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Hydrogen Generating Module to Help Your Car? 506

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the guilty-until-proven-innocent dept.
TomClancy_Jack writes "A Canadian man claims to have invented a hydrogen electrolysis box that can be fit onto any existing internal combustion engine. He claims that engines using his "H2N-Gen" box 'produce a more complete burn, greatly increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption by 10 to 40 per cent - and pollutants by up to 100 per cent.' If this doesn't turn out to be vapor-ware or just a regular scam, it could turn out to be one of the biggest recent innovations in transportation history. He claims it will be on the market in 6 - 12 months, so time will tell."
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Hydrogen Generating Module to Help Your Car?

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  • That's nice, but (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Where's the profit for the oil magnates?
    • by Rei (128717)
      It's all going to try and assassinate inventors of fuel-efficient vehicles, to lobby congress to invade other nations, and to rob from the poor and give to the rich. Didn't you know? Aren't you up on the latest conspiracy theories?
  • Simple question: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by overshoot (39700) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:00PM (#13590527)
    Where does the power to crack the water come from?

    It's another perpetual-motion machine, people.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    • Nuclear power.
    • IANAC (I am not a chemist) However, it seems possible that one could electrolyze water, and then feed the products (Hydrogen and oxygen) back into the combustion chamber to improve combustion. It's not a perpetual motion machine a we are not producing fuel, but are produce catalysts. There may very well be something to see here.
      • Re:Simple question: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mjfgates (150958) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:17PM (#13590650)
        H2 and O2 are not catalysts, nor do they "improve" combustion of other things in the neighborhood. One's fuel, the other's oxygen, and they just plain burn.

        If you actually want to use water to get more motie power out of a given amount of fuel, just inject the water straight into the combustion chamber. This increases pressure in the combustion chamber and thus increases torque. It also forces water into the engine oil... not so good for the engine in the long run. Useful for drag racing, and for dogfighting in WWII-era military aircraft, but I wouldn't want it on my car.
        • The big problem with water injection is that it lowers the combustion temperature, thus the engine's efficiency.

          However, if you have an engine designed for low temperatures (esp. with a lean mix) via valve timing, etc. you can make it efficient w/o the water and then at full throttle boost the torque without burning a valve, knock, etc.

          I suppose you could consider water injection to be an antiknock additive, sort of.

      • by Rei (128717) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:32PM (#13590758) Homepage
        This can't be the most efficient way to increase efficiency. 30% engine efficiency, 90% alternator efficiency, 80% electrolysis efficiency -> ~20% hydrogen production efficiency. You're then using that hydrogen to burn residual gasoline (again at 30% efficiency), in addition to getting (30%?) of the hydrogen's energy back, so 0.2*0.3+0.2*0.3=0.12, so you'd need to get more than 8 times more energy's worth of gasoline burned than you inject energy's worth of hydrogen.

        Then, you have to refill it with water every 80 hours. Surely there's a liquid catalyst that you could buy, or (less dense) compressed hydrogen made by a more efficient process, that would increase efficiency that wouldn't take some convoluted electrolysis process.

        From a chemistry standpoint, what would the hydrogen be doing to increase efficiency? I suppose it would increase the temperature of combustion, but wouldn't it take such a significant percentage hydrogen to make a difference in the percentage of fuel that is combusted that you're outpacing the amount of uncombusted fuel left in the exhaust? It just doesn't seem like it would be effective.
    • Re:Simple question: (Score:4, Informative)

      by jellomizer (103300) * on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:08PM (#13590586)
      RTFM sates that the power is from the battery. The real question is the output from the running car can generate enough electricity to keep the battery charged. It is not quite perpetual-mostion they are getting the buck of the energy from gasoline which you will still need to fill your tank but adding the Hydrogen to the mix makes it burn cleaner and more fuel efficient, so you get the most out of your gallon of gas and it pollutes less.
      • I doubt that the process of taking power from your battery to crack H20 into h2 and o2 for injection into the engine would be more effecient than just putting a smallery battery/alternator into the car and enjoying increased fuel economy by having a lighter powerplant. I mean, what will this contraption weigh. Haul more metal, burn more fuel. f=m*a Add more m and you need more f to get the same a. Force comes from converting chemical energy in fuel into heat, and the heat in-turn is converted into mechani
    • Re:Simple question: (Score:3, Informative)

      by djbckr (673156)
      You obviously didn't read TFA. It uses energy (from the battery, I believe) to crack the water into its components, then feeds the hydrogen into the intake. This makes for a cleaner and more effiecient burn in the cylinder.

      It still uses fuel, but TFA says it will burn with much greater efficiency and much less pollution.

      • Lets see

        "We're marketing a 20-pound unit for $7,500."

        So, why don't we take $7500 per vehicle, and invest in other measures to get fuel effeciency at a lower cost. More composits to save weight. Active polution mitigation systems (carbon sinks.) R&D into h2/fuel cell vehicles.

        There's better ways to spend $7500 pre vehicle if you want to make them more green.

        Take that $7500 per vehicle and but a s**tload of trees and go replant deforested tracts that one always hears about.

        Don't get me started.
    • It's not perpetual motion. It always needs a power source.

      It would use electricity generated by the engine's alternator/generator to split the water. The hydrogen and oxygen would then be fed into the engines intake. The engine would burn that, and poof, magic smoke.

      100% emissions reduction and 10% to 40% improvement in fuel consumption?? How much energy do you think is in a gallon of water??

      It won't work though. I've been reading about the same idea for years. I believe the first thing I read on th
    • Not quite perpetual motion. It needs power input that's released from the running engine, and that power comes from the gasoline, not the hydrogen. That's an awful lot like a supercharger which gives you more horsepower, but requires horsepower to drive it. The difference is, the 8-10HP required to drive the supercharger is dwarfed by the 40-50HP the engine makes with all that extra air in there. (These numbers are approximate, based on some calculations a friend of mine did for the supercharger on my c
    • No it isn't (Score:3, Informative)

      by ishmaelflood (643277)
      Adding hydrogen to an IC engine to improve the combustion process is a well known technique. Refer to any number of papers by Dr Harry Watson and his PhDs.

      Whether you come out ahead on the energy balance depends on how much more efficient the reaction is, compared with the inefficiency in the electrical/electrolysis side, which I admit is unlikely to exceed 30%.

      The point is that the hydrogen is somewhat acting as a catalyst, or reaction improver, not just as extra fuel.

      By the way, I agree with your sceptici
  • by MikeyTheK (873329) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:01PM (#13590535)
    It isn't anymore vaporware than Windows Vista
  • by detritus` (32392) <awitzke@@@wesayso...org> on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:02PM (#13590539) Homepage Journal
    But this draw to seperate the water would require a lot of energy, which would be drawn from the engine causing it to work harder (like A/C). Plus the problem of constantly refilling the reservoir (and who cant see the first lawsuit when people have to add caustic chemicals like KOH)
    • AC draws power because the engine turns a compressor which physically increases drag on the motor. This device sounds like it's using electricity and if the alternator is already producing more power than you actually need you won't be increasing drag on the motor by using the rest of the power. (Your lights might dim and your battery might not charge as well however.)
    • by greebly (133856) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:35PM (#13590772) Homepage
      You'd think that, but it just isn't so. Common alternators place a constant load on the engine once they spin at a few hundred RPMs, even when the regulator is off.

      You can make a DIY version of this same thing. Other people sell kits to do this exact process. Electrolyzing water into Hydrogen and Oxygen but not separating them produces what is called Brown's Gas (the Hydrogen and Oxygen mix). Brown's Gas can be generated easily with a very few amps of current. The draw on the circuitry can be regulated by way of control of molarity of the electrolyte.

      My friend is currently experimenting on a cheap version of this with a manual shutoff switch (hey, it's cheap!) and has gone from 24MPG to 27MPG in a recent model Nissan Maxima (3.0L V6 model). We're not even done experimenting!

      This stuff is for real. It just uses surplus electricity being generated by the alternator whether the battery needs charging or not. The engine is already doing the work, we're just recuperating it in the form of a mileage increasing, emission reducing water electrolysis system.
  • by menorikey (915085) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:02PM (#13590540)
    I still think the cat-fueled method would provide a greater return in the long run....
  • Is that you don't have to shave before driving to work in the morning.

  • Uses (Score:4, Funny)

    by Saiyine (689367) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:03PM (#13590550) Homepage

    I'll use it to power my 6'8GHz laptop [slashdot.org]!

    --
    Superb hosting [dreamhost.com] 4800MB Storage, 120GB bandwidth, $7,95.
    Kunowalls!!! [kunowalls.host.sk] Random sexy wallpapers (NSFW!).
  • by drivinghighway61 (812488) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:06PM (#13590567)
    Dear Slashdot,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have been looking for something like this to put in our vaults never to be heard of again.

    Love always,

    Exxon-Mobil
    • Re:Oil Companies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:28PM (#13590709) Journal
      Ok, that IS funny. But seriously, they would like this product much more than other alternatives, like solar, electric or biodiesel (my personal favorite)

      According to TFA, the main advantage of this system is it makes much less polution. The fuel savings looks around 10%-20% realistically. This is very good but is about the same as global fuel need growth. It means people will have a reason to still use gas instead of alternate technology, so the move to full hydrogen might be slower since this would take some of the urgency out of it.

      Very interesting (slightly fishy...) and worth more investigation. Don't look for it soon, it seems the different companies making similar stuff are more interested in margin % than in producing millions of them.
      • Re:Oil Companies (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MBCook (132727)
        Pollution from cars is one thing I've wondered about. Sure there are millions of cars and they do produce a lot of pollution. But doesn't a normal lawnmower produce like 30x the pollution of a late model car? If so, why not make a better lawn mower? There are millions of those cutting yards in homes, baseball and football fields, parks, medians on the highway, etc. Seems that it would be much easier to cut the pollution of the lawnmower in half than it would be to reduce the same amount of pollution from ca
  • by Maow (620678) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:08PM (#13590587) Journal
    Because if Joe Williams turns out to be right, "I think Bill Gates and our group will be shaking hands," he says. "It's that big."

    Wow - that is big.

    If his device is set to corrupt hundreds of millions of vehicles the world over, will Bill Gates consider him a peer?

    That's what came to mind first... now excuse me while I finish TFA.

  • he's talking about achieving 60% efficiency from a Carnot Cycle automotive heat engine? Ok. When's the IPO ... I want to invest.
    • he's talking about achieving 60% efficiency from a Carnot Cycle automotive heat engine?

      Hey, RTFA -- according to him, gasoline engines only burn 35% of their fuel, the rest goes out the tailpipe.

  • ./ had a BULLSHIT! buttion?
  • RTFA (Score:3, Informative)

    by SmokeSerpent (106200) <benjaminNO@SPAMpsnw.com> on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:09PM (#13590592) Homepage
    The car does not run on hydrogen with this device.

    The device adds hydrogen and oxygen to the mix, producing a cleaner, more thorough burn.

    Supposedly.
  • Ho Ho Ho (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:10PM (#13590597) Homepage
    Yes, adding water to an internal combustion engine will make it burn gas more efficiently and increase fuel economy. This is a well-known fact.

    Of course, it has nothing whatsoever to do with hydrogen, other than water contains hydrogen. What is happening is the water makes the air more compressable (increased humidity) and the engine works better. This was far more true in the 1950's where such water add-ons were more popular.

    Now, with the addition of the keyword HYDROGEN we have an entirely new set of rubes which will certainly pay $7500 for this without batting an eye. See, if it uses hydrogen, it must be more environmentally friendly.

    Rubes. Marks. Suckers.

    Unfortunately, those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. And pay for it.

    • I was doubtful about your comment that adding water increased efficiency, but a quick search turned up this water injection [rallycars.com] reference.

      Seems to prevent the air-fuel mix from detonating as opposed to normal burning ('deflagrating'). I didn't real all TFA, but from skimming it I couldn't tell whether it was actually electrolysing the H20 into H2 and O2 and adding it to the mix, or just adding a little water vapour as you suggest.

      Also, I don't know think the Jeep Grand Cherokee they used in the test has a tur

      • Re:Ho Ho Ho (Score:4, Informative)

        by duffahtolla (535056) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:59PM (#13590919)
        If I remember right, their are couple of ways the water injection helps. First, it evaporates a bit thus cooling the air so that a larger mass is pulled in during the intake stroke (depends on ambient humidity). Any mist not yet evaporated will increase the power by turning to steam during the power stroke. The phase change of the water to steam also keeps the powerstroke cooler than it otherwise would have been. Good for engine longevity and I think it also reduces NOX emissions.

        No references, just reguritating what I remember.

    • Right, this was even used during WWII to make aircraft engines more efficient. It's much older than that. It's as old as the internal combustion engine.

      Google turns up http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient-ff &ie=UTF-8&q=water%20injection%20internal%20combust ion [google.com] piles of links.
    • Mainly because said rubes, marks and/or suckers will immediately associate this with President Bush's much-vaunted "hydrogen economy" and assume that it's already here.
  • I dunno (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ozwald (83516) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:12PM (#13590613)
    From TFA:

    Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency. This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned. The rest either turns to carbon corroding the engine or goes out the exhaust pipe as greenhouse gases.

    I thought that it was 35% energy created from the explosion, the rest in waste heat? The fuel is most certainly fully burned. I always thought that efficency would come from producing less heat with less friction, not more heat. It most certainly sounds fishy.

    Oz
    • Re:I dunno (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:32PM (#13590757) Journal
      I noticed that too. 65% of the raw fuel is NOT expelled out the back. I believe most cars are over 99% efficient at burning the fuel, just 35% at turning that burn into the motion of the crankshaft (ie: waste heat, as you state).

      I also wonder how the CO2 is reduced from 5.5% to 0%, unless the hydrocarbons go up, and the simple oxidized carbons go down. There were other statements in the article that looked a bit odd as well. Still, conceptually interesting.
      • Re:I dunno (Score:2, Insightful)

        by alienw (585907)
        Exactly. The maximum possible thermodynamic (Carnot) efficiency for a car engine cycle is in the 30% range. This does not depend much on engine design or anything else for that matter, just the combustion temperature and the dead state (air) temperature. This is very basic physics.

        Combustion efficiency in a properly working car engine should be very close to ideal under normal driving conditions. Furthermore, CO2 is one of the products of an ideal combustion process. Unless you aren't using gasoline fo
    • It most certainly sounds fishy.

      Of course -- it's water. You know what fish do in water, don't you?

    • I thought that it was 35% energy created from the explosion, the rest in waste heat? The fuel is most certainly fully burned. I always thought that efficency would come from producing less heat with less friction, not more heat. It most certainly sounds fishy

      I think the whole things a bit fishy too, but the particular point about increased heat actually does make sense. According to the laws of thermodynamics, a heat (Carnot) engine has a maximum efficiency of [1-T(surround)/T(heat element)], and so the
  • by delibes (303485) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:12PM (#13590614)
    "Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency. This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned.

    No, this means 35 per cent of the available energy is extracted as useful work, the rest being lost to heat/friction. This is typical of all heat engines [wikipedia.org].

    In more common terms (to Brits and US citizens at least), the mpg ratings from the tests on page 4 are 26.1 with the device versus 22.4 according to the manufacturer standard mileage rating. Impressive if true, but I'll be skeptical until a well-recognised motoring group does some tests too.

    If it works, it might cut costs for road transport, but what about air transport and industry use? I'm not sure this will save the planet. I'll continue to walk to work for now.

    • In more common terms (to Brits and US citizens at least), the mpg ratings from the tests on page 4 are 26.1 with the device versus 22.4 according to the manufacturer standard mileage rating. Impressive if true

      I'd be a lot more impressed if the comparison had been for the same vehicle under the same conditions instead of whatever-test-they-used against another vehicle running on a DOT dynamometer.

    • On the other hand, if it becomes popular it would be a good time to invest in distilled water production.

      Of course, to be truly cool the device should be able to distill all the water it needs from tap water using waste engine heat.
  • Didn't we all do this in chemistry class? I wonder how the patents are going to work on this? Pushing air and combustable gases into an internal combustion engine is not new? (nitrous oxide?)

    From TFA:
    "He's not the only one trying to save the world, and to make a bundle doing it. Other companies have been working on the same theory of hydrogen generation and they are already suing each other over patent infringements."

    Oh, and have you seen the cost of distilled water? Its not much cheaper than gasoline some
    • "I can just see them actively lining up to help sell you a hybrid vehicle that gets over 100 mpg in the USA."

      Well, it's up to 'the market' isn't it? If petrol costs $20 per gallon at some point in the future, then you'll really want that high MPG figure and won't be able to afford to run any lower efficiency car. If the manufacturer wants to carry on selling cars, they'll have to make them affordable to run.

      It's just a theory.

    • It certainly won't get much play from petroleum companies. I can just see them actively lining up to help sell you a hybrid vehicle that gets over 100 mpg in the USA.

      This just in: cars are not sold by petroleum companies. Cars are sold by automobile companies. And yes, car companies would line up to sell you a hybrid vehicle that gets over 100mpg in the USA, if they could figure out a profitable way to do it.

      Where is the F/OSS spirit? Guess it goes away when there are billions of dollars to be made?

      What

  • Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency. This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned. The rest either turns to carbon corroding the engine or goes out the exhaust pipe as greenhouse gases.

    This is BS.

    Most of the fuel is already burned. Most inefficiency comes from the fact that a lot of energy is lost as heat that does no work.

  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by Raelus (859126) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:19PM (#13590657)
    And you can pre-order this _patented_ technology for only $19.99! Call within the next five minutes and receive a second for FREE!

    Right.
  • Ok, I'm not too sure about this 35% figure. I'd always taken that to mean that 35% of the energy generated by burning the gas actually goes into moving the car - the rest being mostly dissipated as heat. I was under the impression that any properly tuned car is burning very nearly all of the fuel, or we'd all be backfiring constantly.
  • Good deal! I will do it for that, and make about $7.5mln profit.

    Anyway: Reducing polution by about 100% would mean polution free while still burning petrol? Where does the CO2 go? That is a greenhouse gas and also polution.

    Safety worries and this complex solution: Lets say the water storage capacity of the unit is about 1 litre of water. In H2 compressed into a liquid that would mean a 1 litre=1 kilo, molecular weight of water= 18, molecular weight of H2=2, resulting in 111 grams of H2. Larger gas cart
    • A 450 gram liquid H2 cylinder would also be highly explosive. I'm pretty sure that the reason he's using water is to prevent cars from going boom, not to achieve the highest-density H2 storage.
      • Methane, propane and butane are also highly explosive. That is why I mention them. We are used to handling those.
        Just think of a 20 pound module which is used for this, use the same 20 pounds as protection in the car, and you will have enough protection. The only more risky phase is when you put the module in the car. Still the other gasses which I just mentioned, are just as flameable and dangerous. H2 is just considered more dangerous. It is not useable as a complete replacement for petrol yet, because
        • I'm not sure if I'd feel that comfortable with a .5KG tank of butane right next to an internal combustion engine which is placed 4 feet in front of me, either. Those engine things do work based on explosions, you know...
  • by panurge (573432) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:26PM (#13590693)
    It says only 35% of fuel is burned in conventional gas engine. This is pure bullshit. Only 35% of the combustion energy of the fuel is turned into useful work - quite different. This arises simply from the physics of the gas engine cycle, which says that the percentage of the burn energy that can be turned into work depends on the difference between the temperatures at which heat is supplied and rejected. In a modern gasoline engine, 90% plus of the fuel is burned effectively. The waste is due to gas mixture going out of the exhaust during valve overlap, failed ignition, gas shielding in squish areas.
    The 35% efficiency is the thermal cycle efficiency, with 65% of the heat being lost through the cylinder walls, cylinder head, and exhaust.

    The problem is that to maximise the T1-T2 difference, heat loss must be minimised, and the compression ratio needs to be high since the gas expansion is what drives the temperature change. Spark ignition engines cannot run at very high compression ratios due to the phenomenon of pre-ignition, and this limits their efficiency. Diesels can run at very high compression ratios indeed, because the fuel only burns when it is injected. Their burn cycle also reduces heat loss. That is the reason why Diesels are more efficient than spark ignition engines. Direct injection gas engines (semi-Diesels with auxiliary spark ignition) have been developed by the Japanese but they still require a fuel that costs more to refine than Diesel, and are no more thermally efficient.

    Adding hydrogen can promote more complete combustion and perhaps allow a slightly higher compression ratio, but it still does not get you anything like Diesel efficiency. (You can actually raise the compression ratio a little by injecting ordinary water, but the complication -DI water, extra tanks adding weight, injection gear- outweighs the advantages.) And anyone who has spent time fighting, as my R&D dept did over a period, with those water/KOH hydrogen generators will be aware of the problems. Like keeping the KOH out of the output gas stream.

    In short, sorry, nothing to see here, Sir Harry Ricardo did all this stuff so long ago it was already old when I went to U and I'm over 50. There is no cheap fix to the internal combustion engine, but lots of expensive R&D is producing ever cleaner and more efficient Diesels at ever more competitive prices. Just as fuel cells advance a notch, so do Diesels in lockstep which is one reason why fuel cell tech is always just around the corner. Dr. Diesel's invention is not glamorous, it is perceived as being dirty, noisy, old tech but with companies like VW, Daimler Chrysler, Peugeot Citroen and BMW betting the farm on it, perhaps they know something small inventors don't.

  • Come on - it puts out hydrogen and oxygen. How much more vapory do you think it can be?
  • by sbaker (47485) * on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:28PM (#13590710) Homepage
    Car runs on water...yeah...how many times have we heard that before.

    Let the shredding of ridiculous claims commence!

    1) 80 million miles of testing.

    That's 500 man-years of driving at 55mph for 8 hours a day. The article says he employs 15 people and he's been in the business for 11 years. If we believe this claim at all, we know he hasn't been doing the testing in a scientifically controlled manner. At best, we have to assume his customers are doing it. But if the savings are only around 10%, how do you distinguish variations in driving style from actual fuel savings. There are plenty of ways to get a 10% fuel saving from a typical car by limiting it's accelleration ability for example. If he glued a half inch wooden block underneath the gas pedal he could probably get a 10% saving from most people's driving habits.

    2) Montreal Gazette drove the test car on cruise at 63mph and saw a 10% fuel saving.

    Well, that's really unsuprising. A carefully set up vehicle with properly inflated tyres and driven at the optimal speed on a single highway run can easily out-do the manufacturers milage rating because the test conditions for highway milage ratings from the EPA (or the Canadian equivelent) are less optimal than that.

    3) "The tailpipe was not hot" "...proves that hot polluting emissions are not coming out of the tailpipe"

    Hmmm - everything that goes into the engine (air, fuel) has to come out again - and it has to come out of the tailpipe. Even if what comes out is non-polluting, it *does* have to come out again. Removing the pollutants from the exhaust would make little if any difference to the temperature of the exhaust gasses. This proves *NOTHING*.

    4) He's selling this unit himself.

    This is a HUGE give-away. If this thing was real and had worked solidly over millions of hours of testing - the car manufacturers would be all over this development. He could walk into Ford or GM and pick up a cheque for a billion dollars tomorrow if this worked.

    5) The amount of hydrogen his system could produce must be microscopic.

    The amount of water that's in that little box lasts 80 hours. He talks about his company doing development work to shink the weight of the box down from 20lbs. If the box was mostly one huge water tank then you'd have to deduce that the only way to shink it noticably would be to reduce the size of it would be to shrink the amount of water it holds - but doing that wouldn't require significant development effort. It would be a trivial matter of telling people to refill it more often. So we have to assume that most of the 20lb box ISN'T water. Let's be generous and guess that half of it is a 1 gallon (10lb) water tank.

    So just how much water is consumed over 80 hours of driving? 80 hours of driving would consume - what - 200 gallons of gasoline? So one gallon of water - when electrolized in to hydrogen - drastically improves the fuel efficiency of 200 gallons of gasoline?! Mmmm'K.

    6) How come the hydrogen fuel cell developers aren't making a killing by injecting hydrogen into conventional gasoline engines? The amount of hydrogen in even a modest fuel cell would provide that tiny amount of hydrogen to the engine and last for maybe a year! Much more practical than this gizmo I think.

    Electrolysis driven by a car battery...sheesh!

    7) There are a LOT of unverifiable 'facts' in this paper.

    Google this 'Gene Stowe' guy - who'se plastic version exploded with enough force to fling plastic disks 200 to 300 feet into the air...which we're told were then sighted as UFO's. No sign of him anywhere.

    Oh - come *ON* - if you throw a plastic disk 200 to 300 feet into the air, it comes back down about 20 seconds later. How the heck could anyone ever imagine they'd seen a UFO? Furthermore, if they had a 'lot' of UFO sightings, that means that these things exploded an awful lot. How come the guy continued testing them after they exploded? Why isn't this story all over the Internet?

    Bogus.
  • Something like this would be cool in a true hydrogen-powered car. - You could plug in the car at night and generate hydrogen for the next day. If you're on the road and you're running a little low, stop at a hydrogen refueling station.

    It would be sort of like an electric car but one that could be instantly refueled as well.
  • quite a while. There may be some slight benefit to introducing gaseous hydrogen into the combustion chamber in improving the combustion of the atomized (fine droplets) gasoline, but I find the overall benefit doubtful. Adding a drain on the electrical system puts more of a strain on the engine - if you don't believe this, start your car and let it warm up, make sure the AC/blower and radio are off so that you can hear. Now, turn on your headlights and listen to the change in the sound of your engine - it
  • by gizmonic (302697) * on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:36PM (#13590779) Homepage
    In other words, he would hope to install the H2N-Gen unit in, say, every Canadian National railway and truck engine for free in return for a percentage of CN's fuel savings.

    See? Now that is thinking. The government gets the units for free to add to the vehicles. If it doesn't work, the government is not out any money, and only he loses. If it does work, and he gets, say 25% of what they saved? They spend 75% less on fuel for no investment, and he makes a fortune. It's a win win situation all around. That's the kind of business thinking that is going to make him exteremely wealthy. Assuming it's not vaporware. Pun intended... :)
  • by ChiralSoftware (743411) <info@chiralsoftware.net> on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:36PM (#13590783) Homepage
    This type of story should go into a category for snake oil, novelties and pseudo-science. Geez, people have been promoting 200mpg carburators since the dawn of the automobile.

    ------------
    mobile search [mwtj.com]

  • From TFA:
    Stowe's hydrogen-producing cylinder was "very rudimentary." Among its many problems was a nasty habit of blowing up.

    "They had a lot of UFO sightings around the area because whenever his cylinder blew it sent a disc flying 200 to 300 feet into the air," Williams said, chuckling.

    Kinda funny in and of itself, but then I had to wonder, was that in any way related to this next line?

    Stowe died six months after their meeting. Williams was intrigued enough by that time to try to take the idea to the next l
  • I remember back in '94-'95 running across a "mad science" page with all sorts of these things. This one was supposed to basically attach to the carb and the hydrogen would reduce some of the more complex hydrocarbons into simpler ones or somesuch. I also remember a charcoal fuel filter (involving panty hose), and an electrolysis device based on cavitation... along with a "disk" internal combustion engine (think inside of a harddrive with fuel burning under pressure at the edges and exhaust coming thru the c
  • LOL (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @03:40PM (#13590809)
    What next? Cow Magnets? [mazeministry.com]

    When we will be seeing stories like "Make Money Fast" on Slashdot? Seriously, Slashdot's editors are really letting out some BS stories recently. They really need a science editor to vet these things.

    Here is a list of mileage scams posted on the FTC site. Keep an eye open for these as Slashdot stories in the near future:

    Devices Tested by EPA
    The following list categorizes various types of "gas-saving" products, explains how they're used and gives product names. Those with asterisks may save measurable, but small, amounts of gas. All others have been found not to increase fuel economy.

    Air Bleed Devices. These devices bleed air into the carburetor. They usually are installed in the Positive Crankcase Ventilation line or as a replacement for idle-mixture screws.

    The EPA has evaluated the following products: ADAKS Vacuum Breaker Air Bleed; Air-Jet Air Bleed; Aquablast Wyman Valve Air Bleed; Auto-Miser; Ball-Matic Air Bleed; Berg Air Bleed; Brisko PCV; Cyclone-Z; Econo Needle Air Bleed; Econo-Jet Air Bleed Idle Screws; Fuel Max*; Gas Saving Device; Grancor Air Computer; Hot Tip; Landrum Mini-Carb; Landrum Retrofit Air Bleed; Mini Turbocharger Air Bleed; Monocar HC Control Air Bleed; Peterman Air Bleed; Pollution Master Air Bleed; Ram-Jet; Turbo-Dyne G.R. Valve.

    Vapor Bleed Devices. These devices are similar to the air bleed devices, except that induced air is bubbled through a container of a water and anti-freeze mixture, usually located in the engine compartment.

    The EPA has evaluated: Atomized Vapor Injector; Frantz Vapor Injection System; Hydro-Vac: POWERFUeL; Mark II Vapor Injection System; Platinum Gasaver; V-70 Vapor Injector; SCATPAC Vacuum Vapor Induction System: Econo-Mist Vacuum Vapor Injection System; Turbo Vapor Injection System.

    Liquid Injection. These products add liquid into the fuel/air intake system and not directly into the combustion chamber.
    The EPA has evaluated: Goodman Engine System-Model 1800; Waag-Injection System*.

    Ignition Devices. These devices are attached to the ignition system or are used to replace original equipment or parts.
    The EPA has evaluated: Autosaver; Baur Condenser; BIAP Electronic Ignition Unit; Fuel Economizer; Magna Flash Ignition Control System; Paser Magnum/Paser 500/Paser 500 HEI; Special Formula Ignition Advance Springs.

    Fuel Line Devices (heaters or coolers). These devices heat the fuel before it enters the carburetor. Usually, the fuel is heated by the engine coolant or by the exhaust or electrical system.
    The EPA has evaluated: FuelXpander; Gas Meiser I; Greer Fuel Preheater; Jacona Fuel System; Optimizer; Russell Fuelmiser.

    Fuel Line Devices (magnets). These magnetic devices, clamped to the outside of the fuel line or installed in the fuel line, claim to change the molecular structure of gasoline.

    The EPA has evaluated: PETRO-MIZER; POLARION-X; Super-Mag Fuel Extender; Wickliff Polarizer [fuel line magnet/intake air magnet].

    Fuel Line Devices (metallic). Typically, these devices contain several dissimilar metals that are installed in the fuel line, supposedly causing ionization of the fuel.

    The EPA has evaluated: Malpassi Filter King [fuel pressure regulator]; Moleculetor.

    Mixture Enhancers (under the carburetor). These devices are mounted between the carburetor and intake manifold and supposedly enhance the mixing or vaporization of the air/fuel mixture.

    The EPA has evaluated: Energy Gas Saver; Environmental Fuel Saver; Gas Saving and Emission Control Improvement Device; Glynn-50; Hydro-Catalyst Pre-Combustion Catalyst System; PETROMIZER SYSTEM; Sav-A-Mile; Spritzer; Turbo-Carb; Turbocarb.

    Mixture Enhancers (others). These devices make some general modifications to the vehicle intake system.

    The EPA has evaluated: Basko Enginecoat; Dresser Economizer; Electro-Dyne Superchoke; Filtron Urethane Foam Filter; Lamkin Fuel Meter
  • This sounds very similar to other products I've seen around in the past, just maybe better engineered, since references are made to older ones being rudimentary.

    At a previous job of mine, we tested one of the older products, and also made our own electrolyzer to compare it against. Running an engine connected to a generator with a constant load, we compared fuel economies and did pollution testing. Following the directions that came with the electrolyzer we bought, there were no improvements or changes.

  • TFA mentioned a rival company Hy-Drive.

    http://www.hy-drive.com/ [hy-drive.com]

    They are making pretty much the exact same claims - although a lot less stridently and with no exact claims of fuel savings.

    They'll sell you one right now:

    http://www.hy-drive.com/main/Default.asp?Page=20 [hy-drive.com]

    This one needs filling up with water every 5,000km - and since it fits into a 14"x14"x20" box - you know there's not a lot of water inside.
  • He is unlikely to get the paperwork done in 6-12 months, much less actually get a working model actually available for sale in that period of time, unless he had already developed it two years ago.

    Let's see, he's got to

    • Arrange financing
    • Create manufacturing instructions (blueprints, designs, etc.)
    • Obtain suppliers of components
    • Obtain an assembler or set up an assembly plant
    • Obtain marketing contacts or resellers, or in the alternative, market it himself

    If it was said he was looking at 18 months to two

  • ... a man in Columbus, Ohio did this in the early to mid 90s. The day after getting the funds to start production/continue research he died mysteriously. =/
  • As far as I know, for living somewhere north 45th parallel, water is freezing into what we call ice during the winter.

    What will happen to this generator during the winter, will it survives?

    How the distilled water will be kept liquid during the night?

    How much power will be redirected to keep the water liquid during operation?

    Will there be any combustion residues freezing into the engine during the night?

    What impact on the engine components? I read metallic parts become fragile when hydrogen combustion o

  • It's hydrogen and oxygen, the exact amount released by electrolyzing water. This man is not just injecting hydrogen into the air intake, but one oxygen for every 2 hydrogen.

    This results in a re-combining of the hydrogen and oxygen during combustion. This also creates high temperature water vapor which assists in the combustion process, increasing power output from the ordinary gasoline combustion. Brown's gas burns at several thousand degrees centigrade.

    Here are some links:

    http://www.watertorch.com/ [watertorch.com]

  • It has been a while since I have done this stuff, but I believe SOx and NOx are the big pollutants that come out of tail-pipes (other than CO2 and CO). SOx and NOx love water so they bond to it. It seems like this guy's invention just pumps water into the engine so the SOx and NOx bond to the water molecules and won't be released into the air. That's neat and all, but isn't this just going to pollute ground-water? However, if it increases fuel efficiency ssignificantly, it might be worth the trade off.
  • Think like Brazil (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gone.fishing (213219) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @05:37PM (#13591454) Journal
    On the History Channel the other night I watched the Modern Marvels segment on Sugar. Brazil has all but given up on petrolium and are using ethanol that they brew from sugar. It is nearly as efficient as gas and is 100% renewable, and for those eco friendly types, it is carbon neutral. They have a law that requires all gas stations to sell gas, diesel, and alcohol. They require all manufacturers to make multi-fuel cars and they are succeding.

    We don't need a box that does some fake magic hocus pocus, we need something like what Brazil is doing!

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