm sure you know how this works, but if not, the lye strips the aluminum oxide off of the aluminum, and since aluminum is so reactive it rips an oxygen atom off of the H2. Would it be possible to make one at such a scale as to just add that to the air intake (with a few tweaks) and boost/power cars that way? You obviously would have to screw with the air intake and add more air... but it's a good concept I think. Thanks!
oooobabyoooo in reply to heyzuphowsitgoinAug 30, 2009. 12:17 PM
"all good sized alternators produce excess electricity

False!

NO alternator produces 'excess electricity'! Ever!

If there's no electrical load on the alternator, the friction drag from the bearings remains. If there is a load put on the alternator, by an electrolyser or anything else, more force is required to spin it... and that means more petrol consumption.

Anyone messing with one of these things who claims better fuel economy is simply mistaken. It's a physical and scientific impossibility to get more energy out of a system than you put in- you will always get less, every time.

Yes, you can generate hydrogen by several chemical methods, but all of them involve breaking down materials made by energy-intensive processes, all of which are impractical for generation of hydrogen in any amount sufficient to make any difference to an automobile's fuel economy.
tmn8tr in reply to oooobabyooooSep 15, 2009. 6:34 PM
O.k. I've been watching here long enough. Alternators do produce excess electricity. This is why they will ALWAYS have what is called a voltage regulator, either internal, or external on older models of cars and trucks. If you don't want to admit it, go down to any auto parts store and as them for a GM 120amp alternator. Have them "Bench test" it. While they are spinning it (at Idle speed I might add), put your tongue on the little bolt with the red plastic circle behind it. Then you might have to ask yourself where your "Load" is really coming from... You are right that the HHO generators might not work on anything bigger than a model airplane engine, now let's just leave it at that.
oooobabyoooo in reply to tmn8trSep 15, 2009. 7:29 PM
Wrongo. Alternators don't produce 'excess electricity.' Ever.

Alternators do produce more than 13.8 VOLTS when being spun above idle RPM, but that voltage is then limited down to the 13.8V system voltage by the voltage regulator. However, if there's no CURRENT (I) being drawn, there's no POWER being generated. P=E*I, so if E=13.8 & I=0 then P=0.

If you're dumb enough to touch your tongue to the output post of an alternator and complete the ckt by touching some other part of yourself to the alternator's chassis, your (mostly water) body is acting as a resistive LOAD (about 15-20k ohms from tongue to fingertip). Your tongue will most definitely tingle. However, if you break the circuit, for example by taking your fingertip off the alternator's body, the tingling stops, does it not? You've then removed the human body resistive load from the ckt.

My points are that there's no 'excess electricity' just waiting to be harvested from an alternator and that any electrical load connected to the alternator will increase the amount of mechanical force required to spin it, meaning more petrol consumption, just by connecting the electrolyser to the electrical system. .

HHOax generators will not increase the fuel economy of any sized engine. Remember, the alternator drive belt loses 30% of the energy taken from the crankshaft before it gets to the alternator, the alternator wastes 40% of the mechanical energy used to spin it compared to the electric power output and an electrolyser wastes 50% of the electrical energy put into it compared to the thermal energy that can be recovered by combusting the hydrogen.

...now let's just leave it at that. ;)
oooobabyoooo in reply to appsterSep 26, 2009. 4:37 AM
First, electrolysers are generally sealed units. If any water escapes down the gas outlet tube from one of these thing, it'd be on the order of a few grams.

Second, there's no benefit to water injection unless you're using very low octane fuel in an engine of ordinary compression ratio (c.7:1) or running an extremely high compression ratio or are getting the same effect from using an intake compressor like a supercharger or turbocharger. Water (or methanol) injection will lower the combustion chamber air temp somewhat and so prevent preignition (pinging, detonation).

Water injection systems pump much much more water than would inadvertently leak out of an electrolyser- we're talking water in the quantity of 10-15% of the volume of petrol, 100-150ml (grams) per litre of petrol. A (500ml) jam jar electrolyser would be empty in about 80-100km if enough water were sucked out to have an anti-detonation effect.

However, the Mother Earth News story, which claims 20-50% greater fuel economy is just bunkum. Water injection allows extreme compression ratios which do produce more power output, but more fuel is required to make that output, too.

Thus, I'm pretty confident "true believers" are not seeing any improvement on the basis of water being accidentally inducted from their electrolyser. They're either altering their driving habits (consciously or not) after installing the electrolyser, committing errors in measuring fuel economy or, most commonly, just lying through their collective teeth.
lloydrmc in reply to oooobabyooooMar 26, 2012. 12:00 PM
"...more fuel is required to make that output, too..." Uhh, no. The increased compression ratio increases the amount of power the engine produces with the same amount of fuel.
oooobabyoooo in reply to lloydrmcMar 26, 2012. 12:33 PM
HHO toys take energy from the engine, convert its form 4 times and lose most of the energy taken as heat pursuant to the 2nd law of thermodynamics and entropy. Hydrogen has no catalytic properties and thus will not improve the combustion efficiency of a standard petrol engine. What tiny amounts of hydrogen are produced by HHO toys will be burned as additional fuel, but this amount is in no way sufficient to compensate for the amount of energy taken from the crankshaft, let alone introduce more energy than the toy takes- consequently reducing fuel economy, but never, ever increasing it.

You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own fact. The great thing about facts is that you don't have to believe them for them to be true. No amount of prevarication and obfuscation will change the laws of physics.

HHO is a HHOAX. If you sell it, you're a scammer. If you believe it, you're a sucker or you simply do not understand physics.
appster in reply to oooobabyooooSep 26, 2009. 11:33 AM
I agree with you wholeheartedly, as one might pick up from my tone. My intention is only to invite the “true believers” to subject their claims to the rigors of scientific scrutiny by considering all variables.

The people who are trying to sell these things are certainly being “economical with the truth,” to say the least. They are of no interest to me. My concern is for those innocents who might fall for these ridiculous claims and wonder why “nothing is being done” to bring them to the market and save us from ourselves. When I read their earnest assertions I can hear the clip clop of Clever Hans doing his multiplication tables.

(For those readers who have never heard of Clever Hans, look him up. He’s just one of the many reasons the Scientific Method is so strict.)

I disagree with you on only one point -- I don’t believe for a moment these sincere souls are lying, just as there is no evidence the owner of Clever Hans was deliberately trying to deceive the public. He “truly believed” his horse could solve mathematical equations. You are correct. They are almost certainly altering their driving habits, taking better care of their cars, measuring crudely and including any number of other unaccounted for variables influencing the outcome of these “experiments.” (I use the term loosely.) But I believe the liars are the exception, not the rule. Most are just innocently wrong, forgetting to assume nothing and measure everything.

“Let the experiment be made.” -- Benjamin Franklin

P.S. I don't know why the third link didn't register. The text should read...

oooobabyoooo in reply to appsterSep 26, 2009. 3:27 PM
I disagree with you on only one point -- I don’t believe for a moment these sincere souls are lying,

Duuuude... go to YouTube and search 'HHO'. You find throngs of 'true believers' who absolutely insist that they're getting a million MPG. You tell them that there's no way in the realm of physical science that they can be getting the results they claim and they yowl like a chastened child, 'How would yoooou know, you haven't built one, waaaaaaaaaaah!!' and they do so because they don't understand the science- but they don't want to be wrong or worse, caught out lying. Most of these asshats are trying to turn a buck off these things, so they have every motivation to lie- and so they do.

The people you don't hear from are the ones who were silly enough to get sucked in and, when they can't get the results promised, quietly remove them and throw the things in the rubbish. Very few people who get sucked in to a scam will surmount their own embarrassment at being fooled and warn off others.

"HHO" nonsense has gone from a simple bad idea with no supporting science to a full-on scam of million-dollar proportions.

Yes, I do understand that there's some people who subconsciously change driving habits or measure poorly and get results indicating fuel economy increases. Those folks are excused- and that's what I said.

The people I have no patience for are the ones who bloody well know this rubbish doesn't work but yet persist promoting it, either to make themselves look like they know something or to turn a buck off the underinformed. You can most easily spot these people by their claims that 'auto companies couldn't work it out but a backyard inventor did' or 'big oil is suppressing this fabulous technology.' They refuse to discuss the science, only the conspiracy. These folks are outright con artists and deserve every bit of my opprobrium.
appster in reply to oooobabyooooSep 29, 2009. 6:59 AM
So we agree. The sellers are slime and the buyers are suckers.

But Instructables is a do-it-yourself site and my comments should be understood in the context of “makers” looking for insight here. I am not as gullible as your “Duuuude” suggests. Everyone knows the internet is awash with scams of every description, but as I clearly stated before they are of no interest to me. Griping about the scammers brings grief only to the griper, not to the scammers.

Fortunately, while members of Instructables might buy the tall tales of the scammers, they are not likely to buy the products. They would rather build their own, genuinely imagining they will achieve results rivaling the preposterous claims of “miracle mileage.” Obviously, these are the “true believers” I referred to as “sincere souls.”

They are wrong, of course, but they are not liars. Jalakahops, the author of the instructable giving rise to this forum, does not seem to be trying to sell anything other than the sincere belief this device might work. You and I both know very well the electrolyzer depicted here, no matter how enthusiastically constructed and presented, is less than worthless, but the author apparently does not. I have no objective proof or even a trace of evidence to convince me “true believers” such as Jalakahops are, as you declared, ”...most commonly, just lying through their collective teeth.” Such a libel is personally (and potentially legally) offensive.

Do-it-yourself means not just build-it-yourself, but also learn-it-yourself. My hope is that this forum will enlighten these tinkerers, not insult them, or worse, discourage them from sincere inquiry. Just as they should not “believe in” the scammers, neither should they “believe in” you or me just because we say so. “Miracle” fixes will always be tantalizing to home hobbyists. I emphatically encourage these earnest (and honest) amateurs to educate themselves through careful practical scientific investigation.

“Let the experiment be made.” -- Benjamin Franklin
lloydrmc in reply to appsterMar 26, 2012. 12:04 PM
"Do-it-yourself means not just build-it-yourself, but also learn-it-yourself. My hope is that this forum will enlighten these tinkerers, not insult them, or worse, discourage them from sincere inquiry"

Exactly, though some people choose to commit that exact sort of discouragement, all in the name of perceived scientific purity.
oooobabyoooo in reply to appsterSep 29, 2009. 3:47 PM
appster, you were not around when the OP was throwing out buckets of pseudoscientific nonsense. All that remain are my replies, where I've quoted the OP. The OP certainly was not a font of wisdom & truth.

While the OP may not personally have been selling the devices, even selling the mere plausibility of the idea perpetuates the hoax and thus the profitability of those who ARE selling them.

'Belief' itself is acceptance of an idea without any supporting evidence. A 'true believer' in general parlance is a person who is convinced, absent fact, and defends to the death not with fact but with false suppositions and conspiracy theories- and that description fits the OP.

I have never asked anyone in this discussion to 'believe' in anything, most certainly not me. You'll note I have studiously avoided discussing myself, my qualifications or lack thereof. To do otherwise is to commit the fallacy of authority. I'm fully immaterial. I could be an engineer or a sewer cleaner and what I've said about this device & technique would still be true.

Anyone who builds before they learn has put the cart before the horse. While a project may be whimsical and fun, that's fine as long as entertainment is the primary goal of the exercise.

However, if the goal is to attempt to do something which is physically impossible, such as improving fuel economy in a petrol engined vehicle with an onboard hydrogen electrolyser, one should understand as much beforehand.

Scientific investigation involves understanding of basic principles of physics. Why build something which you can know with absolute certainty will not work? Constructing an apparatus which is intended to accomplish something which defies physical laws is pointless.

heyzuphowsitgoin in reply to oooobabyooooAug 30, 2009. 4:52 PM
I did further research-you're right! I guess I had false information...

but the hydrogen generator from aluminum... yeah, I know about the energy thing. I never said energy for free... I just meant energy for "free". But in terms of generating enough, check this out: http://www.instructables.com/id/Run-Your-Car-on-Hydrogen-from-Aluminum-Soda-Cans-a/

yeah, it takes alot, but who knows? Maybe you can fit enough stuff on the back of a pickup truck to power it.
oooobabyoooo in reply to heyzuphowsitgoinAug 30, 2009. 5:43 PM
Yes, a piston engine will run on hydrogen. They'll run on any number of flammable gases combined with oxygen in the proper stoichometric ratio. No surprises here. However, I think you'll find that the number of Al cans you'd need per mile in a chemical reaction system would be prohibitive. It'd be a huge waste of resources, to boot. It takes massive amounts of electrical energy to make aluminum out of bauxite but very little to recycle cans into new aluminum products. Worst, the entire reaction system would be a huge safety hazard unless fully wrapped in a ruggedised container to prevent caustic chemicals being sprayed all over the place in the event of even a minor accident. The experimental setup depicted in the link you've provided looks patently hazardous, even though it is immobile. A minor backfire would blast this thing apart and potentially shower anyone within range with lye. It's an interesting experiment, but only demonstrates the well-known fact that a piston engine will burn gaseous fuels, but wholly impractical at best. At worst, it's a very quick way to a burns ward and permanent blindness. Hydrogen is not a good motor fuel due to storage issues, even if produced in a dedicated facility, pressurised or chilled to liquid and stored in tanks. Hydrogen molecules are small enough to pass between steel molecules in the walls of a pressure vessel. It also can cause brittling of certain metals in internal combustion engines. Honda's hydrogen fuel-cell car in fact deliberately leaks hydrogen from its tank to keep it in the liquid state. New technology for hydrogen storage, that which dissolves the hydrogen in certain metals, is available in experimental settings, but remains hugely expensive and thus not cost effective. It will never be practical to generate hydrogen onboard a vehicle, whether by chemical reaction or electrolysis. You can take it as a given that the whole 'hydrogen economy' nonsense is not going to happen in your lifetime.
seabee890 in reply to oooobabyooooDec 9, 2009. 4:27 PM

Your comment brought this to mind, I was curious to know introducing if introducing acetylene would improve things but i believe that the pressures in a cars engine would combust the acy before it could be used. Also what about the O2 concentrators that i have seen for medical use? A spark arrestor would have to be used i understand but I was just pondering and you appear to be pretty good at explaining the faults with different ideas. Thanks and happy holidays.

oooobabyoooo in reply to seabee890Dec 9, 2009. 6:11 PM
The vast majority of the inefficiency in internal combustion engines is not from failure to fully combust the fuel. The poor efficiency is mainly due to friction and the need to maintain engine operating temps low enough that the pistons, cylinder bores and heads do not melt.

Most of the wasted thermal energy leaves the engine through the cooling system and the exhaust. Adding more fuel i.e. acetylene won't solve the problem. Turbochargers do recover some lost energy, but not much out of the ~70% which is wasted.

Adding more oxygen won't help, unfortunately. Adding more oxygen than is needed to burn the petrol will result in higher combustion temps- the excessive heat will have to be removed by the cooling system and also will form nitrogen oxides (NOx), which is a large component of photochemical smog.

There's plenty of oxygen in atmospheric air to efficiently combust the petrol. The correct stoichometric ratio (the amount of oxygen molecules required to combine with the hydrocarbons) for petrol to atmospheric air, which is 14.7:1, is easily maintained with electronic fuel injection. EFI systems have an oxygen sensor in the exhaust flow. If there's too much or too little oxygen in the exhaust, the computer adjusts the amount of fuel being injected to correct the mixture.

The nut is that piston type internal combustion engines are just not very efficient. There's not much one can do to improve efficiency that is practical from a cost effectiveness standpoint.

One thing is certain; adding a tiny amount of hydrogen and oxygen from an onboard "HHO" electrolysis system (tiny compared to the airflow through a piston ICE) will do a whole lot of nothing- and this is the precise result arrived at by numerous researchers.

seabee890 in reply to oooobabyooooDec 13, 2009. 1:01 AM
thank you for the info on the gases, i was remembering that pure O2 will make grease burn and i was curious to know about the application in vehicles. So the trick is to use the waste heat to create energy without wasting more  energy to make the energy than the energy produces in the first place. It really does not matter to me if HHO is the answer(right or wrong it does not matter) what matters is that people are always searching for the answer and a better way.   i am curious about one thing, somebody mentioned a sterling engine and i wonder how much energy it would produce if mounted on a exhaust manifold. happy holidays to all.
heyzuphowsitgoin in reply to oooobabyooooAug 30, 2009. 6:41 PM
A lifetime is a long time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_storage#Metal_hydrides

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_borohydride

I'm not saying that hydrogen is the way to go, I'm just saying that it is definitely possible.

In fact, I believe that if commercial cars were to run on hydrogen, it would eventually lead to a disaster. Think of all the misplaced water and released hydrogen.
oooobabyoooo in reply to heyzuphowsitgoinAug 30, 2009. 9:16 PM
While it may be possible to run a car on hydrogen, it's just not practical. Liquefication, through cooling or compression, is necessary to be able to carry enough of any gaseous fuel to make it into a practical vehicle fuel. Consider for a moment that it takes about 30% of the heating value of a unit of hydrogen to compress it into liquid.

Metal hydride storage of hydrogen is a major improvement toward making it a practical vehicle fuel, but then one must consider the energy inputs required to produce the stuff. There's laws of physics involved there that will never change, not in your lifetime or anyone's else.

I'm not too worried about the quantities of hydrogen or water involved, though. Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements on the planet and in the universe in general.

While it's certainly not my favourite idea, I think that the eventual solution to powering vehicles will wind up being breeder or thorium-based nuclear reactors generating power for electric cars.

Photovoltaic or solar thermal methods may one day become practical for powering the numbers of vehicles presently in service worldwide, but there's that pesky problem of power storage for night-time consumption to get around.

Energy density for vehicles' traction batteries has got to improve, too.
heyzuphowsitgoin in reply to oooobabyooooAug 31, 2009. 7:03 AM
By the way, I was playing devils advocate with the nuclear reactor. I think it's a great idea, and there are not many people who would do that. I'm not an uptight SOB. I believe in people. And besides, whoever would want to make a nuclear bomb can probably get much larger quantities much faster. It's all a matter of dedication.
heyzuphowsitgoin in reply to oooobabyooooAug 31, 2009. 6:58 AM
Well, anything requires alot of energy to produce... even in the "future" when there are "green" cars, every single part of them will take a lot of energy to produce. I think It will be a long time before the world is no longer dependent on oil. But when water is taken out of oceans and lakes (or even sewers) to power billions of cars (this is all hypothetical) and the water comes out the exhaust, it misplaces billions of tons of water. It's gotta mess something up. I've often thought small nuclear reactors were the best idea, but then, one must think of all the people who shouldn't exactly get their hands on large quantities of highly radioactive metals. I know it would require virtually no thorium, but its still enough. And people can buy more than one car. Also, the waste factor isn't great. I don't think photovoltaic has much future, and I seem to remember the stuff the need (some silicon compound?) is running low. Maybe I'm completely wrong about that. But still, photovoltaic technology hasn't made any incredible leaps from the 70's. Solar thermal would be great, power a stirling engine. I've always wondered why people don't pop a stirling engine in a car. They're far more efficient than IC engines. The only problem I see with them is that they take a little while to warm up. I think it was Chevy who once built a stirling engine car as a test, but it took a few minutes before it was drivable so they gave up. Of course, it was gasoline powered. I believe that our best bet in environmental stuff (way in the future) is public transportation, more specific-green trains. By powering the tracks with green power (you are not confined to the surface area of a car to generate energy) you have a more or less green transportation method. It's already sort of in use, but I don't think Subways are on only green power. I'm sure there's a little. And you can't exactly build a subway were I live... it has to all be above ground. I know they have trains, but those are a little big. Perhaps small, 5 seater cars on a track? That will take a long time to develop, and I think people will still want cars. It makes people feel more independent and free.
oooobabyoooo in reply to heyzuphowsitgoinSep 9, 2009. 3:13 AM
If one uses hydrogen as a fuel, when combusted with oxygen, it becomes water vapour. That vapour enters the water cycle and falls as rain somewhere. It is then returned by rivers to the oceans... and round-and-round it goes as it has for billions of years.

Solar cells have been traditionally made on silicon substrates, not a real availability problem as silicon is the primary component of sand. New techniques can produce PV cells on thin polymer (plastic) films, bit of a step backward as polymers are generally sourced from petroleum. However, thin-film cells are less energy intensive to make, cheaper and are flexible, allowing new mounting configurations. They're somewhat less efficient than Si based cells, but there may be some efficiency improvements yet to be found in that technology.

Nuclear reactors employing thorium operate similarly to uranium based sorts. Big upside is the spent fuel can't be used for weapons and it also has a MUCH shorter decay time post-use as a reactor fuel.

Breeder reactors use uranium much more efficiently; in fact, they'll be able to run on the spent fuel from present-tech reactors and will further reduce the decay time for that nuclear waste to about 300 years from the 240,000 required for plutonium to decay to background radiation levels.

There's little doubt that mass transit will play a big part in reducing global energy expenditures on transportation. it's much more efficient to move 100 people in a large vehicle with a single large engine than it is to move them 1-6 people at a time with 33-100 smaller engines/motors.

Pod-type (4-6 person) mass transit systems which have linear electric maglev motors built into the track give economies of scale yet are more flexible than trains composed of 50-80 person rail cars. A recent example is SkyTran (http://www.skytran.net/). The electric power will probably come from wind, solar or nuclear generation.

I'm afraid that eventually, personal vehicles are going to be seen as a luxury of the past in urban areas. It's already impractical to keep a car in places like London, NYC, Paris, etc. Los Angeles is going to have a rude awakening one of these days, given its very poor public transport infrastructure and reliance on private cars. In the future, I strongly suspect that only people who live outside of cities will use private vehicles- and those will be very, very expensive. It'll simply never be practical to put even pod-type transport rail systems everywhere you find people living. However, the private vehicles of the future are almost assured to be electric powered, from the same grid that runs the mass transport systems.
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