On-Board Production of Hydrogen?


Hate to be impolite, but you have to be a real twit to think that you can create AND consume hydrogen “on demand“ to power your car.

Here’s a simple scientific and life fact: Nothing is free and energy can’t be created from nothing.
The proposed designs and the concept that creating hydrogen “on demand” is a good idea is impossible and ludicrous in so many ways it’s difficult to know where to begin.

First you need to create the electricity for electrolysis so, using a car motor:

You start with a fuel. Then
If combustion of the fuel was 100%
AND the motor used to turn the generator was 100% efficient (impossible)
AND transmission of power from motor to generator was 100% efficient
AND generator creating the electricity used was 100% efficient (impossible)
AND transport of the electricity to the electrolysis machine was 100% efficient (impossible)
AND process of electrolysis was 100% efficient (impossible)
AND there were no losses in capturing and piping the hydrogen (impossible)
AND combustion of hydrogen was 100% (impossible)
AND the use of the combustion energy was 100% efficient (impossible)

[Milliways, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe only required you to do THREE impossible things before breakfast :rotfl:]

THEN and ONLY then would you be able to recover 1 unit of energy from the resulting hydrogen for every 1 unit of energy used to create the hydrogen.

AND that’s before you add the expense and difficulty of transporting the water. :rotfl:

So, let’s be generous and say every process above is 95% efficient (and overlook the fact some of the processes are as bad as 20% or less) and ignore the fact I’ve probably overlooked some other intermediate energy losing steps. That means: Output = (1 unit of energy) x (.95)^9 = 0.63. So in some utopic dream world, for every unit of energy you spend making hydrogen, you waste 40%.

Then of course, you really need to compress the hydrogen to get it to usable density/pressure, but considering that you probably even smack the utopic possibility of how much energy output you’d get for each unit of input down by half again. :rolleyes:

The current values given for the various “water car” stupidities is in the range of 10 to 15 A from a 12V battery. That’s only 120 to 180 W, which would be enough to produce 0.24 horsepower! Think you can move a vehicle with only 0.24hp?!? The immutable laws of the universe disallow the magical creation of energy from thin air. Anybody who believes that you can create the energy you need to run a car from such a puny input believes in perpetual motion machines and cold fusion. Run off and get your head examined..

All the “inventors” with their websites and conspiracy theories are full of it. All they would have to do to get around all the elaborate conspiracies they go on about would be to go to their nearest university and demonstrate their “invention” to a couple of students and teachers involved the automotive engineering. If it worked, it would then be used in the student competition vehicles and quickly become the biggest news story ever. Heck even getting on a public radio show with a respectable car mechanic looking over the system and they would have instant riches and fame and their “invention” would spread worldwide.

If a car can be run on the minute amount of hydrogen in a few liters of water, why is it the hydrogen vehicles running on pure hydrogen require large high-pressure storage tanks and still get lousy range? If the water car concept was real, it would be possible to create a hydrogen car that could go for hundreds of miles on one tiny tank of high-pressure hydrogen.

The way that hydrogen peroxide engines/rockets work (http://science.howstuffworks.com/question159.htm), and the descriptions of “cool-running” “hydrogen on demand” or “water” cars, leads me to think that the fraud being perpetrated is that it’s not water that’s being fed to the engines but pure hydrogen peroxide. Particularly the description of the Daniel Dingel watercar generator “instantly” boiling the liquid in the reactor, which would probably be the decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide into water vapour and oxygen, not the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Hydrogen, produced commercially, compressed, and dispensed through filling stations MAY be the future. Although, I doubt it. Where will we get the energy to produce the hydrogen? How will we overcome the huge losses in energy and the lousy energy ROI inherent in hydrogen production?

In a similar vein, an electric car in California pollutes far more than a comparable car powered by a traditional engine. Why? Electricity produced using coal and the losses in production, transport, storage, and use of that electricity.

Biofuels (Biodiesel, ethanol, methanol) have much better returns on energy investment than hydrogen and they are liquid fuels that can de delivered and sold using existing infrastructure (pipelines, transport trucks, tanks, and service stations).

Now, some websites claim that these “hydrogen on demand” injection systems aid in the “complete combustion” of gasoline/diesel and at least don’t go so far as the complete fabriaction/fiction of a water only car. But, even if that’s the case why is the technique not used in ANY manufactured form of engine or industrial installation? Wouldn’t it be easy to add a cylinder of pure compressed hydrogen to all the high mileage competition cars and lockup the win? Wouldn’t power generation companies with their trained and experienced enginners and scientists have installed such systems on large scale powerplants saving millions a year and boosting their profits from electricity sales? Wouldn’t the airline industry add hydrogen injectors to get more milage from their aircraft? Can anyone point me to an ENGINEERING study of these hydrogen systems that shows their effectiveness?

Now, one website seemed to link the injection of hydrogen with a study/report that was about hydrogen peroxide. If that’s the case they have their science all wrong, it’s got nothing to do with hydrogen. The reason hydrogen peroxide can increase power or improve combustion is the same reason that NOx injection works. It provides more OXYGEN for the fuel to combust with. Heck, that’s the same reason superchargers and turbos work. They compress the incoming air to provide more oxygen to the engine.

But, hydrogen peroxide, water, and alcohol injection ssytems all exist and DO increase engine power or decrease fuel consumption. But if you are injecting hydrogen peroxide, you’re NOT injecting hydrogen. You’re injecting water and oxygene. These effects may explain any real results observed testing/using the systems sold with fraudulent hydrogen claims.

If you REALLY want to decrease your energy usage:
- Make sure your tires are correctly inflated.
- Remove racks and exterior accessories when not in use.
- Remove the tail gate or install a cover on pickups.
- Properly maintain your engine.
- Drive with a light-foot.

These are REAL changes that won’t greatly affect your everyday habits.

Want to do more? A diesel engine will consume less than a gasoline engine. And, diesel production is less energy intensive than gasoline production meaning energy savings at the refinery and at the pump. Also, a good diesel engine will beat all hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles in mixed driving. (Hybrid is really only advantageous in start-stop driving.)

More? Tune your engine to get better efficiency (but be prepared to live with decreased performance), or install variable timing systems, etc. But, all that gets expensive and complicated.

Cutting edge, beat the gasoline producers stuff? Start blending diesel fuel with waste or virgin vegetable oil or start brewing your own biodiesel from waste or virgin vegetable oil.

Thanks for the comic relief guys. :)


(editor:  There ARE RESPONSES TO THIS ARTICLE.  They will appear tomorrow.)