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Hydrogen Generating Module to Help Your Car?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 9 years ago | from the guilty-until-proven-innocent dept.

Businesses 506

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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That's nice, but (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590519)

Where's the profit for the oil magnates?

Re:That's nice, but (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590608)

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: (4, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590527)

Where does the power to crack the water come from?

It's another perpetual-motion machine, people.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Simple question: (1)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590536)

Nuclear power.

Re:Simple question: (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590749)

Zero point energy.

Re:Simple question: (3, Informative)

mightybaldking (907279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590558)

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: (4, Interesting)

mjfgates (150958) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Water injection (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590696)

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.

Re:Simple question: (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590758)

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: (3, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Simple question: (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590729)

The real question is the output from the running car can generate enough electricity to keep the battery charged.

No problemo. Just put in a big enough alternator and feed the engine enough gasoline to turn it.


Re:Simple question: (1)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590741)

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 mechanical force(f). You know, this thing will increase the load on the engines electrical system, wich will put more load on the engine itself. I doubly think this is bad. Adds weight, adds additional loads to the car, and will thus decrease the lifespan of these components that see additional loading.

Re:Simple question: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590596)

Eh.. guess you didn't ever take high school chemistry, no? If you read the article, you'll see that the unit is driven by the vehicle's battery/electrical system.

Maybe a quick study on electrolysis would help you understand the simple mechanics here.

Re:Simple question: (3, Insightful)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590674)

And a study of physics will help you understand that more energy is consumed splitting the water than is returned by the combustion of the hydrogen. Try this some time, start your car and let it idle for a little bit just to get a stable warm idle rpm - now turn on your headlights and listen carefully to the engine or watch the tach if you have one. The engine will bog down slightly from the increased resistance from the alternator which was previously spinning freely. Introducing any kind of electrical strain will have the same effect - the engine has to work harder to turn the alternator.

Re:Simple question: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590620)

Okay it's very simple, but I'll take it slowly for you. The purpose of hydrogen power is not as a source of energy but as energy storage. If we can get cheap, clean power from the ol' grid (say, from fission), we can produce hydrogen to efficiently store the energy. See? It's not so complicated.

Re:Simple question: (3, Informative)

djbckr (673156) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590624)

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.

Re:Simple question: (3, Insightful)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590789)

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.

Re:Simple question: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590654)

Car engines are notoriously inefficient, which means that there are a number of areas in which power can be generated without expending more fuel.

Option 1: thermal energy being radiated by the engine - doesn't do much at present and there's a lot of it there.

Option 2: a dynamo - there's a lot of spinning axles and power trains in there which could easily give you a decent amount of rotational energy to use.

There's probably a lot more ways you can get extra power from a car. Assuming that a car was 100% efficient you would be correct, but unfortunately it isn't so the perpetual motion argument doesn't work. For an example, have a look at the Toyota Prius - a lot more miles per gallon than most cars, yet not breaking the laws of physics...

FTA: (-1, Troll)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590529)

The only thing the vehicle owner has to do is refill the unit with distilled water once every 80 hours of engine use.

YOWCH, I'm sure some people will be spending more time filling their cars with water then gas then.

Re:FTA: (4, Informative)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590572)

Huh? Okay, simple math here... 80 hours at an avaerage of say 50mph is 4000 miles. Say an average car gets 25mpg, that's 160 gallons. WIth a 15 gallon tank/fillup it's about every 10 tanks that you would need to add water.

I don't get your comment.

Re:FTA: (-1, Flamebait)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590601)

your 'simple math' is incorrect and relies on false assumptions. Anyways this 'add-on' is supposed to increase efficiency and use less gas, so again your math is flawed since it's based on driving w/o this device implemented.

stfu & gtfo.

Re:FTA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590641)

wow. you're such a bitch.
the other guy is right, you're wrong.
and instead of trying to prove why you might be right, you just say "nu-uh, you're wrong!" like a child.

Re:FTA: (0)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590742)

Uh, ok, so our car getting 25mpg now gets 10-40% more, lets make it 25%, as an average. so 25*1.25 = 31.25, we'll round up to 32 to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Take your 4000 miles divide it by 32 for gallons used and again by 15 for an average tank size and you get ... about 8 tanks between water fillups.

I'd argue that's fairly accurate. Smaller cars have roughly 10-11 gallon tanks, midsize cars and small trucks around 14-16, and large trucks SUVs are somewhere in the 20's. Plus you don't run the tank completely dry, so putting 15 gallons into a car is likely fairly typical.

How about this, instead of yelling that I am wrong, and telling me to shut up and go away, why don't YOU come up with a better model?

Re:FTA: (1)

mightybaldking (907279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590595)

Yes, because we can all leave our engines running for 3 and a half days without adding gas. I get six hours tops at highway speeds.

Re:FTA: (1)

ehlertjd (694587) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590602)

I really want to know what kind of mpg you're getting and how big your gas tank is that you refuel less than once per 80 hours of use.

Pricey! (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590531)

$7500 for a 10% increase? Seems a bit steep for the average joe. I'm sure that if this gets popular, prices will go down. Sounds like a great idea if it works.

Re:Pricey! (4, Informative)

Stripsurge (162174) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590648)

From TFA: At first they're not even marketing to average joe. They're going after major consumers like the CN (railway) that spends $11 billion a year on fuel. 10% of 11 billion is a lot.

Presumably if/when this works for the big guys the company will have more money to throw around. Economy of scale will kick in and bring the device to the average consumer at a lower price.

Re:Pricey! (2, Insightful)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590706)

For a transit bus or a heavy truck this is nothing! Transit buses typically cost anywhere from $0.5-2 million and trucks are also similar in their price. Diesel locomotives are pretty darn expensive too, so a $7,500 gadget is not as expensive as it seems.

Vaporware? RIGHT! (3, Funny)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590535)

It isn't anymore vaporware than Windows Vista

Where does the energy come from? (2, Interesting)

detritus` (32392) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590539)

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 more power because of compressor (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590687)

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.)

Re:AC draws more power because of compressor (1)

turbotalon (592486) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590765)

The alternator supplies power on-demand. Once the battery is charged the alternator only puts out a few amps of current, mainly to run the computer, ignition, etc. The more accessories that are turned on, the more current the alternator must supply, the more rotational drag to the engine. There is no 'rest of the power'.

Re:Where does the energy come from? (1)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590735)

Refilling water - well, you can make a 1-gal tank for it. As for chemicals, people already have to deal with batteries (unless they're maintenance-free) and if they cell the chemicals in spill-proof containers that you can just "plug in" to the car, they should be fine. I mean we don't have people drinking radiator fluid, do we? (I guess we do, but they don't live long enough to tell us about it). As for the extra current that is needed for the breakdown of water, that's where the hybrid technology would come in.

Re:Where does the energy come from? (5, Interesting)

greebly (133856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590772)

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.

I don't know.... (4, Funny)

menorikey (915085) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590540)

I still think the cat-fueled method would provide a greater return in the long run....

Hydrogen for faster burn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590542)

It's been known for years that adding hydrogen to the mixture allows a better fuel burn by making the ignition faster and more consistant. However, the amount of energy needed to produce the hydrogen probably counteracts whatever extra energy is produced. This may be good for reducing pollution, but I don't think it'll save much fuel, especially in a regular engine, and not one specifically designed for it. You need quite a bit of hydrogen, and it takes tons of electricity to split water.

Catchpa: diesel

it's the way guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590545)

another frontpage without apple+ipod+apple->intel headlines.

The best part... (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590547)

Is that you don't have to shave before driving to work in the morning.

I know a guy.... (1)

Radio Shack Robot (640478) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590548) Mississippi State University that made one for a Senior Design project. It really does work.

Uses (4, Funny)

Saiyine (689367) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590550)

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

Superb hosting [] 4800MB Storage, 120GB bandwidth, $7,95.
Kunowalls!!! [] Random sexy wallpapers (NSFW!).

Subject (1)

GET THE FACTS! (850779) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590557)


Wait and See (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590563)

Look, all the papers printed that there were WMD in Iraq because a couple of idiots said so. Just because it is in print, does not make it so. But it would be cool if it works.

Cold Fusion? (0, Flamebait)

mldkfa (689415) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590564)

I wonder if this guy is friends with the guys who did cold fusion?

Oil Companies (4, Funny)

drivinghighway61 (812488) | more than 9 years ago | (#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,


Re:Oil Companies (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590709)

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.

It's a fake (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590575)

How do you get a hundred percent reduction in emissions and still be using an internal combustion engine??? It's not possible to not create some emmissions.

Re:It's a fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590662)

Of course there are emissions. They are talking about pollutant emissions. There will be plenty of steam coming out of the exhaust which is what you get from this type of fuel.

Re:It's a fake (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590667)

It's not possible to not create some emmissions.

Aren't diesel engines no-emission? My understanding was that diesel engines only had unburnt fuel coming out which could then be recaptured...

Re:It's a fake (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590719)

The internal combustion engine is simply a mechanical device designed to turn energy into motion. It doesn't necessarily mean that there's always going to be a pollutant.

Re:It's a fake (1, Insightful)

IWorkForMorons (679120) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590738)

I've seen the tech behind this on Discovery before, but not in this form. It's true that adding hydrogen to the combustion cycle will burn the gas more efficently, leading to less pollution going out the tailpipe because it's all burned in the chamber. Don't know if it would reach 100% efficency, but it'll get pretty damn close. The only problem with the Discovery story was that they were using an actual tank of hydrogen, which can be dangerous.

Pollution comes from the fact that only about a third of the fuel that goes into the combustion chamber is actually burned. The rest is spit out as exhaust. And that's in a properly tuned and maintained car, which many cars are not. Really it's closer to about 25%, leaving 75% go out the tailpipe as hydrocarbons and other lovely stuff that we get to breathe in. Think about that...for every 4 liters of gas you buy, only 1 liter actually moves you forward. This means you have to buy more gas. And then you wonder why the oil companies don't want this kind of tech to come out.

Of Course It's Vapourware! (1)

John Zebedee (659358) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590579)

Catalyzing DHMO into its components . . .

Electricity - Hydrogen - Internal Combustion? (1)

dmitriy (40004) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590582)

Let me rapeat just to make sure I got it right. Energy in form of electric current splits water in hydrogen and oxygen. The box collects hydrogen, vents oxygen, and then hydrogen is burned into the conventional engine, which through the transmission turns the wheels.

I'd simplify that. I take electricity and run it through the electric motor instead. 90% efficiency! Any takers to market that with me?

Cool (1)

Crook C-Digital-Art (904473) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590584)

Just how much power does the alternator produce that is unneeded to top up the battery and keep the engine rolling along, therefore going to waste? Is this addon simply using the extra power to electrolyse water? Seems like a good idea to me.

Re:Cool (1)

mightybaldking (907279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590626)

TANSTAAFL. The alternator gets harder to turn the more electrical load you put on it. Any load on the electrical system reduces efficiency. However, we need to know about the catalyzing effect of the hydrogen on Hydrocarbon combustion. There still may be a net benefit.

Re:Cool (1)

Aranth Brainfire (905606) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590728)


Bless you.

You should get that looked at.

Where's that Cdn modesty? Honestly, Bill Gates!?! (3, Funny)

Maow (620678) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590587)

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.

So ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590588)

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

Re:So ... (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590724)

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.

Don't You Wish (1)

mikejz84 (771717) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590591)

./ had a BULLSHIT! buttion?

RTFA (2, Informative)

SmokeSerpent (106200) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590592)

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.


100% reduction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590594)

So this thing engine will not pollute any when burning gas? Huh?

Ho Ho Ho (5, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590597)

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.

Re:Ho Ho Ho (2)

delibes (303485) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590690)

I was doubtful about your comment that adding water increased efficiency, but a quick search turned up this water injection [] 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 turbo charger that would benefit from water-vapour injection. The manufacturer's website says not.

Re:Ho Ho Ho (2)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590711)

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 &ie=UTF-8&q=water%20injection%20internal%20combust ion [] piles of links.

Re:Ho Ho Ho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590714)

Someone didn't RTFA, or they did and just completely forgot what it said before they posted.

Re:Ho Ho Ho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590771)

And those who don't know simple chemistry mechanics are ...

But just to clue you in a little bit, water isn't compress-I-ble, and hydrogen burns clean - producing steam as a byproduct -- very small amounts of steam, and very small amounts of nitrogen oxides.

Fark (1)

Sinryc (834433) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590605)

I LOVE articles that come from FARK.

great,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590607)

i'll use it to play duke nukem forever and check my sco stock while using my windows vista tablet onstar pc...

while, for one, welcoming our new hydrogen overlords...

I dunno (4, Interesting)

Ozwald (83516) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.


All the elements are still there : ) (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590751)

Yes, Oz is right - you are burning hydrocarbons - so no matter how much "thermal efficiency" you achieve (putting energy to work as opposed to wasting it as heat), you will still have all the same elements you started with: after mixing
+ fire and
+ oxygen your
+ hydrocarbons (gasoline)

= will now be

+ hydro+oxygen (water) and
+ carbon+oxygen (carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide),
+ unburned, hydrocarbons
+ ozone compounds
+ carbon soot,
+ nitrogen+oxides and whatever else.

Carbon doesn't corrode your engine, that would be oxygen. You're exposing your iron/steel engine parts to heat and oxygen, and eventually you're going to see oxidation (rust) of your metal parts.

Re:I dunno (4, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590757)

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.

WC Fields (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590762)

It most certainly sounds fishy.

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

More poor technology reporting (4, Informative)

delibes (303485) | more than 9 years ago | (#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 [] .

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.

Re:More poor technology reporting (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590780)

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.

high school chem class? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590618)

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 places.

I sort of doubt the safety and savings claims on this. 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, I predict, will be another promise that goes unfulfilled....

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

Re:high school chem class? (1)

delibes (303485) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590743)

"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.

RTFM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590627)

Hey Guys rtfm, the article says that the hydrogen produced by the box, from excess electricity coming from the engine causes a cleaner burn. It is the cleaner burn that increases fuel efficiency. Pretty simple really.

The article is crap (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590632)

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.

Efficiency 97%???? (1)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590653)

How can the efficiency of an internal combustion engine be 97%!?!?!?!?!? Didn't we all learn in physics that it's simply not possible!

OMG (3, Funny)

Raelus (859126) | more than 9 years ago | (#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!


35% combustion? (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590666)

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.

$7.5 million to safely split H2O (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590689)

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 cartridges than this size are freely available for methane/butane/propane. Just as explosive as H2. If inserting H2 in the cilinder of the car gives such an efficiency boost, would a 450gram liquid H2 cilinder not be more efficient? The total setup would be lighter, easier to use (just plug in a cilinder), less chance of something breaking, no chemicals, and not to mention (what I already started with) CHEAPER!

The 20 pound module filled with chemicals and electronics, can then be replaced or it can be integrated into the electronic injection system.

Re:$7.5 million to safely split H2O (2, Funny)

Roguelazer (606927) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590705)

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.

Unfortunately, article is garbage (5, Informative)

panurge (573432) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

/. Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590697)

I'm curious as to how many people read the entire article before jumping to conclusions. I know that I took the time to read the article (It was in my local newspaper on the front page, with a huge photo, leading to a story on A3, Saturday Edition... I am skeptical of the press, sure, but not to that extent).

If you read towards the end it goes on to say how the device has 80 million miles of on road testing already, also the plan is not to put them into everyones home car (although that would be ideal), its moreso for large trucks, and public transit, where it would greatly help fuel emissions.

The cost is steep, however the energy savings over a 10 month (this is from the article, probably a little fudged, i'd say a year-two years before complete ROI).

Where the article did take a turn for the worse was when he mensions wanting to cash on on Carbon Credits. He wants to become a billionaire off of (what could be) a genuinely revolutionary product, by basically holding other countries who cant afford the technology hostage, as he will be issued a TON of carbon credits.

My 0.02

It IS vapor-ware (1)

mrRay720 (874710) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590699)

Come on - it puts out hydrogen and oxygen. How much more vapory do you think it can be?

Let the ripping apart of bogus claims commence! (5, Insightful)

sbaker (47485) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590710)

Car runs on 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?


electricity from brakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590730)

If he would generate the electricity form the brakes than at least this device would make at least *some* sense.

Carnot Engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590737)

"Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency."

Isn't this efficiency topped by the Carnot Efficiency? The only way he can improve on this
theoretical efficiency, is by driving up the
temperature. carnot.html []

A few points of suspicion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590739)

Ok, the injection of H2/O2 may very well increase the degree of fuel burned and there is a vague possibility that a device like this may work, however certain points in the article are complete crap.

'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 so wrong it's stupid - 35% efficiency absolutely does not mean only 35% of the fuel is burned. It could however simply be a mistake by the journalist.

'What's more, even after the hour-long drive from Montreal, the tailpipe was not hot. In fact, we could wrap our hand around it without getting burned. Williams claims this proves that hot polluting emissions are not coming out of the tailpipe.'
WTF!!! No hot gas is coming out of the engine, eh? Adding H2 makes this occur, eh? Not too likely.

Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590745)

I remember seeing directions online 8 years ago, this guy was getting 40-50 miles to the gallon on his Jeep. Only thing is that the electrodes need to be changed every so often.

Hydrogen powered cars (2, Funny)

boring, tired (865401) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590746)

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.

This and similar products have been around for (1)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590747)

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 will bog down slightly. If you have a tach, you will be able to see the slight change in engine rpm there too. The engine has to work harder because the alternator is now harder to turn. Adding any electrical drain will have the same effect. Since there is loss of energy in splitting the water, less energy is returned through combustion than was used to produce the hydrogen, there would be little real benefit and actually a possible loss of fuel effeciency. It is possible that water vapor is entering the combustion chamber which DOES actually increase effeciency by increasing the amount of expansion of gasses during combustion - that can be done with a simple passive system much cheaper and consumes no electricity and has nothing to do with hydrogen production.

This is old (1)

elix3r (760009) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590750)

The idea for this has been on the net a long time, I made one of these 5 years ago out of a PVC pipe using baking soda and water with stainless steel kitchen knives from a thrift store and hooked it up to my PCV valve. It did boost my gas mileage until I went on a long trip and burned out the switch I had it connected to since it was pulling so much power once it got hot.

Anyways, this guy is just the first to finally put a product on the market, which is great. but keep in mind you are going to have to be responsible for constantly adding whatever and whatever else it needs all the time, which most people wont do since they don't even want to change their oil every 3,000 miles!

the IMPORTANT question =) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590753)

How much more boost on pump gas I can run with this hydrogen module in my talon tsi before the engine goes knockity knock?

This is bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590756)

Worst. Article. Ever. (or at least today):

Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency.

While I don't know if 35% is the correct figure, I would agree that the process of converting explosive energy to mechanical energy isn't very efficient. 35% sounds possible.

This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned.

At this point, I call bullshit! I'm not a chemist, but I recognise that if 70% of your fuel is not burnt, your internal combustion engine isn't much of an internal combustion engine! (Let's increase fuel efficiency a factor of 3 by catching the gasoline that dribbles out the exhaust!) Besides, the sub-perfect mechanical efficiency of the engine is not necessarily related to combustion efficiency. Does it also convert all the heat from burning gasoline into mechanical energy?

The rest either turns to carbon corroding the engine or goes out the exhaust pipe as greenhouse gases.

Carbon is corrosive? (I bet all that carbon dioxide acid rain is causing a heck of a worldwide problem...)

And carbon (or in this case carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas) is produced as the result of burning most organic materials (including gasoline). What else is supposed to happen here? Burn carbon dioxide? (..the idea of which, frankly, is retarded).

And on another note, it seems like the quack inventions always have a magical box in a lab and everyone stands around poking at it (like the dude in the photo). The inventions that work are outside, being demonstrated to and used by the journalists. I'll believe their claims when they fit a device to the journalist's own car and let them try it out for a week to see the gains for themselves.

Article in local Montreal newspaper... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13590761)

This guy made front page headline in the Montreal Gazette this week - if any Montreals are out there, they can confirm this.

In the article (I don't have an online account for the paper and cannot copy/paste, and I recycled the paper out already, sorry) they had a lead tester from Wardrop (a huge international firm) testifying that they built a module from this guy's specs and it *did* work. And the paper had a test drive with the unit too - with a 2000 V6 Jeep Cherokee. Their recordings were dead on with the guy's claims - the vehicle was using 12% less fuel than Chrysler's claims on a 7 hour trip from Montreal to Toronto, and when they got to Toronto they had an Ontario Government certified garage do a standard provincial vehicle emissions test on the modified vehicle - and the modified vehicle turned out zero harmful emissions.

I had to admit I was skeptical (and still am) but they gave this guy the front page headline, and about 3/4 of a full newspaper page on the inside for explanation and details. The test by the journalists themselves, plus the testimony from Wardrop, adds up to a very convincing argument. (though the paper themselves said that their testing should be taken as purely anecdotal, and not a scientific fact, as it was not done under controlled circumstances)

There was also a quote in the paper by an oil company execute (can't remember which, sorry) saying that, of course, this guy was a snake oil salesmen.

Can any fellow Montrealers back me up, or find the article online?

It's legit! (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590776)

I saw it on fark with a COOL tag several hours before it hit slashdot. If that doesn't convince you I don't know what will.

Absoutely Brilliant Business Model (3, Interesting)

gizmonic (302697) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590779)

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... :)

Once again, /. needs a "snake oil" category (2, Insightful)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13590783)

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.

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