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Hydrogen/Electrolysis Boosters on Vehicles

  1. Aug 9, 2008 #1
    What is going on with these things? There are many people around the internet, and local now, that claim these hydrogen/electrolysis boosters do increase your fuel efficiency (mpg) by at least 30 percent. I've seen these devices working first hand, and for some reason they do seem to be increasing fuel economy and power.

    How could these boosters be working to increase fuel economy and power (assuming they do actually work)? Could they be increasing burn efficiency of gasoline by igniting before the hydrocarbons?
     
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  3. Aug 9, 2008 #2

    russ_watters

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    Nothing at all. They are scam.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2008 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Can you elaborate on your observations? Clearly, you think they are not a scam, unless it's a subtle one.
     
  5. Aug 9, 2008 #4

    LowlyPion

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    Look up the name Stanley Meyer. He was apparently the huckster that was promoting hydrogen boost. Claimed even to run a VW off water alone - and of course a battery to hydrolyze the water. He's dead about 10 years now. Looks like trash science targeting gullible dollars to me.
     
  6. Aug 9, 2008 #5
    These actually have nothing to do with Stan Meyer and his elaborate (bs) technology.

    All I can say is from my experience ... I've watched an electrolysis cell (plumbed into the vacuum system) with 10 stainless steel plates (304 grade, 16 ga.) performing 12V electrolysis on pure tap water (no electrolyte), and probably only producing 3 liters of (hydrogen/oxygen) gas per minute, apparently improve the fuel economy (city/highway average) by about 40 percent. This has been observed through about 4 tanks of regular unleaded gas.


    I know the joules being produced by the hydrogen cell is around 3 liters per minute, and there is NO WAY that small amount of energy should increase power and mileage by 40 percent.. Which is why I think the faster combustion rate of hydrogen gas may be what helps performance..

    So, ASSUMING, I am actually increasing my fuel efficiency with this cell... What could possibly be going on in the engine?


    Also, I'm not claiming everyone who sells similar devices on the internet are not scammers, I don't know.
    btw, this thing only costs about $140 to build, and about 3 hours labor, so anyone can try this for themselves on an older carburated vehicle.
     
  7. Aug 9, 2008 #6

    russ_watters

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    How exactly did you observe this? How exactly was that 40% calculated?
     
  8. Aug 9, 2008 #7
    Nothing fancy. Just the same way most people calculate their vehicle's MPG. Fill tank up all the way, set odometer, fill tank up again, then calculate MPG / fuel consumed ... With cell and without cell.
     
  9. Aug 9, 2008 #8

    russ_watters

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    And how did you ensure that your driving was identical each time? What kind of car is it? What are the numbers?

    It isn't possible for this to work. It is a direct violation of conservation of energy because using the car's alternator to power electrolysis makes the engine work harder, more than cancelling any effect of burning dissolved hydrogen.
     
  10. Aug 10, 2008 #9

    LowlyPion

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    My calculations show that indeed the contribution of the H2 combustion looks insufficient.

    Gasoline supplies about 46 Mj per kg.
    H2 supplies about 143Mj per kg at STP.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiency

    If 1 kg of gasoline supplies 1.3 liters and the car gets say 7 mpl (~27mpg), that suggests that it's getting about 9.3 mi/kg.

    Now assuming for a moment that you did actually achieve a 40% increase in mileage, one must suppose that 40% more energy was utilized.

    Working backward from the alleged result that would need to come to 13 mi/kg of gasoline.
    If you are cruising at 60 mph, that would take you 13 minutes of travel time.
    Assuming your claim of 3 liters of H2 generated at STP then that means you would have the contribution of 39 liters of H2 over the 13 minute period cruising period.

    But 1 kg of H2 is 500 moles of H2 and at 22 liters per mole at STP that means that the device is only supplying 39/(500*22) parts of a kg or .0035 kg. In Mj this is then an additional .5 Mj.

    This gives us a budget of 46 Mj for gas + .5 Mj from the H2 = 46.5Mj

    But our requirement was for 40% more energy to do 40% more work.
    We really needed to get 18.4 Mj from the H2 over that period or 64.4 Mj.

    That 18 Mj shortfall looks like a clear violation of the conservation of energy.

    Nota bene this calculation is based on the inherent Gibbs free energy of the fuel itself and is independent of the inefficiency of the motor. Neither did I deduct the additional inefficiency introduced in hydrolyzing the H2 by the alternator load supplying the battery.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  11. Aug 10, 2008 #10

    DaveC426913

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    You are being extremely gentle in your refutation. :wink:
     
  12. Aug 10, 2008 #11
    I understand that H2 gas isn't adding enough energy to the system, and I understand why it should not work.. I'm looking for other ideas that can explain the (obvious) power increase, and MPG increase that I've noticed.
    I also noticed the engine runs cooler.

    Think outside of the box for a minute

    Would it be possible the H2 gas is somehow increasing the burn efficiency gasoline in the ICE? Which is what? 25 percent efficient at best?

    I just found this article. A new sports car manufacturer is installing H2 boosters and claims 30+ percent efficiency gain.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-9960833-54.html Not sure why they say it consumes carbon. That's kinda hard to swallow.... But this is just one example of many people who claim the same thing 30+ percent mpg increase.

    I'd like to see some thoughts on how this concept could actually work. If it was working (in your mind), what could be happening? H2 + waste heat in engine increasing the burn efficiency of fuel? Or, everyone is nuts and there is no way this thing works because physics laws would be violated?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  13. Aug 10, 2008 #12

    russ_watters

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    The only explanation is experimenter error.
    You can't think outside the box if you don't know where the box is!
    No.
    No it isn't. Gasoline burns with an efficiency of well over 90% in an ICE. It's the thermodynamic process of converting that heat to mechanical energy that is only ~35% efficient. And that efficiency has nothing to do with what is being burned in the engine - it's entirely a matter of the physical construction of the engine (and the implications of the laws of thermo on that physical construction).
    Yah - because it's wrong. Now it would be possible to make a hydrogen/gasoline hybrid, but it would work just like a conventional battery-powered hybrid and would need to use fuel cells and electric motors, otherwise it would just waste extra energy.

    The partner on that project is one of the frauds who sells the hydrogen injector add-in kits. So either the manufacturer of that car is really dumb/gullible, or they are in on the fraud.
    It could not work. It doesn't matter how many times you ask the question, the answer is the same. You can't say "assume I suddenly became 20 feet tall, how would that happen?" and expect the answer to be different than if you ask "could I suddenly become 20 feet tall?" It doesn't work that way.
    Not everyone is nuts - just the nuts who think this works.

    This thread has become circular and isn't going anywhere. Locked.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  14. Aug 10, 2008 #13

    russ_watters

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    But one last thing:
    Agreed. Lets look at it a different way, from an energy conservation standpoint:

    Say you get 1MJ of mechanical energy out of your car (doesn't matter over what interval).

    An ICE is about 35% efficienct, so in order for that to happen, you need to burn 1/.35=2.86MJ of some fuel - any fuel.

    Now lets say you want to replace 40% of the normal fuel (gas) with hydrogen. So you need 2.86*.4=1.14MJ worth of hydrogen.

    A good electrolysis cell is about 60% efficient, so you need 1.14/.6=1.9MJ of electricity to make that hydrogen.

    A good alternator is 90% efficient, so you need 1.9/.9=2.1 MJ of mechanical energy to make that much electricity.

    And as said above, an ICE is about 35% efficient, so you need 2.1/.35=6.0MJ of gas to make that much mechanical energy.

    So adding all that up, in order to replace 1.14MJ of gas with hydrogen in your car, you actually need to burn 6.0MJ more gas! for a total new energy expenditure of 2.86-1.14+6=7.72MJ of gas and a new efficiency for your ICE+hydrogen generator of 1/7.72= 13%. For now, I'll stick with my 35% efficient system.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
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