Sciencemadness Discussion Board


IrC - 29-8-2008 at 08:49

Running Your Car On Water

I keep seeing this advertising, and decided to ask what the rest of you think about it. As for myself, I do not see how there can be a gain. IIRC I remember someone in another thread a few years ago stating the energy used to disassociate water was greater than that gained by recombining the gasses. If so, would not the horsepower load being used by the alternator be more than the H.P. gained by burning the gas mix in the engine? This website seems to me to be just another money scam but I am curious what the community here thinks about this idea.

Had to change the link since the one that worked two days ago appears to have vanished. I imagine that answered my question since a real legitimate company should have lasted at least a week online?

[Edited on 8-29-2008 by IrC]

Xenoid - 29-8-2008 at 11:42

From what I can gather, the idea is to improve the combustion efficiency of the ICE, rather than gain additional energy from the combustion of the H2 and O2 generated in the cell. The latter is clearly impossible, but if the petrol/air combustion efficiency was somehow improved and the overall efficiency went from say, 25% to 30% that would be a good achievment.

There have been several high profile tests here in NZ recently, both the Automobile Association and on TV. None showed any fuel savings under properly controlled conditions!

There have in fact been several cases of homemade cells exploding and catching fire.

Give it a miss and build an electric car, its pretty simple!

[Edited on 29-8-2008 by Xenoid]

Arrhenius - 29-8-2008 at 12:04

I too have puzzled over these magical water powered car claims. I agree, you can't split water efficiently at this point (I think this will come soon though, given that plants can do it from light). How, though, can adding water to a combustion of gasoline improve efficiency? An adiabatic expansion would be the most efficient, where no energy is dissipated the block/head etc. as heat. It seems to me that water requires quite a great deal of energy (thermal) to change phases, and would essentially absorb heat from the combustion. In fact, I used to have a water injection on a turbocharged car of mine, the purpose of which was to lower combustion temperatures. Overall, not quite sticking a garden hose in ones gas tank! Haha.

12AX7 - 29-8-2008 at 12:13

Water injection increases the octane (why should be obvious).

I've heard of a six-cycle engine which improves efficiency with a third stroke where water is injected, expanded (to steam) and exhausted. Supposedly it gives excellent results, although I bet it doesn't fare as well on water-cooled engines.


Twospoons - 29-8-2008 at 14:56

6 cycles - I can see how that could work - not only extracting some of the waste heat as mechanical power, but operating the combustion cycle (cool cylinders) at an overall lower temperature should improve efficiency a bit. It would require very clean water though!

Adding hydrogen to the fuel fix in a standard engine may alter the burn characteristics, but I'd be willing to bet that the engine would need to be specifically designed to take advantage of the change. I doubt adding this to an exisiting engine would do much.

IrC - 29-8-2008 at 19:24

OK Tim, I see where slowing down the burn is equivalent to octane boosting, and I can see using the extra cycle to produce power from what would be wasted heat seems logical. I imagine the extra drag and friction wasted in the extra cycle should reduce any gains a lot however. Question is I remember reading long ago something about carnot cycle which lead me to believe the hotter the engine is the greater the efficiency. Since you and most out here are closer to your college years (meaning you remember more of it) can you say if the hotter the better idea is correct?

not_important - 29-8-2008 at 22:39

The Carnot limit defines the maximum efficiency of a heat engine. It is related to the difference in the hot and cold temperatures, eff = 1 - (T_cold/T_hot) with temperature expressed on an absolute scale such as Kelvin. As the limit on the cold side temperature is generally reached first, being the ambient temperature, pushing the hot side temperature up is the easy way to increase efficiency. Real world heat engines don't reach the Carnot limit for a number of reasons; large, high compression, slow speed marine diesels can hit 50% efficiency - about as good as any single cycle system does.

The 3rd cycle with its injection of water is similar to the combined cycle power plant, where fuel is burned to drive a gas turbine, then the exhaust stream used to generate steam to turn another turbine in a Rankine cycle. This can boost overall efficiencies of such power plants to 60% or higher.

franklyn - 30-8-2008 at 17:50

" Running on water " implies being powered by it, which is fraud.
The stanley steamer " ran on water " and it got lousy fuel mileage.

Originally posted by 12AX7
I've heard of a six-cycle engine which improves efficiency with a third stroke where water
is injected, expanded (to steam) and exhausted. Supposedly it gives excellent results,
although I bet it doesn't fare as well on water-cooled engines.
Here's that post

Originally posted by not_important
The 3rd cycle with its injection of water is similar to the combined cycle power plant,
where fuel is burned to drive a gas turbine, then the exhaust stream used to generate
steam to turn another turbine in a Rankine cycle. This can boost overall efficiencies
of such power plants to 60% or higher.
The gotcha is complexity and expense, why this sort of cascading
of temperature differentials is only seen in stationary power plants.
The cheaply implimented conversion of an existing engine design
is what makes this a worthwhile concept - above link to that post

The opening post of this thread and the link it provided affords no
technical information to assess validity of claims. I would venture
to say that if water aerosol is injected into the cylinders after ignition
of the carburated mixture, that it would reduce the temperature
enough that less heat will transfer to the engine cylinder and will
instead do positive work expanding against the piston.
This is only my surmise of what this might be.


IrC - 30-8-2008 at 18:48

"The opening post of this thread and the link it provided affords no technical information to assess validity of claims." (franklyn)

When I made the thread the link did to some extent, talking about recombining the hydrogen and oxygen to add power, mentioning browns gas. Of course unless you spent the cash you did not get real tech info on the idea. No way would I invest in this so of course I could not offer more info. A day or two later I clicked on the link and it had vanished, forcing me to find another run your car on water ad to edit back in the post.

In any case if you need me to provide the data on creating hydrogen to use as fuel supplement you are not current enough on the subject to be of any use in answering my question. It is not about using water in the engine for other reasons such as detonation control (utilized in the 60's by buick), rather strictly about creating and burning hydrogen as fuel. Of course considerations of actual water injection at the same time for other reasons than being burned as fuel is also worthwhile.

Also it seems there is confusion to exactly what I was asking when I started this thread. The link I used did not say 100 percent water power, rather they were adding the burning of the gasses produced by electrolysis of a tank of water to the power produced by burning the gas in the tank (petrol).

I will search for a better website and edit the link in the first post a second time, hopefully this time the new site will stay in existence longer than 2 days?

In any case what I was asking the board was do you agree with me that the idea must be crap to start with or is there some technical thing I do not know about which actually makes the use of electrical power produced by a gas (petrol) burning engine to disassociate water, then adding the gas mixture into the intake with the gas (petrol) to add power (thereby increasing fuel mileage) a viable idea?

Myself I do not think so but I was interested in what the SCM community thought about it. Since the world is headed into real trouble over the increasing costs of fuel I was thinking this thread would be of some use, seeing as I believe people like us may actually help find alternative energy if we take the time to think and talk about the subject. For this reason I thought this was a viable Technochemistry post rather than something belonging in whimsy or detritus.

As example is there some catalyst which would reduce the electrical power needed to break water apart, thereby actually giving an energy gain that is not some hopeless perpetual motion scheme?

I can no longer edit my starting post so I will add the new link here:

run your car with water

This is an example of the type discussion I was hoping for:

Why will hho or browns gas not improve your mpg?

The last link says to me that creating electrical power by drawing some of the horsepower to create fuel is a "greater loss than gain" method of gaining power by water annihilation and re-creation. So I wonder about the very great loss of heat as waste. Can some catalyzed cell method utilizing exhaust heat be devised to dis-associate H2O? Turbochargers use this heat with great efficiency, so why not hydrogen production. In this way a large amount of extra fuel can be created for free so long as the engine is running, using energy which was already given up for dead anyway. I think this idea at least deserves research, if we really are trying to come up with means to reduce our need for petroleum.

[Edited on 8-31-2008 by IrC]

franklyn - 31-8-2008 at 01:28

This is a topic that refuses to remain staked throught the heart and like
dracula is always rising from the grave.

Here is a post from another thread just like this one

Please pay a visit to this site, practically anything you may want to know on
this subject is rationally explained here ->


IrC - 31-8-2008 at 03:02

"This is a topic that refuses to remain staked throught the heart and like dracula is always rising from the grave."

Problem is this outlook is pointless and does not add to the discussion. If you do not want to talk (or read) about the subject then don't. I am sure others exist who may be interested. Four dollar/gallon gas is a good motivator to start looking at every possible means of reducing the amount of fuel we need to buy.

There is no point in attaching this thread to another that died over two years ago, one which no one is looking at anymore.

Lancaster is focused on disproving fakes on the subject, and does not bother to look at any useful bits of technology there may be. There is no reason to focus solely on over-unity claims, what is important is the question of gaining any power from energy being wasted already. I would think any extra energy gained is going to decrease overall fuel usage. He looks at storage problems and declares the science useless due to technical difficulties without thinking about on the fly methods. Controlling the power to produce hydrogen as loads demand brings storage problems under control.

Since we are all presently trapped into needing petroleum to live the reasons to start talking about every possibility which could free us from this dependency are even greater than they have ever been. Hopefully someone interested may have something to say about the hydrogen question.

[Edited on 8-31-2008 by IrC]

solo - 31-8-2008 at 05:14

How about adding a component alcohol such that it carries H2 and is released when the alcohol ignites at temps of 75-80C ,hence releasing the hydrogen and and it's energy payload........i know it's a simplistic idea but an idea to maybe improve on or spark a better one.................solo

franklyn - 31-8-2008 at 10:44

Not to turn this thread into a political diatribe, but some off topic non-technical
reality is called for here. Can a small startup sell an idea to the gullible and unwary,
sure but that's as far as it goes. Is this a process or method that will be financed
by a bank ? If the answer is no then it will not become commercialized. Money can
be equated to stores of energy , if the balance sheet is red , the idea is bankrupt.


Twospoons - 31-8-2008 at 19:35

Originally posted by IrC

As example is there some catalyst which would reduce the electrical power needed to break water apart, thereby actually giving an energy gain that is not some hopeless perpetual motion scheme?

Yes there are catalysts. Platinum helps on the hydrogen side, cobalt oxide helps on the oxygen side. IIRC the best electrolysers, using proton conducting membranes and fancy catalysts, can reach 80-85% efficiency. So you still lose (i.e. no free lunch).
The only way a scheme like this could be of use is if it somehow improves the combustion cycle - though I think the losses incurred in creating the H2 in the first place are likely to outweigh any benefits.

I suppose the other thing to consider is if it worked, given the price of oil these days, then car manufacturers would be all over it like flies on a dunghill. (conspiracy theories notwithstanding!)

[Edited on 1-9-2008 by Twospoons]

franklyn - 1-9-2008 at 15:01

There is no shortage of ideas of this type
Despite the much deserved harsh criticism of bogus and dead on arrival ideas
There is much opportunity and room for improvement of existing automotive
prime mover technology. The two most noteworthy are combined cycle and
adiabatic engine designs.
The most promising combined cycle design ( In my opinion ) is the Crower six stroke
referenced above ->
Patent number US 3964263
Enter both search terms together in Google "Bruce Crower" "Six-Stroke Engine"

A more famous contemporary of Crower was the late Smokey Yunick who championed
the Adiabatic engine. Realization of this hinges on the development of high temperature
resistant ceramics which as yet remain to be made. An intermediate design erroneously
confused with it which he developed, is the " Hot Vapor Cycle Engine ". This attempts to
recover some otherwise wasted heat by channeling it back into the intake. The mechanical
cycle however is poorly effective at converting the recycled heat into torque.
Patent numbers US 4503833 , US 4592329 , US 4862859
Enter both search terms together in Google "Smokey Yunick" "Hot Vapor Cycle Engine"
or instead these two terms together "Smokey Yunick" "Adiabatic engine"

The salient point here is that both these men have sterling careers in automotive
racing and are keenly able at extracting a little bit more efficiency from an engine.

List of Wikipedia resources

Alternative fuels
Wood gas

Here's one to crow about, the ultimate bio diesel " chicken shit ! "
what the hell they've tried everything else, rev up your Purdue mobile. :P

There are vast trackless expanses of desert which are intensely irradiated by the sun.
A promising area of research is the invention of a genetically engineered algae which
can exude a fuel , perhaps hydrogen , in covered shallow pools in these otherwise
useless regions.
The most promising ( in my opinion ) outlook for new renewable energy, is the
invention of genetically engineered bacteria which can degrade plant cellulose
in the same way that carbohydrates are fermented to produce alcohol.


IrC - 1-9-2008 at 16:18

Good point. I think I should have been more general rather than focusing on hydrogen alone. While I have long thought Lancaster is too jaded, he does make a good point on the low energy content from hydrogen.

I remember a site which documented a couple who tool around in a crap burning van. To avoid layovers when they were waiting for pressure to build in their storage tank, he had set it up so it would also run on petrol. I cannot imagine going around asking farmers for pigshit once a week so I think the idea is not a very good one. However farmers could use this to reduce the petrol needs for running the farm? Recently I read where people in china have perfected transforming sawdust into fuel using bacteria.

I still wonder if ways can be found to use the waste exhaust heat. One idea is a tourmaline crystal generator which adds power to the electrical system, reducing the alternator"s horsepower load on the engine.

not_important - 1-9-2008 at 20:56

As example is there some catalyst which would reduce the electrical power needed to break water apart, thereby actually giving an energy gain that is not some hopeless perpetual motion scheme?

You can reduce the power needed, but it will always take more power to make the H2 & O2 than you can recover from combining them. The Three Law hate everyone.

I still wonder if ways can be found to use the waste exhaust heat. One idea is a tourmaline crystal generator which adds power to the electrical system, reducing the alternator"s horsepower load on the engine.

Thermo/pyro electric converters are generally not very efficient, tourmaline is poor within the pyroelectric class of materials. Most of these are very high impedance materials - generating high voltages at very low current .

Thermoelectric materials are a better match, producing low voltage at moderate currents. They have been used in the automotive heat recovery application, the power generated is not great - 250 watts when driving 180 KPH.

Automotive engines, be they Otto or Diesel cycle, have less than optimal efficiency because of they way the are used. Running an engine over a wide range of speeds and loads makes it difficult to optimise efficiency, especially when trying to provide high torque at loads speeds for starting moving. The power train connecting motor and wheels, and matching wheel spped to the motor, wastes a fair percent of the engine's output.

The hybrid electric vehicle (serial configuration) is an easier way to boost efficiency, run a combustion engine at a fixed speed and load and tune it for that. It produces ore power than is needed to move the vehicle at cruising speed, charges batteries with the excess power, and shuts down when the batteries are charge. Use ultracapacitors for regenerative braking and acceleration, power recovery runs 60 to 80 percent for this application. Use wheel-motors, getting rid of the transmission and rest of the power train, where conventional automobiles loose much of the power from the engine. Electric motors provide maximum torque at low speeds, where it is needed, in-wheel motors means simple anti-slip/skid control. Mileage in a serial hybrid runs 2 to 3 times higher than a conventional automobile of similar performance.

Where there's a will , there's a way

franklyn - 2-9-2008 at 04:25

Power plant burners spray coal powder with compressed air as a torch.
Solid fuels are not as easy to meter as liquids however which is why
paraffin's are the fuel of choice for internal combustion engines. A simple
means of converting coal into a liquid fuel is just to blend the powder
into a colloid with a fluid, this has in fact been done using water, and is
an adequate substitute for diesel fuel. Any hydrocarbon will do as well,
the concentration of carbon only affects the viscosity. This is an available
means which requires zero technology. You can do this yourself with
charcoal briquettes in a kitchen blender and filtering for particle size.
It might be advantageous to spike a water mix with something like
ammonium nitrate to promote better combustion.
Consider the price advantage :
The national average price of ethanol in July was 3.30 a gallon 17.5%
less than unleaded gas which was selling at 4 dollars a gallon. That's
1006 dollars per ton of ethanol ( 304 gallons ), 1360 dollars per ton of
gasoline ( 340 gallons ). Diesel costs 12% more than gasoline which
comes to 1344 dollars a ton ( 300 gallons ).
Petroleum is now at 140 dollars per barrel, roughly 300 pounds of it,
comes to 930 dollars per ton of crude ( 280 gallons ). Bituminous coal
has skyrocketed from 70 dollars a ton last year to a current 185 dollars
a ton and its heat value is much higher than any of the other fuels.
Ammonium nitrate is currently 550 dollars per ton. This means one can
blend an equivalent fuel to power a diesel engine for 1/7 the cost.
Supposing a blend by weight of
80% coal . . . . 148 dollars
12% water . . . . .0
8% NH4NO3 . . . 44 dollars

That's less than 200 dollars per ton of fuel

If anyone thinks I'm full of shit, hold that thought while you' re digging
in your pocket at the gas pump


not_important - 2-9-2008 at 05:59

That is for use in power plants and utility scale boilers, both of which have active plants burning plain powdered coal today. Trying to do that on the scale of an automobile engine is another story.

There's another aspect that is important when using coal as fuel. The composition of bituminous coal by percentage is roughly:
carbon [C], 75–90
hydrogen [H], 4.5–5.5
nitrogen [N], 1–1.5
sulfur [S], 1–2
oxygen[O], 5–20
ash, 2–10
moisture, 1–10

The sulfur produces sulfur oxides, power plants scrub their exhaust to remove this. The ash content is abrasive and erodes surfaces, a coal burning boiler is a relatively simple mechanical system, an internal combustion engine with its pistons and valves is another story. Again, fly ash is removed from the exhaust of coal fired plants; fitting a moving vehicle with such a cleanup system is hardly "zero technology".

And the cleanup is necessary. The SOx from coal burning in British cities greatly accelerated corrosion of building stone, causing more erosion to Roman era construction in decades than had taken place in centuries before coal burning became common. Higher temperature combustion eliminates the soot and tars of simple coal fires, but the acid oxides and ash contribute to the formation and persistence of fogs. I suspect you're too young to remember Los Angeles or London of the 1950s, but a visit to China today will provide examples to study.

franklyn - 2-9-2008 at 11:38

All very true not_important, coal ore is dirty at best, so use metallurgical grade
coke instead. Of course the price of that commodity follows on the heels of the
price of coal, and so Chinese export coke has gone from less than 200 dollars last
year, to around 500 dollars a ton now ( China is the largest coke producer in the
world, accounting for 60 percent of world production in 2007 ).
In place of ethanol, convert wood to charcoal, this is in fact what had been done
in situ with automotive wood gas generators, during the fuel rationing in world war II,
and those are anything but clean. So is it as former President Jimmy Carter declared
" the moral equivalent of war " or not, cough, cough.
New York was smogged well into the 1970's


not_important - 3-9-2008 at 00:32

Coke costs more than coal, and the ash content is higher than the coal it is made from. Metallurgical coke is made from lower ash coals, but this raises to price even higher. Coke is also harder than coal, significantly increasing wear in both the crushing and combustion mechanism. A major overhaul in engine design would be needed.

Biofuels in most regions are not available in significant quantity to support the level of vehicle fuel consumption of the U.S. Most plants are not that good at producing fixed carbon, somewhere between 0,25 and 3 percent of the solar energy ends up in carbon compounds. Sugar cane reaches 8% or higher under optimal conditions, but sustained production at that level does not seem practical without application of fertilisers which consume energy in their production. Algae can do better, but so far no commercial process has emerged. For most crops, including fast growing woody plants and trees, the area of land needed to supply fuel needs is huge, a significant portion of the arable land would be taken up. And the charcoal produced has a fairly high ash content, so you still have those problems.

At the rates of solar energy fixing of plants you'd do better generating electricity from sunlight, photovoltaic or thermal power plant doesn't matter, using that to electrolyze water to make hydrogen, convert the H2 to ammonia to use as fuel. Liquid ammonia has 50% greater hydrogen density (volumetric) the liquid H2 and is a good deal easier to deal with. The complexes of NH3 with MgCl2 or CaCl2 have almost as great a volumetric storage density but much lower vapour pressures; the NH3 is released by heating - waste heat from the engine can be used. Ammonia can be used in IC engines when mixed with roughly 10% of a hydrocarbon such as methane or propane; the engine actually has a slightly higher energy output. You'd get more fuel per area of land dedicated to sunlight collection, without the input in water and fertiliser. And you avoid the problems with handling solid-liquid suspensions, as well as not having to deal with combustion ash.

Wartime conditions are not the best comparison. First, they only existed for a few years; sustainability issues didn't have time to arise. Second, the boom in private automobile use in the U.S. did not occur until after WW-II; a much percentage of transportation was provided by train and public transit, and the average trip in private cars was shorter than now by a significant amount.

franklyn - 3-9-2008 at 16:27

The gas turbine ( Brayton cycle ) was explored briefly but due to lower fuel mileage
has been disregarded.This can burn almost anything without any problem , and used
in an electric hybrid drive can be operated at its optimal power point circumventing
it's major drawback, it's narrow power curve. There is no one solution to energy
provision, every economic resource will need to be exploited, which means what
makes sense over here, may not over there. ( note Iceland is uniquely gifted with
exploitable geothermal resources.)
Ammonia saturated methanol as fuel in a molar ratio of 1 NH3 to 3 CH3OH , 15 % sol.
may make sense as both are already industrially co-produced. Like everything else at
the moment commodities are at all time highs but proportionally priced, ammonia is at
750 dollars a ton, methanol is 580 dollars a ton. Compared to gasoline, the energy
value is comparable on a cost basis too so no economic gain here.


IrC - 3-9-2008 at 18:25

If an old chrysler turbine engine design incorporated some type of high tech modern blades which could take the ash without pitting could the coal - water slurry run one?


Rosco Bodine - 3-9-2008 at 20:20

With overpopulation being a genuine pressure on available resources, recycling of course is a possible

Soylent Green is possibly *both* an ideal food
and fuel of the future ;)

not_important - 3-9-2008 at 20:55

Originally posted by IrC
If an old chrysler turbine engine design incorporated some type of high tech modern blades which could take the ash without pitting could the coal - water slurry run one?

Burning coal like that is a bad idea. The SOx emissions would be horrible, and fall well outside permitted levels in many countries. The heavy metals released likely aren't something you want drifting into your lungs or onto your food. There's a reason newer coal plants have considerable processing of the flue gases.

Coal fired power plants often burn the coal in cyclone burners or a fluidised bed to heat a boiler. Direct turbine use of coal fuel does not seem to done, there have been a number of attempts to make them practical but little success. Their design is different than a more conventional gas turbine, limestone is mixed with the coal, which is burned in a fluidised bed combustion chamber, and there is equipment to collect some of the fly ash from the exhaust. All this makes them considerably larger and heavier than engines using other fuels.

There are small commercial turbines out there

Their efficiency runs 20 to 35 percent, about the same as an Otto and a bit less than a Diesel when running over a restricted range of power output (as in serial hybrid applications)

Originally posted by franklyn
Ammonia saturated methanol as fuel in a molar ratio of 1 NH3 to 3 CH3OH , 15 % sol. may make sense as both are already industrially co-produced.

Methanol is made from syngas, which in turn is made from natural gas or coal and water.

Ammonia currently uses hydrogen from syngas, but can use electrolytic hydrogen and there are test systems that use electricity, water, and nitrogen in sort of reversed ammonia fuel cell. The later runs at much lower pressures than the Haber-Bosch plants, meaning lower plant cost, and use less power overall per kg of ammonia produced.

So ammonia can be made using alternative sources of electric power, which are dropping in cost (wind is about as cheap as coal and may have dropped lower with the run-up in coal prices). You would want your fuel to be as high in ammonia as practical, to decouple it from rising fossil fuel prices. Thus the 90% NH3 + 10% hydrocarbon mix.

IrC - 3-9-2008 at 21:59

Please do not mention Soylent Green! Only saw it once, around 1974. Stopped at jack in the box and bought dinner, then home to relax. Hours later (watching you guessed it, can't say it), I realized I was becoming violently, horribly ill. Ended up being E-coli and almost took my life. Since then just thinking about that damn movie makes me want to puke. Lucky for you the TV dinner I just ate only costs a buck so the bill I will mail you will not be too bad.

Hopefully back to my thread now. So, not_important , the point is it could work, but would need a system to clean exhaust. No good for auto but possibly a fixed power generating plant, say a 10 or 20 KW system for home.

not_important - 3-9-2008 at 22:27

Originally posted by IrC
... So, not_important , the point is it could work, but would need a system to clean exhaust. No good for auto but possibly a fixed power generating plant, say a 10 or 20 KW system for home.

It could, but the best efficiency I've seen for microturbines of that size is maybe 25%; if you live in an area with a lot of heating needs CHP could raise the overall efficiency of a home unit.

A combined cycle coal gasification plant has an efficiency of 45 to 55 percent, high with CHP. SOFC and MCFC in combined cycle plants run 60 to 80 percent, maybe higher; the molten carbonate fuel cells can directly use coal.

So you can have your home system with a 20 to 25 percent efficiency of turning fuel into power, or you can get your power from the grid with 2 or 3 times the efficiency of conversion. Then don't forget if you're using coal you'd have to pay to have it delivered to your house, where a power plant is a bulk destination that could be served by rail ( 1/5 the energy consumption of trucks) just as a coal distribution hub would be. Which of those two choices would likely give you cheaper power?

IrC - 3-9-2008 at 22:53

I imagine when power gets even more expensive some of these negatives vanish? If your electric bill is 500/month or higher this provides incentive, and this is already a realistic figure for an all electric home. Some who live near a railway which delivers power plant coal may make deals, if you drive a pickup 2 miles to load a bed full of coal cheaply it gets better. Believe it or not I live near just such a circumstance. I suppose however we are deviating from the auto question, does not bother me much so long as alternative energy is the thread it is not a bad discussion. Just so long as we keep green or yellow food off the table (to pun or not to pun?).

not_important - 4-9-2008 at 06:27

I think the total market fitting your example is fairly small, especially considering how likely a train is to stop to drop off a ton or three of coal for one person. Also, don't forget you have roughly 5% of the mass of the coal left as ash and scrubbed sulfur to dispose of, sh that generally has enough toxics in it to rate as hazardous. That ash is one reason coal or coke is an unlikely fuel for vehicles, especially smaller ones.

I'm not sure I fully understood you point there, though. If the cost of power goes up because of rising fuel prices, cheaper electricity from large CGCC plants would seem to be more desirable that power at twice the cost from a home unit, and less hassle as well - no coal deliveries, especially by yourself, no waste to haul away. And wind power will place somewhat of a cap on electricity prices, given that it is a cheap as coal power right now much of an increase in coal prices would spur development of more wind farms.

As for vehicles, for short range driving such as at least half of the typical days driving, current electric vehicle technology would satisfy the actual needs of the people (as opposed to the imaginary needs pumped into their skulls by advertising, causing someone whose closest contact with wilderness is a theme park to believe they need a enormous vehicle that can climb mountains for their daily 15 miles of driving on suburban streets). Serial hybrids would double to triple the mileage for those who drive more and for trucks, combined with the aforementioned BEVs this would reduce petroleum consumption by the US by 2/3 or more. As it is the largest consumer of petroleum and most of it goes into fuels, it would seem such a reduction would have measurable impact on petroleum prices.

gregxy - 4-9-2008 at 09:37

I remember that Wired magazine had an excellent article showing how different energy technologies become more attractive as the cost of oil increase.

Here in Silicon Valley we have been seeing a massive increase in private funding for solar cell technologies over the past few years. So it looks like we are nearing the "inflection point" for solar to take off.

Here is an article in Scientific American:

Personally I like the idea of a hybred car with batteries that
could power it without the gas engine for about 40 miles.
That way most people could charge it over night and do most of their driving "gas free". But the capability would still be there for longer trips.

I calculated that if I covered my roof with solar panels I could be energy independent. The cost would be about $60K which is not bad considering the price of real estate in CA, plus for me, the system would pay for itself in about 10 years.

To get back to the "water burning car", I think you would get more benefit out of injecting water into the fuel/air mix than splitting the water into H and O. When the water evaporates it cools the fuel/air mix allowing you to get more moles into the combustion chamber. This will increase the power, but I don't know about the efficiency.

Another problem with the "water car thing" is that with the power that you can get from your cars electrical system, if you drive around all day you might electrolyze a whole ounce of water, this is not going to be enough to make any differece.

watson.fawkes - 4-9-2008 at 12:04

I feel a need to mention the Fischer-Tropsch process, which can be used as a coal conversion mechanism to liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

not_important - 4-9-2008 at 18:57

Fischer-Tropsch has some problems. About 1,8 to 2,0 grams of carbon in end up as CO2 for every gram of hydrocarbon produced. So only 1/3 to 1/4 of the coal, depending on type of coal, ends up as hydrocarbons; the rest of the coal ends up as CO2, H2O, ash, sulfur compounds, and so on. Then there's the issue with the distribution of hydrocarbon size, reducing the amount of C1-C3 hydrocarbons formed results in increased formation of long chains that will need to be cracked back to shorter fuel grade chains; this takes further energy input.

That's not great energy efficiency, below making electricity in power plants. Given the relative efficiencies of IC engine and electrics the combination of Fischer-Tropsch & IC engine is a loser in terms of energy input.; that also means that the relative cost per mile traveled will be higher for FT-IC than pure electric.

I believe that the production of methanol or dimethyl ether from coal has a better utilization of carbon and energy than Fischer-Tropsch fuels do.

watson.fawkes - 4-9-2008 at 20:44

Originally posted by not_important
Fischer-Tropsch has some problems.
Oh, I wasn't advocating it exactly, but it was relevant to the discussion.

As to it's actual economic effect, it's not so much the carbon efficiency that matters, it's the ratio of coal prices to oil prices. And this is all dependent on the cost of replacing an installed base of internal combustion engines with particular fuel requirements. So while it's not a long term solution, it may have some relevance as a transitional one.

Mind you, I have no good idea what these economic numbers are. What I do know is that at the ideal margin (i.e. zero fixed costs incurred), it's worthwhile to extract more value out of an installed base. Whether F-T is close enough to that ideal situation, I just don't know.

solo - 5-9-2008 at 00:59

Originally posted by solo
How about adding a component alcohol such that it carries H2 and is released when the alcohol ignites at temps of 75-80C ,hence releasing the hydrogen and and it's energy payload........i know it's a simplistic idea but an idea to maybe improve on or spark a better one.................solo

Ammonium formate, NH4HCO2, is the ammonium salt of formic acid. It is a colorless, hygroscopic, crystalline solid. Pure ammonium formate decomposes into formamide and water when heated, and this is its primary use in industry. Formic acid can also be obtained by reacting ammonium formate with a dilute acid, and since ammonium formate is also produced from formic acid, it can serve as a way of storing formic acid.

Ammonium formate can also be used in palladium on carbon reduction of functional groups. In the presence of Pd/C, Ammonium formate decomposes to hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. This hydrogen gas is absorbed onto the surface of the palladium metal, where it can react with various functional groups. For example, alkenes can be reduced to alkanes, or formaldehyde to methanol. Activated single bonds to heteroatoms can also be replaced by hydrogens (hydrogenolysis).

not_important - 5-9-2008 at 05:37

, it's the ratio of coal prices to oil prices.

Which was what I was getting at. If the cost per tonne of coal is more than 1/3 the cost of oil then it's not economic for any length of time. 1 tonne of crude oil = 7.3 barrels, see and the actual numbers would need adjustment for the amount of fuel per unit of crude as well as the exact F.T. yields but that 1:3 ratio gives a feel.

There's numbers on the change-out rate of automobiles, as that relates to yearly sales of new ones. Currently in the U.S. the average age of an automobile is 9.2 years, while that of light trucks (including SUV, vans, and other vehicles so labeled to escape mileage requirements) is about 8 years. So there is also the issue if enough coal production and Fischer-Tropsch plants could be brought online to be significant before fleet chance-out shifts the equations. Remember that going to serial hybrids can reduce demand for petroleum fuels by 2/3, without requiring changes to the fuel processing and distribution infrastructure; and the use as fuel is by far the largest demand for petroleum in the US.

On the fringe

franklyn - 5-9-2008 at 12:04

Carbon and water to fuel ( formaldehyde or water gas ? ) using a welding current

Apparently the partial combustion of carbon aids in conversion of electricity to fuel
reducing the power requirement.


not_important - 5-9-2008 at 18:13

Surprise, surprise. They are doing the water gas reaction

C + H2O + heat => CO + H2

perhaps mixed with electrolysis. There's no "reduction in power requirement", the carbon is supplying additional chemical energy.

In the 19th century this reaction was done by alternating feeds of air and steam over coke, air until the coke was hot enough, steam until it had cooled enough for the reaction to be too slow. Alternatively a mixture of air and steam could be passed over coke or coal, but the gases would be diluted with nitrogen. Nowadays this could be accomplished using ceramic tubes based on ZrO2 or other compositions that allow oxygen to diffuse through them when hot. Blow air into the tubes, the O2 that diffuses through is mixed with steam and passed over coke, the resulting mix heats the air on its way to the diffusion tubes. The hot N2 enriched air is used to preheat the incoming air and steam. The resulting gas is a mix of CO, H2, CO2, H2O, and a little N2. Condensing out the water also scrubs out much of the CO2, both can be feed back to the reaction chamber ( CO2 + C <=> 2 CO ).

Blaze Labs is sort of what you'd get from someone who learned science from Silver Age comicbooks, then dropped acid and read a biography of Tesla.

franklyn - 5-9-2008 at 23:16

Originally posted by not_important
Blaze Labs is sort of what you'd get from someone who learned science from Silver Age comicbooks,
then dropped acid and read a biography of Tesla.

Most novel ideas come from dreamers who don't sit on their hands.
I'll take what I can get, I found no other reference sources for the patents cited.

What was then called the U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) had investigated processing coal
to make it cleaner for fuel applications
and had sponsored much research into it's eventual use in engines
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers was heavily involved
The curious thing is that a coal water slurry fuel engine had been developed and patented
more than fifteen years ago by the Department of Energy.
When the patent expires it will no longer be subject to licensing and cannot be suppressed
Coal water slurry fuel internal combustion engine and method for operating same
US patent 5163385 - see attachment

I'm not suggesting conspiracy, but makes me think, what were they thinking


Attachment: US pat 5163385.pdf (602kB)
This file has been downloaded 508 times

not_important - 5-9-2008 at 23:36

The curious thing is that the First International Conference on MHD Power was held in Newcastle on Tyne (coals to Newcastle) in 1962. A number of research models were built in the 1960s. Later in the 1980s the governments in the US, Japan, USSR, Australia, and China all had programs for coal fired MHD generators. Yet today there are no large coal fired MHD generating plants in operation. What were they thinking?

What they were thinking is normally referred to as "research", which does not always lead to practical applications. MHD ran into problems with the erosive effects of slag among other things. And there are many patents out there that never lead to products, they were done in hopes that later research would result in improvements giving practical forms of the invention, the patent was to stake out the territory in case someone else came along with the improvement.

Indeed such research often ends up concluding "it ain't worth doing" or "major improvements in supporting technologies are needed" without there being any known way to obtain those improvements. Read the reports, where they were more than some focused data collection like the one you reference, the problems of abrasion and slag show up constantly.

It hardly seems to be an attempt to thwart a technology, else why would they have spent so much on it?

Total Federal energy-related research spending provided between 1950 and 2003, in billions of dollars
Nuclear $60.6
Coal $27.3
Solar $16.4
Oil $6.7
Gas $5.6
Geothermal $ 2.9
Hydro $1.2

Coal was second to oil in terms of tax write-downs for depletion as well.

I believe that you are confusing research into potentially interesting technology, with actual development of useful devices based on that technology. The problems with the use of coal, especially in small distributed applications, have already been mentioned. China is an example of the results of those problems whrn the solutions applicable to centralised use are not applied.

And while Blaze Labs may not be sitting on their hands, they are sitting on their brains; else they'd not ignored a reaction known for a century and a half and used industrially for almost as long, but instead come up with explanations that contradict conventional chemistry and physics.

IrC - 6-9-2008 at 00:18

I am glad this thread is providing this much discussion. I should have named it alternative (butt not quack) energy, to broaden it to cover everything on the subject and not be confined to just motor vehicles. I think the way it is going is broader in concepts and therefore better. I have noticed over several years there seems to me to be too much emphasis on keeping a thread very narrow and as such I have often thought that this curtails much discussion. In my mind this is due to ideas giving rise to other ideas and I like this better, of course not when it runs into chaos (which is why there is emphasis on keeping topics narrowly confined here). I think the way the thread is going is even better than I started it, and it is helpful to read all the ideas which have been given here.

Originally posted by franklyn
Not to turn this thread into a political diatribe, but some off topic non-technical
reality is called for here. Can a small startup sell an idea to the gullible and unwary,
sure but that's as far as it goes. Is this a process or method that will be financed
by a bank ? If the answer is no then it will not become commercialized. Money can
be equated to stores of energy , if the balance sheet is red , the idea is bankrupt.


I have to say I have been reading Don Lancaster's writings since before many of you were born and do not doubt he has a great deal of very valid scientific thought to offer. However I do not think we know all there is to know about creation meaning there are likely many new ideas which could alter the cold hard realities he gives, especially in his hydrogen as fuel page. Using the train of thought in the above quote I have to wonder about the money thing. Ok, for some reason I am seeing the electrolysis ads on more commercial sites and wonder if it was all false how do they survive and why would so many otherwise legitimate entities allow these ads on their sites. We can still chalk this to ignorance on their part in not understanding all the down sides we all know so well. I ask myself however why did the army spend so much money having just this technology installed in so many Hummers? If this money idea is non refutable and the military would only spend it upon real proof of real gains then what new science do they know about which would nullify Lancasters clear math disproving the entire subject.

I just have to think there is some form of merit in the science here and if so can we learn it and can we improve it? If for no other reason than my previously stated thought that we are in a downward spiral on the oil and energy front and had better come up with working, viable alternatives and we had better be doing it even faster than we may yet see the need. No doubt global conflicts may emerge from the oil crises and the way things look right now this is on the more likely than not side of the equation!

In any case thank you all for so much good discussion in this thread and I hope it keeps going strong.

franklyn - 6-9-2008 at 01:17

Originally posted by not_important

There's no "reduction in power requirement", the carbon is supplying additional chemical energy.

" but instead come up with explanations that contradict conventional chemistry and physics "

This is just semantics

Ordinarily for direct conversion of X amount of power you derive Y amount of fuel
The partial combustion of carbon used, additionally contributes Z amount of fuel
In this process X amount of power consumed is producing Y + Z fuel , X = Y + Z
But X energy DOES NOT EQUAL Y + Z energy
so the amount of power consumed to produce Y amount of fuel is reduced to X - Z
This does not contradict chemistry nor physics.

So called psuedo science is often just poorly expressed in the accepted academic standard
not that there is anything faulty in the logic. Rather snobish and blind to unseen possibilities.


not_important - 7-9-2008 at 07:07

Poorly expressed would seem to be the operative term here.

Let's look at what they say. First off, they explicitly note that they are not claiming over-unity operation, a point in their favor. They describe the process as being:
To make COH2 - a low dc voltage in the range 30 to 50v at high current is used to produce an electric arc which tunnels through water between the tips of common carbon electrodes. The 5,000 to 7,000 degrees F heat from the arc dissociates nearby water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Carbon atoms break loose from the positive electrode and form bonds in this high energy plasma soup. The resulting COH2 molecules cool and bubble up to the surface in the surrounding water where they are collected and ready for combustion.

A bit later they state:
Aquafuel has been tested & confirmed to require less energy to release the gas than as predicted by Faraday's Law of electrolysis, which states that one equivalent weight of a substance is produced at each electrode during the passage of 96,487 coulombs of charge through an electrolytic cell. The underlying "inexplicable laws" are based on element transmutations which take place at the molecular level between carbon, oxygen nuclei and hydrogen ones.

So first they describe a thermal operation, "5000 to 7000 F", and then discuss the effectiveness of this operation in terms of electrolysis. WTF?

I would have been more impressed had they attempted placing one of the carbon rods in water and ran enough current through it to heat it to 1000 to 1500 C, with no arcing or electrolytic flow. I would expect the formation of their gas mixture in this case as well.

A bit later
According to a gas analysis performed by NASA, Hydrogen (~46%), carbon monoxide (~38%), and carbon dioxide (~9%) are the dominant atomic components in AquaFuel before combustion. This result is however contradicted by the fact that permeability tests on this gas disproves the presence of 46% Hydrogen. A balloon of Hydrogen leaked to 10% its diameter within 2 hours, whilst the same balloon leaks to the same percentage, only after 3 to 6 months! Also, the presence of 46% free hydrogen would result in a high percentage of Nitrogen oxide in the exhaust, which was not the case. Balloons filled with this fuel also showed an anomalous attraction by metal beams. Other gases reported by NASA include: Ethylene, Ethane, Acetylene, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Methane. Nitrogen content is also in contradiction with the evidence that much Nitrogen in the mix would render the fuel a cold burner.

Now they have a mix that is at least 84% combustible gases, and 93% consisting of three gases. As a maximum the remainder has to be less than 7% N2. If that list of other gases was in descending amount order then around 1% N2 would be a maximum, hardly enough to "render the fuel a cold burner" but even several times that would not do so - 'wood gas' has much more N2 in it ( ). Acetylene in particular and ethylene would make the fuel 'hotter'.

The claim that the given percentage of H2 would result in a high percentage of NOx ignores the CO content. Water gas is not know as a high combustion temperature fuel, there are many decades of experience with it and NOx production is not mentioned as being a problem.

They question the professional gas analysis, yet make no effort to perform one themselves. A fairly simple apparatus would allow the determination of CO2, CO, general hydrocarbons, and H2. A sample taken for IR analysis would indicate the presence of much C-H bonds, and would certainly show if there was H2C=O .

If the 'CH2O' gas produced were mostly formaldehyde its smell would be obvious, as well. So we're left with a gas that "can't have (much) H2 in it", per the balloon experiment, and doesn't seem likely to have true CH2O in it, from lack of various properties, and so becomes some mysterious gas COH2 with that general formula or ratio of elements but being something other than the aforementioned compounds.

franklyn - 8-9-2008 at 00:58

Experiments to determine the origin of the start of life on earth, were performed
with what is supposed was the constitution of the early earth atmosphere. The
premise is that lightning would produce organic molecules, such as amino acids.
The simpler mix of only carbon hydrogen nitrogen and oxygen in the water fuel
device can nevertheless produce exotic molecules I'm sure. Fullerene is produced
in a vacuum from arcing carbon rods alone.


IrC - 9-9-2008 at 19:49

While not fuel related your link showed me something I had never thought about. If racemic mixtures form then life is next to impossible without a creator to remove all the right handed amino acids? Furthermore with O2 present again life would not form. So I have to wonder about all those scientists who think belief in a creator is silly (Asimov). It would seem now I am supposed to believe life evolved from methane to oxygen breathing after it sparked to life. More fuel for the creationists? I have long known that many of the people I meet if they formed in the method taught must have started with very small sparks.

I know, unrelated to my thread but hey it was your link and besides it's interesting.

not_important - 9-9-2008 at 20:51

The geological evidence is that the Hadean and Archean atmospheres where basically anoxic except for traces of O2 and O3 generated by UV disassociation of water vapour. The transition to a oxidising atmosphere occurred around the Archean-Proterozoic boundary and is marked by extensive banded iron formations and a change in some minerals in sedimentary formations, some elements have states with higher solubilities under reducing conditions and others under oxidising conditions.

None of that life was "methane breathing", nor can single celled organisms properly be said to breath. Oxygen was a waste product from photosynthesis, as is sulfur, hydrogen, and low valency metal ions; purple and green sulfur bacteria and a few cyanobacteria among others can make S, others oxidise NH3 to NO2(-) and NO3(-), H2S or S to SO4(-2), Fe(II) to Fe(III), and so on.

for starters and links therein

There are a number of ways early life may have obtained its handedness, including several that do not depend on chiral minerals.


[Edited on 10-9-2008 by not_important]

IrC - 12-10-2008 at 13:12

Seems the thread went from cars to life and ended. Finding a bit more useful information I thought it should be posted.

Hydrogen Generator

Hydrogen Generator, PWM Circuit

I find much in the links of use. When I moved to a state with mandated alcohol my mileage went from 21 MPG to 14 MPG! After much study the false reading the O2 sensor was giving the computer was the problem and it appears I may be able to make use of some of this including the improved circuit even if hydrogen is not the goal. The false lean information the alcohol was providing the computer was killing my mileage and the power produced. Do not know for sure yet but I will be playing with the idea provided someone here will volunteer to be my ride if I blow the engine. In any case here is a little more useful information to anyone interested in the subject. Also the guy's site has a lot of very well designed circuit projects you can play with.

Hobby Projects to Build, That Work

franklyn - 13-10-2008 at 04:48

While adjusting carburation is necessary to run alchohol, you must expect your
mileage will either be less or else you will develop less power according to the
reduced heat value of the fuel.


IrC - 13-10-2008 at 08:22

True that was a percentage of the loss, but the main loss was being caused by the excess O2 in the exhaust causing the computer to think it needs to dump more fuel than needed. Kind of killing the fuel economy in two ways at once.

chief - 13-10-2008 at 10:06

An old idea of mine:
==> since liquid nitrogen is "cheaper than beer", and thereby as cheap as petroleum (comparable)
==>so will be liquid oxygen

And since the efficiency of a Thermodynamic engine rises with the temperature-difference, the efficiency would rise using higher combustion-temperatures. Those could be achieved by having an oxygen-supply in the car, giving more oxygen, thereby less ballast-nitrogen, into the combustion.

This, of course, would mainly work for engines, where the gasolin/whatever fuel is injected, because an oxygen/fuel-mixture probably couldn't be compressed, and then ith would explode violently ...

But this way, the engine can reach much higher temperatrures, also increasing the usability of the exhaust for driving any afterstep-stirling-engines etc. .
The optimum-injection -ratio of oxygen/fuel/air could be determine by the prices O2/air, with electronic injection and modern engines this should be possible somehow easy ...

Also: If less N2 is in the engine, also maybe the NOx-production wouldn't increase that much, even at the higher temperatures ..., and with clean O2-fuel-burning the engines could be smaller ...
Maybe the burning would have to be distributed over the several cyloinders, connecting them in series instead of parallel, as today:
Each cylinder would get a bit of fuel-injection and the exhaust of the previous cylinder, so the heat-buildup in 1 cylinder wouldn't be too high ..

If it's about making ewlectricity of coal at home:
==> When coal or wood anyhow serves for heating,
==> theprocess could be applied continuously, whole year long, and the heat could be stored in a basement-tank (100 cubic-metres)of H2O, well isolated, for usage in winter. This also would be heated up solar-thermically.
==> another way of storing temperature would be to abuse the phase-change of Na2SO4 with water, at 32 [Cels]: This stores loads of heat, much more thyan water, just only at that low temp.
Therefor the heating and the turbine-cycle might be adapted:
==> drivind the turbine close-cycled, with something that boils under pressure at the low 32[Cels]
==> having floor-heating, so the 32[Cels] would be useful ...

Of course at such a low reservoir-temp also the insulation of the reservoir would be more efficient, because of the lower temp-difference ...

[Edited on 13-10-2008 by chief]

franklyn - 16-10-2008 at 15:31

Proof tested

Tank up.jpg - 72kB

OMG - 17-10-2008 at 18:43

I wonder what would happen if you used the electrolysis to make ozone and then pump that into your engine. I'd think that would help combustion. Too bad I don't have an old scrapper car. I'd try it.

12AX7 - 18-10-2008 at 09:31

Reduced octane.

franklyn - 13-8-2013 at 00:57

I have faith in cold fusion electrolysis and related fringe research purporting
to obtain greater energy product out , typically as heat , than what is put into
these experimental systems. It is entirely consistent that a similar process
can be responsible for reports and claims of water as a source of energy and
this can be obtained as hydrogen. I'm still skeptical but receptive to verifiable
practical application.

<object type='application/x-shockwave-flash' data='' id='rcomVideo_84561' width='460' height='259'> <param name='movie' value=''></param> <param name='allowFullScreen' value='true'></param> <param name='allowScriptAccess' value='always'></param> <param name='wmode' value='transparent'></param> <embed src='' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' allowfullscreen='true' allowScriptAccess='always' width='460' height='259' wmode='transparent'></embed> </object>

These two are both the same video as above

Other similar stories in this brief documentary
Described in the second report of the video above.


Related threads


Mildronate - 13-8-2013 at 12:20

people sometimes forget about thermodynamic when speak about catalysts

Mildronate - 14-8-2013 at 04:04

Fundamental equation: dU=dQ-dA+MdN and dQ=Tds and dA=pdv (if expansion work only) ds>0 ( in spontaneous process)everything else is just math (jacobians, Maxwel relations and lagrande transformations, euler formula). Forget about pseido science and oil company conspiracy theories, and start solve diferation equations!
p.s. few weeks ago i had exam in thermodynamic, god dem interesting and terrible :D

[Edited on 14-8-2013 by Mildronate]

franklyn - 14-8-2013 at 18:36

See last link of this page _


Mildronate - 15-8-2013 at 00:46

actualy this video is litle bit childish. In so smal systems there is no more speak about thermodynamic there need to use some statical physic (like hamilton mechanic and quantum mechanic, which is big blach hole in my head and many others :D )

[Edited on 15-8-2013 by Mildronate]

franklyn - 17-8-2013 at 00:16

Who's being childish here Mildronate

That's like saying that osmosis and capillary action are not hydrodynamic.


A related thread _


Protium1 - 17-8-2013 at 04:09

In ANY engine or otherwise energy transduction process, heat is Always produced, and heat amounts to nothing but wasted energy.

As you burn gasoline(chemical energy) to produce mechanical energy, heat is formed, energy is wasted.
As the alternator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, heat is formed, energy is wasted.
As the electrical energy is used to electrolyze water into Hydrogen (and O2 also), heat is formed, energy is wasted.

Every step in the process wastes (and therefore loses) energy, and therefore you CANNOT EVER break even, let alone come out ahead.

Anybody who doubts this should enroll in a class in Thermodynamics.
Anybody who claims to have a kit for sale is a scammer.
Anybody who claims to have built this and reports positive gains, perhaps they should admit at least to themselves that it was a good try, but a failure nonetheless.

franklyn - 18-8-2013 at 11:09

To believe in the certainty of knowledge and what you know is beyond question ,
is the definition of religion , not science. It doesn't matter how convinced you are
of infallibility , where there is no doubt science has ceased to exist . There is no
substitute for testing a premise. All it takes is one reproducible contrary result to
disprove a theory. When experimental results cannot be refuted , bible thumpers
damn the experimental rigor.and cite the eternal validity of immutable laws.
Those have all the understanding of what constitutes research as someone who
looks up a destination on a map. Unknown by definition means there is no map.

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is , it doesn't matter how smart you are.
If it doesn't agree with experiment , it's wrong.
— Richard P. Feynman

When I was young we had nine planets. Now this has semantically become eight.
That which we call a star , would by any other name still wander the night sky.
Artfully said in this vignette from Shakespeare _
— King Lear, Act I , Scene 5

The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
King Lear:
Because they are not eight
Yes , indeed , thou wouldst make a good fool.

Most people being socially dependent , share the complicit attitude resulting
from the psychological trauma of the fear of ostracism. Why risk yourself
on untried endeavors. Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from
the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of
forming such opinions.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to
hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.
— Albert Einstein

A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
— Albert Einstein

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge
is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.
— Albert Einstein

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into
lazy habits of thinking.
— Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
— Albert Einstein

If we knew what it was we were doing , it would not be called research , would it ?
— Albert Einstein

Once we have defined and accepted our limits , we can go beyond them.
— Albert Einstein


smaerd - 19-8-2013 at 08:44

I know the coal discussion was last page and years ago. Though I did find this interesting in regards to environmental concerns.

WGTR - 29-9-2013 at 15:51

On the original topic, I looked into this technology a few years back when it was "all the rage", and made a few observations.

For one, it's obvious that you can't get more out of the system than is being put into it. I think it's a given that people who "increased their gas mileage 1000%" are scammers.

On the other hand, I remember reading a journal that described a test done with a propane (IIRC) vehicle. They were adding small amounts of hydrogen to the system, to see if they could improve the mpg of the vehicle. It did seem to help a little, but only because the added hydrogen enabled you to run the A/F mixture very lean. In fact, the mixture was so lean that the cylinder head temperatures were actually cooler than normal. NOx emissions were improved, and there was essentially no unburned fuel. Without the added hydrogen though, the engine would misfire badly.

I can see this helping if you are doing a lot of idling in the city, and using an older (10-20 year old) vehicle. Otherwise, it's probably hit or miss, depending on an entire host of variables.

AndersHoveland - 29-9-2013 at 19:28

The addition of 5% hydrogen can improve the combustion engine efficiency of methane by up to 20%. I would imagine that the improvement would be even greater for liquid fuels. But what is the efficiency of making that hydrogen?

Still, I think this could justify small pressurized hydrogen storage tanks to provide injection into conventional fuel engines.

WGTR - 29-9-2013 at 20:32

I knew someone who tried just that. It surprised him how fast the engine used hydrogen. He figured that the bottle would last a month or so, but it was closer to about an hour or two. And since he bought the gas from a welding shop, he paid too much for it.

But yeah, using a car's engine like it's a gas-powered electric generator is very inefficient. Catalytic dehydrogenation might be cheaper, though. Filling some copper tubing with catalytic beads of choice (like a single-bead-string-reactor), and wrapping it around the exhaust manifold would work easily for something like methanol. Many catalysts are so active that they not only dehydrogenate methanol, but decompose the formaldehyde as well. Deactivation from overheating could be a problem, though.

I have too many projects going to try this on my car right now, but I am working on the dehydrogenation part. Currently, I'm directly dehydrogenating ethanol in a stream of N2 over copper/magnesium oxide beads. The reaction tube (borosilicate) is enclosed in an aluminum block, that is then heated directly on a hot plate. I'm going to post the details in the acetaldehyde thread once I get the documentation together.

franklyn - 2-2-2014 at 18:29

The above link replaces the expired link for " Other similar stories in this brief documentary "

here =>


- continuing on the previous post above

franklyn - 5-2-2014 at 05:32

This is true of sooo many things. Science is not gatekeeping by
know it all elitists protecting what they regard as their exclusive turf.
The broader issue of conspiracy by the globalist cabal is implied


bfesser - 5-2-2014 at 08:27

Quote: Originally posted by franklyn
This is some of the most biased, sensationalized, deceptive, and divisive reporting I've ever seen. It's unabashedly unscientific. This uninformed political commentary has no place in the Technochemistry forum. Please spam your conspiracy-theorist propaganda elsewhere. [closed]

[edit] franklyn, stick to science posts in Energetic Materials, or don't post at all. Nobody comes to this website to read your copy-paste political and conspiracy spam.

[Edited on 5.2.14 by bfesser]