How to Convert Water into Fuel by Building a DIY Oxyhydrogen Generator

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Picture of How to Convert Water into Fuel by Building a DIY Oxyhydrogen Generator
Here's how to build a sexy looking generator that uses electricity to convert water into an extremely powerful fuel!  In this project, you'll learn how to build an OxyHydrogen generator from scratch.

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Step 1: What Is an OxyHydrogen Generator?

An oxyhydrogen generator, like this one, uses electricity from your car battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gasses.  (Electricity + 2H20 --> 2H2 + O2)  Together, these make a fuel that is much more powerful than gasoline, and the only emission released is—water!

Of course, to be a completely clean fuel, the electricity used to generate the gas needs to be from a clean source.  Solar, wind, or water power could be a few examples.  

This video shows step-by-step how to make one.  

NOTE: The amount of electrical energy required to make the gas is more than the energy you can obtain from it.  This is NOT an energy generator so much as it is an energy converter.  

Step 2: Getting Metal For The Generator Plates

Picture of Getting Metal For The Generator Plates
For this project, you're going to need some stainless steel and some ABS pipe fittings. I visited a local fabrication company, and not only did they have plenty of scrap metal to choose from, they were even willing to help me cut it to custom sizes. A job that would have taken me hours with a pair of tin snips and a hacksaw took only a matter of minutes with their equipment.

I used 20 gauge stainless steel, and with the help of their hydraulic punch, cut precise holes in the tops and bottoms of the plates. When finished, I had 12 plates measuring 3" x 6", 4 plates at 1-1/2" x 6", and three 1" connector bands that were 6", 4-1/2", and 3 1/4". A belt sander was used for smoothing down the jagged edges around the hole.

Step 3: Increasing The Plates Surface Area

Picture of Increasing The Plates Surface Area
Next I used 100 grit sandpaper to sand each of the plates diagonally. You can see the "X" pattern I sanded into both sides of the plates. This increases the surface area of the plate, and will assist in producing more gas.

Step 4: Configuring The Plate Assembly

Picture of Configuring The Plate Assembly
The plates are joined in a configuration so that the 2 inner plates are connected to one electrical terminal, and the 2 outer plates connected to the other terminal.  Plastic rods, plastic washers, and stainless steel nuts help to form the proper electrical connections.

The generator plates are assembled in the order of plate, plastic washers, plate, stainless steel jam nuts until 8 plates have been connected.

To see a step-by-step of the generator plate assembly, watch that specific portion of the video here.

When the plates are assembled, a 4" ABS clean out plug is attached at the top with some stainless steel bolts.

Step 5: Making The Generator Body

Picture of Making The Generator Body
The body is made from two 4" ABS clean out adapters, with a 4" plug inverted and cemented into the bottom. A 4" tube of acrylic or ABS makes the body, and the generator plates and cap screw down into the top.

A water bubbler is made in a similar fashion out of 2" clear acrylic tubing, but needs a way to clip onto the side.

Step 6: Making Clips For The Bubbler

Picture of Making Clips For The Bubbler
Clips can be made from scrap acrylic or ABS tubing, and glued to the side of the body.

To make these clips, I cut 3/4" off the 2" tubing I used to make the bubbler, then cut the top 1/3" off to form a claw.  These were then cemented to acrylic rods, and attached to the side of the generator body.  

Step 7: Adding a Check Valve

Picture of Adding a Check Valve
Some poly tube, and a one-way check valve is added to the top elbow, making sure the valve will let gas out, but nothing back in.

Step 8: Making The Electrolyte

Picture of Making The Electrolyte
The electrolyte is distilled water and about 2-4 teaspoons of KOH (potassium hydroxide). Salt or baking soda could also be used, but may dirty and corrode the plates over time.

I stirred the KOH flakes into the water, then used a coffee filter to strain the solution into the generator casing (after it had been cleaned thoroughly).  

Note: Potassium Hydroxide is caustic and can burn the skin.  Avoid direct contact!  

Step 9: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches
Water is added to the bubbler, then the cap is put back on, and the poly tubes are hooked up.

I tested it out with a 12 volt car battery and some jumper cables. The gas formed is collected it in a small water bottle, and ignited with a flame.

On 12 volts, this produces about 1.5 LPM.  I also hooked it to 2 car batteries in series, and on this higher 24 voltage, the system produced over 5 LPM and filled up a gallon milk jug in 38 seconds!  

Note:  Higher voltages allow more current to flow through the system, and it heats up quickly over time.  If allowed to continue, there is a risk the plastic casing will melt from prolonged exposure to high temperatures.  

Step 10: How Powerful Is The Gas?

This system was not designed for use in a vehicle, but more as a device to demonstrate the electrolysis of water and what the gas can do.

To see some experiments where the gas was ignited, and some useful features of the generator, check out the video.

If you liked this project, perhaps you'll like some of my others.  Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com
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This more entertaing than the Voice! I really enjoy hearing from people from another universe where physics take on totally new properties! :-)
RedKobra3 hours ago

Sounds interesting. How much chromium is your stainless steel producing? Specifically, hexavalent chromium.

three_jeeps3 hours ago

Wow, this article, and particularly the majority of the comments, made me more aware of many things!

1) "Explorers just want to explore"....great! just please have an understanding of math and physics to add credibility to your claims.

2) 'new way to power automobiles"...been around for a while.

3) Our education system is failing badly. The technique to separate water into H and O is generally termed electrolysis. My 6th grade science teacher did a similar experiment. I went home and duplicated it. My 11th grade chem teacher taught me the chemistry behind it. My 11th grade physics enlightened me about the laws of physics, particularly energy balance and energy transformation (note: it is a 'truth' that energy cannot be created or destroyed...only altered). My hs/undergrad school math teachers gave the me tools to express observations into quantifiable 'truths'....just like the previous experimenters: Ohm, Faraday, Ampere, Coulomb, Heavyside, Maxwell, Rutheford, Boyle, and many, many more.

4) just because one makes a claim about a very small subsystem, doesn't mean the same claim holds when the entire system is considered. Learn to do analysis of the system.

Lastly, simple solutions is usually just that....simple.

Maybe the "King" should rewrite this and put the note paragraph at the top instead of the bottom.

"NOTE: The amount of electrical energy required to make the gas is more than the energy you can obtain from it. This is NOT an energy generator so much as it is an energy converter."

This is only cost effective if you can use solar to start and maintain the process. And not in this model. The alternator does produce electrical, but at the cost of fuel. The alternator is designed of chosen for the engine its mounted with. Adding an extra large load will cost you in the end.

There are schematics and plans out there that use circuits instead of raw voltage. Those are better but still have a loss across the production vs need curve. The solar panels in this setup will produce enough to start and sustain the reaction needed. You will need some special equipment to make that happen as it requires some waveform tweaking that you cant just eyeball.

Now here are some lessons learned. This can be done on the car your driving right now as long as you have a mechanic willing to do it. There is danger if you do it yourself. If your intake isnt mixing the gases in the right ratio, your at a loss. If you put too much in the intake, you will burn your cylinders or blow something up that wasnt meant to be. I am not saying treat it like a nuclear reaction, but treat it safer than you would gasoline.

Things needed for this to be marketable:

Flexible solar panels. Which as I understand are available. $$

Electronics technician. Hire a good one.

Auto mechanic. One that understands the science of fuel to air ratios before start.

Venture capitalist. Because I cant afford to do the research anymore.

You can not use solar as you will not gain enough energy!

PV cells typically give less than 12%, an electrolyser less than 65% efficiency while our best domestic internal combustion engines are only 30% efficient (regardless of fuel type or mix) so we'd end up with a 2.4% fuel efficiency from our rather massive solar array which our vehicle will have to drag along with an equally large industrial electrolyser (some real tonnage here).

If we combine hydrogen systems with conventional fuel systems we simply increase the mass of the vehicle, which in turn requires more energy to accelerate which equates to lower fuel efficiency and greater running costs!

To put hydrogen and gasoline into relative perspective, 1 kg or gasolene contains 45 000,000 joules of chemical energy while stoichiometric gaseous mixture of O2 and H2 only contains roughly 45000 joules, a thousand times less energy!

To get an understanding of energy density 1 Kg of gasoline is 1.33 litres while the equivalent (in chemical energy terms) of stoichiometric gaseous 02 and H2 mixture has a volume of 11958 cubic meters! So assuming a 10 liter gasoline tank (I know this is a little small) and assuming we just carried our H2 and O2 gas, to get a 10% reduction in gasoline consumption using an 02 H2 mix at atmospheric pressure we need a fuel tank that measures 22x22x22 meters. To put it another way anyone claiming that they reduce their gasoline consumption by using any sort of hydrogen oxygen gas generator will need to generate a proportionate volume of gas to support their claims.

Looking in another direction, to produce an H2 O2 gaseous fuel that is worth the same in energy terms as 1 kg of gasoline we need to start with 1000 kg of pure water (plus additives), me thinks a 150 year old steam engine looks more attractive.

For reference see http://www2.mae.ufl.edu/~uhk/ENERGY-DENSITY.pdf and http://www.uigi.com/h2_conv.html as well as http://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/volume-to-weigh...

Thanks for stating the math that I didn't. No one seems to be interested in it so I decided to stick with the easy parts. Which as I scroll through few people accept anyhow.

I can argue you on using solar panels however, I wont because I currently don't have any of the supporting documents on hand, and don't feel that it would be productive. I cant build anything right now to work out the proofs either.

If you do some digging and cross reference different research still going you will find some electronic circuits that have proven effective at lower voltage and amperage. Systems with draws low enough to be supported by solar panels. Not cheap panels, but good quality producers.

So again, it boils down to cost. And its still an overall loss situation. Overall cost versus use life of equipment.

Thanks for agreeing in a different way.

woodNfish2 years ago
If this were truly viable, everyone would be doing it, but I do have some prime swampland in Florida I'd like to sell you.
Lol...you've heard of hydrogen powered cars right? Well they use hydrogen and oxygen as fuel, and the only thing keeping them off the streets is the safety hazards of compressed hydrogen. Once a safety method is configured around that, this will be used in most likely every future car. "Electric cars" are simply a stepping off point, they won't last.
Yeah, I'm aware of them, but it takes more power to split the water than what you will get back from the hydrogen produced in addition to hydrogen being very unstable.
The biggest problem is not only safety issue, but the energy density of hydrogen or oxygen is so much ridiculously lower than fossil fuels. You will need to burn up a couple grams of Hydrogen and Oxygen to get the same energy from just burning a microgram of gasoline.
The difference being you can catch some rainwater in a cup.

Alternatively, go build an oil rig, drill a few thousand feet down with highly skilled workers and a ship-load of equipment, pump it into a holding tank, ship it to a refinery (hoping the captain isn't drunk or drugged up and runs aground killing an ecosystem and millions of wildlife), refine it, put it in a tanker and deliver it to a gas station where you use your own gas to get to and fill your tank up costing whatever the market feels like charging that day.

No thanks. I'll go for the water -> HHO any day. ;)
"No thanks. I'll go for the water -> HHO any day. ;)"
So , my question here is, if this became a viable option, and all cars, power stations and other bits and bobs ran on water, what are we going to do when the water runs out?
the thing is, the electricity is simply converted, the water doesn't actually burn.
No, what none of you seem to understand or willfully ignore is the fact that it takes more energy to separate out the hydrogen than you will ever get back by burning the hydrogen as an energy source. In other words you will spend $10 to get $5 in return. Does that seem like a smart thing to do?

After you buy the solar panel, how much does the sunshine cost that will make $5 worth of hydrogen? That's right, zero.

Take the cost of a solar panel, about $1 per watt and divide it by the energy generated over the lifetime of the panel. So, 250 watts, costs $250 to purchase the panel. It produces about 1250 watt-hours per day on average. That's 1.25 kWh, at say 16 cents per kWh or about 20 cents, per day, times 365, times 25. $1825 of electricity for $250. Pretty good. Even when I get $912 worth of hydrogen, it's still good.

So $250 per kWh divided by 11,400 kWh = 2.2 cents per kWh. or perhaps 4.4 cents per kWh of the equivalent amount of hydrogen. Still great.

Solar panels are expensive and fragile to be installed in a vehicle. A simple alternator in existing engine system can do the work to sustain the HHO production while charging battery. Though, to start the system, it uses battery charge.

Exactly right. This system has been used to power vehicles already. There's a huge amount of Internet lore concerning the patents, the buyouts, the lawsuits, the conspiracy theories etc. surrounding the hydrogen engine. Pour water into the engine and go,it's real. Anyone who simply says "if that existed, we'd be usin' it" is blatantly ignoring the HUGE leverage of the existing petrol industry to continue the use of fossil fuel burning machines of all kinds.

...and you're ignoring the fact that fossil fuels are simply much better fuels than hydrogen - far more energy-dense, far easier to handle, much less explosive, much easier to store etc.

Unless you split the water using solar or wind power, this is an incredibly expensive way to power a car.

Solar and wind are effective when used to generate electricity, very very poor in efficiency terms creating hydrogen that then needs expensive and careful storage.

As far as generating hydrogen is concerned, the source of the electricity makes absolutely no difference to the efficiency.

As for storage, that is a different discussion.

Well overall efficiency has to take into account all the inputs, true the efficiency of a single stage can be quoted in isolation, but leaving aside all the pretend physics that some are quoting, the most important aspects to consider when choosing an energy source are economics, and engineering potential (I assume we always cover safety and the environment). If we use a solar panel to farm energy we have a choice in how we use the electricity generated. If we burn it in an engine and look at the overall efficiency we get a chain of percentages due to electrolyser efficiency:storage processor efficiency:distribution efficiency:end use efficiency. In contrast we could simply generate electricity and try to distribute that, which results is a better overall efficiency (though grid balancing may kill any gains if we are not careful).

The engineering potential of a successful hydrogen economy is not all that great currently. Hydrogen in liquid form is extremely hard to distribute, if you pipe it you need to insulate the pipes otherwise a great deal of your energy will leach away as heat, bottle and tanker distribution burns yet more fuel. Local production equates to massive multiplication of efforts. Granted there are a few hydrogen refueling stations with us already (California), these are all bottle fed by trucks with the hydrogen itself either steam reformed, gasified or electrolysed, very little of it bears any renewable significance and the true cost of the energy is likely buried under a pile of environmental subsidies.

May you please post a link? My interest has been piqued.


Nobody complains when it takes 2.3 gallons of petrofuel to produce one gallon of ethanol.

But mention using excess energy created when burning petrofuels to create an additional source of power....

The dirty diaper crowd comes out of the woodwork.

Yeah, nobody ever talks about the waste involved in making ethanol. Or the rain forests cleared to grow corn for ethanol. Or the huge waste involved in shipping ethanol. Or the fact that nobody wants the ethanol to begin with, and it's a public relations bandaid. Really? Nobodys talking about that?

I complain about the energy that it takes to make Ethanol.

I also complain how 10% ethanol reduces MPG buy ~12% causing the car to burn more fuel.


If "a simple alternator in exiting engine system" could do the work to sustain HHO production while charging the battery, we would all be driving electric cars. What you describe is not possible. You describe a vehicle that creates more energy than it uses. I'd like to live in your world.

Here's that 'more energy' phrase again! Do you know how much potential energy is in a molecule of hydrogen? It's not a matter of 'more', energy is energy. It's a matter of conversion- period. Can I use an abundant, replenishable source of energy to convert to usable energy for my application? That is the question. Nothing in the universe as we know it can make more than what's there...that'd be magic. Harnessing existing energy is the name of the game. You know the sun produces immense amounts of energy, certainly enough to 'potentially' power every car on earth. Unfortunately, nobody has built the perfect engine that runs on sunshine. I imagine that when the first guy looked at a waterfall and said, "look at all the energy, let's harness it somehow and power a large city" there were people lining up to tell him how impossible that was. If we stay around long enough, someone will read these comments and laugh at the idea that we drove cars on petrol at all. Columbus was going to fall off the edge of the world. Disease was bad spirit. And on and on. It's easy to say now that this or that can't be done... Until it is. Our ability to convert hydrogen to usable energy may be inefficient and unstable,etc. right NOW. But technology paired with forward thinking produces results, and it's only a matter of time.

Actually very few people with any significant wisdom ever told Columbus that he'd fall off the world, few still would have ever doubted the possibility of powering cities from waterfalls. But it is very unlikely we'll ever find a cheap way to convert water to usable hydrogen, physics supports this.

ChrisB13 EliakimG6 months ago

I think he was implying that building a solar powered fuel cell generator at home, then using that fuel in your vehicle would work. Not that you would generate your own fuel on the road.

Your alternator is powered by the fuel, at a low efficiency. This fuel is generated by electricity, at a low efficiency. So using your fuel to generate more fuel is so inefficient as to be a complete waste of time. The added work generated by adding load to the alternator would never come close to being recouped.

No it would not work, because the structure required to pressurize the hydrogen is just a little expensive and dangerous. One would have to tow a tank trailer to have enough hydrogen gas to run a vehicle 100 miles or more. A large tank.

I am sorry but you are mistaken. There are hydrogen fuel cell cars and they don't tow trailers of hydrogen gas. If you think that its too dangerous to recharge hydrogen fuel cells at home, that is one thing. Its not very expensive to do however, its a common high school lab experiment.

The system is not producing HHO. It is producing H2. The whole point is to separate the oxygen. HHO is water, H2 is hydrogen.

I agree with Waste of space. HHO is what people are calling it AFTER the water has been split. If you have two parts hydrogen gas and one part oxygen gas in a container you don't have water.

Honestly I keep seeing HHO, it’s the same as saying H2O. What
the system is producing is HO also known as Browns Gas. Burns great, will eventually
rust or corrode whatever metal you use it in, best bet is to save it and use a PEM
cell to convert it back to electricity.

There is no such thing as "Brown's gas". This project produces a mixture of two parts H2 to one part O2 by volume.

The monatomic claims pertaining to "Brown's gas" are pure nonsense.

H2 is actually hydrogen + hydrogen which does of course equal hydrogen.

H2O = 2 molecules of hydrogen to one molecule of oxygen.

And I know that you are fully aware of that yrralguthrie, I'm just being pedantic.

when talking about generation of power, you begin with no more than 0.5 of unity output. since 50% of the power is consumed by, the source generator. so you are starting off with a 50% reduction to begun with. with 50% maximum, left to work with. and combustion engines, are typically less than 25% efficient. and steam turbines, as high as 67% efficient. and you always loose power, generating electricity for powering anything. unity generation and consumption is an improbable dream of perpetual motion, and over unity is an impossible dream.

Laundry and dishes. That is true perpetual
motion. Whether it’s a dream or a nightmare, you have to decide for yourself.

cvachon EliakimG6 months ago
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