Convert Your Car to Run On Water
May 13, 2008 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Do You Want To Know RIGHT NOW How You Can Drive Around Using WATER as FUEL and Laugh At Rising Gas Costs, While Reducing Emissions and Preventing Global Warming?
posted by jonson (109 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not RIGHT NOW, But Sometime In Our Glorious Future I Will Need This Information In Order To Outrun The CHUDS. (But By Then I'll Have No Electricity To Run My Interweb Tubes, Alas.)
posted by not_on_display at 1:22 PM on May 13, 2008


where's asavage?
posted by The Power Nap at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2008


It's NEW and IMPROVED: now in MASON JARS.
posted by tybeet at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2008


I've got HHOs in different area CODES.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:24 PM on May 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


If this page malfunctions in Internet Explorer please change to Firefox
I like that.
posted by caddis at 1:24 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Did jonson get his account hacked or something?
posted by WCityMike at 1:26 PM on May 13, 2008


aircar
video
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:26 PM on May 13, 2008


The word per unnecessary capitalization ratio is amazing. Clearly this is a Technology Of The Far-Flung FUTURE! And when coupled with the number of "quoted" words and the phrase "Free Energy" anywhere on the page, we can see that these people may be "Batshit" "Insane".
posted by quin at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


My car runs on my smug sense of superiority. Its called a Yigo.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


BUT WAIT! IF YOU ORDER IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTE YOU'LL ALSO GET THIS PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE ABSOLUTELY FREE!
posted by Skorgu at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's a partial list of other things you might want to make your car run on:
posted by jepler at 1:28 PM on May 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


If the easy & helpful installation guide proves to be too much, you can always attend the highly recommended seven day email course on how to convert your car. Normally the course costs $49.95, but for a limited time they have decided to give it away FREE to a limited number of people!!!!
posted by jonson at 1:28 PM on May 13, 2008


Well, the Wikipedia article has clear, nonambiguous information about water as fuel, so I'll have to side with Wikipedia's assessment. I seriously doubt that GM is conspiring to keep Wikipedia from spilling the beans on water engine technology.
posted by crapmatic at 1:29 PM on May 13, 2008


But does the kit include enough baking soda to last for 6-10 months? Yes. Yes, it does.
posted by jlowen at 1:30 PM on May 13, 2008


Did jonson get his account hacked or something?

WHA??? This is the thanks I get for bringing you people THE FUTURE!!!??!? I suppose it's better than being chained to a rock while vultures eat my livers, but seriously people, I'm Prometheusing my ass off here!!
posted by jonson at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


Here's the best-kept secret the energy lords have been keeping from you about Hydrogen-On-Demand: WHY COMPRESS HYDROGEN IN DANGEROUS HIGH-PRESSURE TANKS WHEN IT IS ALREADY "COMPRESSED" IN PLAIN WATER - AND CAN BE EASILY AND SAFELY RELEASED??!

stupid energy lords - always keeping secrets!
posted by dubold at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Insert the CAPS LOCK key and turn that engine ON, baby.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Someone explain to me

(1) How his baking-soda Mason jar makes hydrogen
(2) How injecting that hydrogen into the carburetor makes the car go.
posted by Avenger at 1:33 PM on May 13, 2008


The concept isn't insane, just the marketing.
posted by caddis at 1:34 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do You Want To Know RIGHT NOW How You Can Drive Around Using WATER as FUEL and Laugh At Rising Gas Costs, While Reducing Emissions and Preventing Global Warming?

You are educated stupid - and you have no inkling to just how EVIL you think. EARTH HAS 4 CORNER SIMULTANEOUS 4-DAY TIME CUBE IN ONLY 1 EARTH ROTATION. 4 Corner Times CUBES EARTH. Ignoring 4 Corner Earth Days will Destroy Evil Humanity.

KNOW CUBE, OR HELL.
posted by splice at 1:34 PM on May 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


Aaaaand there's Tesla. A shot of that poor schmuck's mug is like the Techno-Fetishist Wack Job Seal of Approval.
posted by nanojath at 1:34 PM on May 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


I seem to remember these types of scams showing up in previous gas price run-ups.

Coincidentally, last week our local NBC outlet featured a story on this gizmo. The source of the taped report was a TV station in Florida, and it was presented as fact. They claimed that the station's Dodge SUV's mileage increased from 9 to 23 mpg. Let's just say the results they published seemed terribly anecdotal.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:35 PM on May 13, 2008


Doesn't he know we're just getting over a drought down here?
posted by marxchivist at 1:36 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I seriously doubt that GM is conspiring to keep Wikipedia from spilling the beans on water engine technology.

No, but The Man has certainly been trying to keep green tech down. They push the tech down for years, but now that there's suddenly a market that they've failed to tap into, oh, it's easy to roll out green models despite their own bankrupcy! You do the math.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:36 PM on May 13, 2008


I sense a lot of skepticism in this thread, which clearly means you guys haven't read the FAQ! Particularly telling was this question:

What further modifications would I have to make to run my car completely on water?

All I can tell you is this: there are less than a handful of people still walking around, who know how to do that. Anyone who even gets near finds himself bought out, threatened or killed.
posted by jonson at 1:37 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


PUT A SETTA TRUCK NUTZ ON DAT SUMBITCH AN' WATCH 'ER GO!!!!1
posted by The Straightener at 1:37 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the repetition but some visitors got the wrong idea. The information is ONLINE, not by email and not by paper. It's online, and online only. The books sit on the Internet.
posted by davebush at 1:39 PM on May 13, 2008


Only Jesus Christ can run on water.
posted by ColdChef at 1:42 PM on May 13, 2008 [20 favorites]


Practicality aside, it is possible to create energy from water...the problem is it still takes more energy/resources to get the job done than its worth. For example, it's possible to "burn" water, but the amount of energy needed to sustain that greatly outweighs the energy you get in return...you might as well use batteries.

Another method I know of is using a magnesium catalyst rods (basically you could drive up to a "gas" station and buy a large coil of magnesium to mount in the trunk of your car that gets fed into a hydrogen engine (splits H and O, then recombines back into water...using the energy released from both processes). I have no idea how much it would take to move a car...and magnesium isn't the cheapest of fuels.
posted by samsara at 1:43 PM on May 13, 2008


Its the Technology of The "future." And all you need is Xylene!
posted by fixedgear at 1:43 PM on May 13, 2008


not_on_display: Thank you thank you thank you for making a CHUD reference that has brightened my day.
posted by ao4047 at 1:43 PM on May 13, 2008


Did jonson get his account hacked or something?

WHA??? This is the thanks I get for bringing you people THE FUTURE!!!??!? I suppose it's better than being chained to a rock while vultures eat my livers, but seriously people, I'm Prometheusing my ass off here!!
posted by jonson at 4:31 PM on May 13 [+] [!]


some people are still miffed that their flying car has been on backorder for decades now
posted by caddis at 1:44 PM on May 13, 2008


i have no idea if this thread will stay up, but if I can get this comment in before it closes, I just want to say that I love this post.

also, that site broke my browser.
posted by shmegegge at 1:45 PM on May 13, 2008


Here's an example of a magnesium driven car (only claimed byproduct is oxygen).
posted by samsara at 1:45 PM on May 13, 2008


Spoiler alert: at the end of the episode, The Lone Gunmen decided to destroy the car to prevent global economic collapse and also to establish from very beginning of the season that their spinoff is totally lame.

Wait, what?
posted by cortex at 1:46 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


also, that site broke my browser.

switch to FireFox
posted by caddis at 1:47 PM on May 13, 2008


OZZIE FREEDOM is CEO of water4gas.com.
He is also the author of "Walls Of Clay" and "Ask Me About The CRAZY WIFE"
posted by Kabanos at 1:48 PM on May 13, 2008


it WAS firefox!

dun dun dunnnnnnnn!
posted by shmegegge at 1:48 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


ugh, crazy hard sell page.
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:49 PM on May 13, 2008


It malfunctions in firefox too. I get persistent 'frame' across the bottom of not only that tab, but all tabs i have open.
posted by schyler523 at 1:49 PM on May 13, 2008


oh man, ozzie freedom's personal interview has only two questions, the second of which is "Thank you, sweetie!"

amazing!
posted by shmegegge at 1:49 PM on May 13, 2008


Anyone else see the dude on US TV this morning showing his home ethanol production kit? It looks like a gas pump but it hooks up to your house's water supply like a washing machine. You dump sugar or 'stale beer' (?!?!?!) in the back, plug it in and then in 10 days you have 30 gallons of ethanol that can be pumped right into your car. Here's the piece of dookie.
posted by spicynuts at 1:51 PM on May 13, 2008


I for one thought jonson's post was credible.

Let's be nice to him!
posted by PM at 1:54 PM on May 13, 2008


So These Are The CARBON EMISSION CAPS Everyone Has Been Talking About?
posted by Kabanos at 1:54 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


We can drive my WATER powered Car to MY new SWAMPLAND in FLORida! C'mon...it'll be FUN!!!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:55 PM on May 13, 2008


PEAK WATER
posted by cortex at 1:56 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Experience the awesome power of HAM in your PANTS!
posted by Pastabagel at 1:58 PM on May 13, 2008


Metafilter: The books sit on the Internet.
posted by ShawnStruck at 1:59 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


My car runs on Dr. Bronner's. ALL-ONE! Dilute!
posted by padraigin at 1:59 PM on May 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


Water? That's a limited RESOURCE! My CAR runs on anxiety, "hysteria" and malaise. I just got back from driving to the moon (on back roads no less!). Total cost to me, THE consumer? $14.97 in Slim JIMS and a widemouth Mountain DEW to whizz in. Put ten "dollars" under that ROCK on the corner and I'll come TO you in your DREAMS and whisper the conversion process into your perfect little shell-like EAR.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:03 PM on May 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


To anybody who actually managed to get past the capslock and color scheme craziness, the concept is to inject a small percentage of hydrogen into the fuel/air mixture. This has been proven to allow extremely lean mixtures which reduces NOX and has also been proven to reduce knock which would allow higher compression and thus higher efficiency. Ozzie Freedom may be all hype, but there is some interesting technology hidden in there somewhere. Go read the link I posted upthread.
posted by caddis at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2008


"Ozzie Freedom" would be a GREAT Olympic mascot.
posted by yhbc at 2:16 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Water? That's a limited RESOURCE! My CAR runs on anxiety, "hysteria" and malaise. I just got back from driving to the moon (on back roads no less!). Total cost to me, THE consumer? $14.97 in Slim JIMS and a widemouth Mountain DEW to whizz in. Put ten "dollars" under that ROCK on the corner and I'll come TO you in your DREAMS and whisper the conversion process into your perfect little shell-like EAR.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:03 PM on May 13 [+] [!]


Why do I find this eponysterical?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:18 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


needs more SCIENCE!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:30 PM on May 13, 2008


Google results for water4gas: "...about 257,000."
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on May 13, 2008


Franklin County, KY: Tech Students Make Hydrogen Cells for Their Teacher's Car .
posted by ericb at 2:36 PM on May 13, 2008


Hey jonson, check it out - it looks like he has regular demonstrations in Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley.

He doesn't mention a specific date so I'm guessing he's there EVERY weekend.

I'm going to go on one of the weekends that Green Sector is throwing a party there.
posted by redteam at 2:38 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


ericb--Google results for "ozzie freedom" about 1,070,000
posted by ornate insect at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2008


ericb--Google results for "ozzie freedom" about 1,070,000

Exactly -- an old, played out scam.
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on May 13, 2008


no no. those results are for australian revolutionaries.
posted by shmegegge at 2:43 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


This looks like an extreme effort to prevent detonation at very low mixtures. Note the 'water injection' apparatus (which looks woefully inadequate). Combined with the link caddis posted, there is most definitely something behind the theory of this contraption. The implementation, however, is pathetic.
posted by IronLizard at 2:43 PM on May 13, 2008


I think the most telling detail of this webpage is that it continues on, and on, and on, and...on! Just like most shady sales sites (lose weight instantly!)
posted by KokuRyu at 2:44 PM on May 13, 2008


Only Jesus Christ can run on water.

And the lizard named for him!
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on May 13, 2008


Wakalixes makes it go.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:47 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Practicality aside, it is possible to create energy from water...the problem is it still takes more energy/resources to get the job done than its worth. For example, it's possible to "burn" water, but the amount of energy needed to sustain that greatly outweighs the energy you get in return...you might as well use batteries.

Another method I know of is using a magnesium catalyst rods (basically you could drive up to a "gas" station and buy a large coil of magnesium to mount in the trunk of your car that gets fed into a hydrogen engine (splits H and O, then recombines back into water...using the energy released from both processes). I have no idea how much it would take to move a car...and magnesium isn't the cheapest of fuels.


No this is not correct. It's not possible to burn water because it's already in the most oxidised state possible. Burning hydrogen is possible -- you get water, burning magnesium is possible -- you get magnesium oxide, but the hydrogen in a water molecule is already oxidised as much as possible-- there's no way you can burn it.
Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms requires energy, in fact exactly the amount of energy released when an atom of hydrogen and an atom of oxygen combine to form a molecule of water. Therefore it is not possible to get a net positive amount of energy out of repeating these processes, for the same reason that a perpetual motion machine is impossible.
posted by peacheater at 2:57 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


no no. those results are for australian revolutionaries.

In Australia, we call the bourgeois "wankers".
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:01 PM on May 13, 2008


PEAK WATER

Laugh now, until you're paying $4 a gallon. Oh, wait.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:01 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


That web page fucking sucks, and this post fucking sucks for the obvious LOLALTERNATIVEENERGY slant. Hey, jonson? Boo. Hiss.

I find this really destructive in its framing and slant, and ignorant. This isn't new technology. It isn't a "perpetual motion" machine, and it doesn't belong with the free energy hucksters. (Well, that dude's site might belong with the hucksters, just for layout alone.)

Anyway, HHO (AKA Brown's gas) has been used in many applications as fuel. It's easy to generate, it has a high energy density, and, yeah, if you put some solar panels on your car or used external electricity to crack the water into HHO, you could actually run your car on "water", as long as you have the electricity to convert water to gas.

You just won't get very far on water alone. Yet. Not without plenty of electricity. But you can indeed improve a the regular gas efficiency of your engine with these methods.

The really interesting research in this field is finding extremely efficient ways to generate HHO gas. So far these seem to be based on either RF and/or resonating circuits/coils so that the overall system uses the least amount of electrical energy to generate the most amount of gas.

No one who is sane who is working on this stuff ever believes that it will be an "over unity" device - IE, a perpetual motion machine. It's just an efficient way to convert electrical energy into storable, portable chemical energy.

disclaimer: I know people working on some stuff in this realm. It's just garage tinkering. I also know a lot of folks that run biodiesel and know a lot about converting to biodiesel and how to eke out maximum yield in a biodiesel conversion. There's another guy here in the Bay Area that runs a vehicle that runs in some kind of fermented coffee ground liquor.
posted by loquacious at 3:02 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Neat idea, though I start getting a little concerned when I see the diagram that says "ADD GLUE!"
posted by swift at 3:08 PM on May 13, 2008


PS I am sure to tell a lot of my friends about your unit !

Heh. Unit.

That web page fucking sucks...

loquacious, you are my new hero.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 3:11 PM on May 13, 2008


His Sane Computers website is even better: it's so buggy and bogus it seems bogus on purpose. Among the things Ozzie Freedom has invented? "New-Wave Carpets" - a revolutionary, fully computerized system for the design, manufacturing, selling and distribution of carpets. The Sane Computers website is replete with fake links to the "national heritage foundation," etc. If one clicks on the "jobs page" and then clicks on "More jobs available soon: click here for details" some strange stuff happens. Plus he has some weird IT "news" links, all UPI. The site is either the work of a total nutjob or is an intelligence dump done up to appear nuts.
posted by ornate insect at 3:18 PM on May 13, 2008


You're all thinking WAY too small. Why water-powered cars when you can have water-powered rockets!
posted by eperker at 3:23 PM on May 13, 2008


I find this really destructive in its framing and slant, and ignorant. This isn't new technology. It isn't a "perpetual motion" machine, and it doesn't belong with the free energy hucksters. (Well, that dude's site might belong with the hucksters, just for layout alone.)

Two minutes on the site make it pretty clear that they are claiming to have an over unity device, i.e. a perpetual motion machine. If there was a post like this every week, I'd agree with you that there would be a problem. Once in a blue moon with a site so ridiculous that everyone knows it is not really a problem. Why can't we laugh at some hucksters once and a while? Nothing is preventing you from making a good post about alternative energy storage methods whenever you'd like.
posted by ssg at 3:23 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


loq, I apologize if the post offended you, I was actually thinking more LOLSCAMMER than LOLTERNATIVEENERGY. I'm a big proponent of alt energy but I don't know that Ozzie Freedom is really selling a viable product.
posted by jonson at 3:23 PM on May 13, 2008


Nothing is preventing you from making a good post about alternative energy storage methods whenever you'd like.

I've actually been planning one on this very subject, so that's part of my annoyance. This guy might very well be a scammer and a kook, but I feel bad for all the non-kooks that are going to be dismissed out of hand because Joe Shmoe saw this post, first. Sometimes bad publicity is just bad publicity.

Anyway, my dissent has been voiced. This is real, available technology. You can get plans for this stuff for free all over the net. Search "Brown's Gas Generator" or other similar keywords. There's a bunch of how-to videos on YouTube, as well.
posted by loquacious at 3:51 PM on May 13, 2008


I did that search, loq, do you have a particular one in mind? I'm mostly getting more of the 'water4gas' variety in the results. This is also essentially electrolytic rust removal. If you have any rusty stuff that needs cleaning up ... PROFIT
posted by IronLizard at 3:58 PM on May 13, 2008


I too would be interested in a video of this, Loq. Please point us to one, I hang out a bunch on Make and Instructables but nothing was there. When I did the search you recommended all I got was a bunch of this, thanks in advance for your help.
posted by HappyHippo at 4:17 PM on May 13, 2008


i'm sure this guy is probably a loon and/or a scammer, and I'm not such an idiot that I would believe that you could produce more energy by producing browns gas and burning it than it takes to split the water in the first place---- however, as far as i can tell from attempting to read the web page for as long as I could bear to look at it, that isn't what he's claiming. He's claiming an increase in efficiency in burning conventional fuels - that doesn't actually seem outrageous to me. I'm not a chemist, but it doesn't seem impossible to me that adding extra hydrogen to the gas mix in your engine might allow energy to be more efficiently recovered from burning the existing fuel (say by burning at a different temperature or speed), and that gain in energy might possibly outweigh the energy required to split the water. I'm not saying this guy's thing isn't a pile of shit (it probably is) - just that knee-jerk sarcasm probably isn't helpful, or even really all that much fun anymore.
posted by silence at 4:19 PM on May 13, 2008


Anyway, HHO (AKA Brown's gas) has been used in many applications as fuel. It's easy to generate, it has a high energy density, and, yeah, if you put some solar panels on your car or used external electricity to crack the water into HHO, you could actually run your car on "water", as long as you have the electricity to convert water to gas.

You just won't get very far on water alone. Yet. Not without plenty of electricity. But you can indeed improve a the regular gas efficiency of your engine with these methods.


How is using electricity to generate a gas out of water and then burning that gas ever going to be more efficient than using the electricity itself to power your car's motor? You'll need more energy to convert the water into the gas than you're going to get out of burning it and burning the gas is going to lead to loss of energy in the form of heat, because of the second law of thermodynamics. You'd be much better off just using the electricity to run the car in the first place rather than trying to go the roundabout route of converting water into gas and then burning that. You'll lose energy at every energy conversion step.
posted by peacheater at 4:30 PM on May 13, 2008


i myself occasionally produce brown gas.

i've overshared again, haven't i?
posted by stubby phillips at 4:34 PM on May 13, 2008


Direct water injection was a hot-rodder's fad in the fifties and sixties. Cools combustion chamber temps, allows more compressed mixtures, that sort of stuff. Don't see it much any longer, computer-controlled combustion is more efficient.
posted by maxwelton at 4:34 PM on May 13, 2008


I'm sorry but...


Water? That's a limited RESOURCE! My CAR runs on anxiety, "hysteria" and malaise. I just got back from driving to the moon (on back roads no less!). Total cost to me, THE consumer? $14.97 in Slim JIMS and a widemouth Mountain DEW to whizz in. Put ten "dollars" under that ROCK on the corner and I'll come TO you in your DREAMS and whisper the conversion process into your perfect little shell-like EAR.

I am all perfect little shell-like EAR. The money's under the cyber-rock
posted by Oyéah at 4:59 PM on May 13, 2008


Recycle!
posted by cortex at 5:30 PM on May 13, 2008


I'll remind you all that "the nation that controls magnetism controls the universe!" - Diet Smith.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:45 PM on May 13, 2008


How is using electricity to generate a gas out of water and then burning that gas ever going to be more efficient than using the electricity itself to power your car's motor?

Not more efficient than x. There's going to be massive energy loss in this system - which is why people are looking for ways of generating more HHO gas with less electricity.

What it is, however, is more accessible, less toxic and runs on existing technology. The circuits I've seen are farily simple things, less complicated than your average battery charger.

Most average garage tinkerers can't actually formulate their own high capacity batteries, while many could build an electric car from off the shelf batteries, it's still an expensive and heavy way to go. For the most efficient all-electric cars, you basically need to re-engineer the car for extreme lightness.

The going idea is that you can use (increasingly inexpensive) photovoltaic solar, or wind-generated electricity to generate, capture and even pump/compress HHO into tanks on your car.

Nominally you wouldn't carry the water and the electrical circuits for making HHO around in your car, just the HHO in tanks, or even just the hydrogen itself. You can burn hydrogen (or an HHO mixture) in existing internal combustion engines with minor retrofits. (As well as things like natural gas, alcohols, etc.)

However, if someone comes up with a small, extremely efficient way to generate HHO, in theory you would be able to put it all onboard. Water + light on solar panels would generate burnable fuel wherever you were at rates that may exceed battery technology efficiency. Batteries aren't very efficient, honestly, and batteries aren't actually electrical, anyway, they're chemical devices designed to store and release a electrochemical reaction in the form of electricity.

Batteries also have a limited lifespan, and the entire energy chain for a battery needs to be considered. You have to mine new or recycle old chemicals and structural materials, manufacture the battery and account for the recycling process. Consider weight to energy ratios, as well.

These calculations should of course also be considered for new or retrofit hydrogen cars, gas generators, manufacturing of high pressure storage tanks and all parts/materials - but my gut instinct and intuition is going to say that at least as far as tanks of gas vs. batteries are concerned, tanks will be much easier to make and recycle and will probably last longer, and would ultimate provide more energy throughput in the long run, and would be much easier for the average shadetree mechanic to fabricate or repair, if needed.

The true benefit is that technology like this is something that someone can create and use for themselves. If you think about it the right way, you can harness tech like this the way people used to harness the wind - by waiting, mostly. You could drive around for as long as you liked as long as you wanted to wait for your portable solar panels to generate enough gas to drive around on.


All that being said, we aren't likely to be filling up only on water and sunlight and still driving around like we do now any time soon - but we should all do well to remember that this kind of easy energy availability - and the resulting waste - is unprecedented in human history.

Each of you that own a car own, what? 50 very hungry horses? 150? 300 horses?

If you keep thinking about these kinds of alternative systems as direct replacements or upgrades for the way we currently use energy and a way to continue using energy so wantonly - we're going to collectively and spectacularly fail. Unless you have cold fusion in your pocket or some kind of zero point device, energy efficiency should be a primary engineering concern until further notice.

The amount of energy we waste is incredible. Just imagine nearly 1 billion cars on this planet. Now imagine most of them in dense urban/suburban environments. Now imagine how many are simply idling at one time. Imagine all the waste heat. How many horses is that?

And this is just cars. Look around you. Heating, cooling, computers, TVs, streetlights, billboards. The gap under your back door you keep meaning to fix, the weatherstripping sitting in the garage that was never installed.

Every bit of it is going to add up, eventually. And it's getting to be sooner, rather than later.

And one of the best ways you can change your energy profile is to change how you regard your energy profile and your awareness of it. Stop thinking of it as money. Stop thinking of it as something that you can just go buy more of whenever you want. Stop thinking about energy as something you can fix by spending less on something else.

Start thinking about energy as a non-renewable resource. Because by the rules of thermodynamics it isn't renewable. Yeah, yeah, we have a huge universe to exploit and billions and billions of years to do it. But we'll never get to that energy scale if we don't first master the small scale stuff, first.

So start thinking about energy as pricelessly valuable. It is. Every wasted joule lost through heat and entropy is a wasted joule of real, useable work that we'll never get back once it diffuses.

Thinking bigger: Gravity train. The answer is, it seems, actually forty-two.

Mutate with me. Adapt. Adapt.

I'll see if I can find my links. Currently busy going stir crazy.

posted by loquacious at 5:57 PM on May 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


Thinking bigger: Gravity train.

A ridiculously efficient way of bringing us those cheap Chinese imports we all seem to crave?
posted by IronLizard at 6:07 PM on May 13, 2008


This isn't new technology. It isn't a "perpetual motion" machine, and it doesn't belong with the free energy hucksters.

No, this site is in with the hucksters. Look at the mason jar device and the hookups:

You start with water. You run electricity from your battery into the jar and create some miniscule amount of hydrogen. That hydrogen is burned by your engine. But, you get less useful energy by burning the hydrogen than you spent creating it. Your engine has to work harder to spin your alternator to recharge your battery after wasting energy creating hydrogen. And thanks to heat and mechanical friction, you lose energy every step of the way.

In other words:
1 - You start with water.
2 - You spend a lot of energy (from your battery) splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.
3 - You burn that hydrogen to get water, again. You get no more energy out than you put in at step 2.
4 - Thanks to the heat loss and mechanical inefficiency of your car, you lose energy along the way.

If he were talking about using water to cool your cylinders (an old hot-rod trick, as noted above) he might have something. And if he were talking about storing hydrogen that was created from grid or solar electricity then he might have something. But he doesn't -- he's claiming that by spending energy breaking water into 2H O you somehow get more energy back. That's the definition of perpetual motion BS.

This is up there with stickers that you put on your gas tank that realign your fuel molecules to burn better. It is utter hogwash.
posted by Leon-arto at 6:09 PM on May 13, 2008


peacheater: electricity is difficult to transport - batteries are heavy and inefficient. Using stationary electricity from a powerplant to make a fuel that can then be easily used in transport is one of the goals of the alternative energy researchers.
Unfortunately, current processes aren't very efficient.
posted by bystander at 6:23 PM on May 13, 2008


That sounds like a reasonable explanation, Leon-arto.

What happens to electricity produced by the alternator when the battery is fully charged and not much else is drawing current (ie, headlamps and radio off, wipers stationary, etc)?
posted by notyou at 6:44 PM on May 13, 2008


Thinking bigger: Gravity train.

Thanks for bringing the lulz back to the thread.
posted by ssg at 6:47 PM on May 13, 2008


You could drive around for as long as you liked as long as you wanted to wait for your portable solar panels to generate enough gas to drive around on.

Well great. But I have to get shit done. If I have to wait for my car to sit in the sun like a turtle before I can get it to move, I'd rather just walk.

What happens to electricity produced by the alternator when the battery is fully charged and not much else is drawing current (ie, headlamps and radio off, wipers stationary, etc)?

There is a charging circuit that controls how much electricity the alternator is generating. If the battery is fully charged and there isn't much electrical load, the charging circuit reduces the current that goes through the stationary exciter coils, that reduces the amount of energy the alternator generates and that in turn makes it easier to spin, reducing the load on the engine.

Oh, and as far as alternative fuels go, one of the fundamental problems with them is that none of them (so far) have as high of an energy density as gasoline does. Meaning that you can fit a hell of a lot more useful energy into a given gas tank volume using gasoline than hydrogen or HHO, or electricity. The latter is even more problematic. For gasoline, all you need is an empty plastic box. For electricity you either have to haul around big chunks of lead and acid, or lithium and binders or something else -- dead weight as far as making a car go down the road is concerned.
posted by c13 at 7:46 PM on May 13, 2008


This "HHO gas" is simply a stoichiometric ratio of H2 to O, right? It doesn't seem like such a mixture would be particularly easy to store; wouldn't it just convert itself back to water vapor under pressure?

I've seen H2+O torches, and they generally use separate tanks of H2 and O, presumably because the gases are easier to store independently. I note on the Wikipedia page for "Oxyhydrogen" that there are a few torches that generate the gas via electrolysis and then burn it, but they seem to only store the gas for a short period.

Generating H2 and O, stored separately and then burned later, seems like a pretty reasonable idea. I think in fact there has been some fuel cell research in that direction -- use electricity to crack water to produce the gas, then use it to make electricity in the cell -- but it's a really inefficient process. It's apparently much more energy efficient to crack natural gas for hydrogen (and then either burn it in atmospheric oxygen or use it in a fuel cell) than it is to produce it via electrolysis.

I suppose maybe if you had some "free" electricity (solar panels, waste energy from the alternator that didn't result in an MPG decrease) maybe the calculus would come out differently ... I'm just very suspicious that these avenues wouldn't have been investigated by all the more mainstream alternative-fuel vehicle efforts. There seems to be an almost pathologic need among some people to believe that there is a miracle solution to our energy needs, something that's being held back by a conspiracy or 'the establishment.' I'm not sure I buy it: pushing everyone in the country around in a 2500 lb steel box at 70MPH just seems like a pretty energy-intensive venture, and there ain't no thing as a free lunch where energy is concerned.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:02 PM on May 13, 2008


The whole thing is fucking stupid. Exactly what is the rate of the production of this "brown gas"? That hose coming off the jar seems pretty damn small to me. I bet after a can of beans I can make 10 times more of this gas.
Second. A MAP sensor enhancer!? So that you can lean out the mixture by fooling the ECU into thinking you're driving at high altitude? It's been done for years by kids in high school taking an automechanics class and managing to stay awake in class for a few minutes. You use less gas, but your power drops off and combustion temperatures rise -- not very good for engine life. But look what they write about it: The diagram you see here is probably the most important part you will learn about. Because in some vehicles, even those with Hydrogen, fuel economy cannot improve one bit without this electronic wonder. Yeah, no shit! Because screwing with the MAP sensor (on those cars that have it) is the only thing that works in this kit, aside form oxygen sensor mods.
Third. Xylene or Acetone? In gas? I bet that stuff is great for the gaskets.
Fourth. Fuel heater? By hot radiator water? What, the exposed fuel rail that sits above the hot engine is not good enough?
Fifth. PCV enhancer? Why not just disconnect the valve and let the crank case gasses vent directly into atmosphere, like was done back in the 50's. Just as useless and illegal..
Why didn't they add the magnet to aline fuel molecules and a vortex generator to mix the air?

On preview:and they generally use separate tanks of H2 and O, presumably because the gases are easier to store independently.
No, they do it so that the damn thing does not explode. It's always a good idea to store fuel and oxidizer separately.
posted by c13 at 8:14 PM on May 13, 2008


What happens to electricity produced by the alternator when the battery is fully charged and not much else is drawing current (ie, headlamps and radio off, wipers stationary, etc)?

Nothing. There is no "excess" electricity generated. The mechanical load that the alternator puts on the engine is proportional to the electrical load presented to the alternator.

The best way to see this is with a hand-crank generator & some light bulbs. With no lights attached, the crank spins freely (though not with absolute zero effort due to friction). Add a bulb & it becomes harder to turn. Add another (in parallel) & it becomes even in harder. Crank faster & the bulbs glow brighter. With a dc-dc converter set up the right way, as you spin faster, the bulb doesn't glow brighter but the crank becomes easier to turn at that higher speed (power remains the same; RPM up, torque down).
posted by morganw at 8:18 PM on May 13, 2008


It's funny how many people still seem to think that this is about burning hydrogen as fuel and don't realize that it is really about burning gasoline as fuel and changing the combustion chemistry of the burning gasoline. It always goes that way in science threads, huge sections of the folk jumping off the cliff with the anvil instead of the parachute. Here, with so much more hype than science, it's no wonder that they jump off en masse like the hypothetical lemmings. (lemmings never really did this. it was just a hoax on a generation of school kids).
posted by caddis at 9:48 PM on May 13, 2008


it is really about burning gasoline as fuel and changing the combustion chemistry of the burning gasoline

And what, exactly, is that change? Last I checked, gasoline is made up of a whole bunch of hydrocarbons. You throw oxygen and heat into the mixture and each carbon atom breaks off, pairs with a couple oxygen atoms, and produces a ton of heat. What magical change to this formula does adding some hydrogen make?
posted by Leon-arto at 10:35 PM on May 13, 2008


you don't seem to understand combustion science. the hydrogen increases the flame speed, allows a far, far leaner fuel air mixture and reduces knocking. a better burn in the cylinder enhances performance. here you get far, far less NOX, and the ability to increase the compression ratio which enhances power and efficiency. adding hydrogen works, the problem is that most ways to implement this are problematic in being expensive, dangerous, complex, etc. mason jars may not be the answer, although they are fine for preserving jams and jellies. anyway, if someone could provide a simple and usable way of injecting hydrogen into the fuel stream you would probably find it on many vehicles as a way of reducing pollution and enhancing efficiency, modestly.
posted by caddis at 10:52 PM on May 13, 2008


Caddis, when you say "changing the combustion chemistry", could you serve that up with a side of what and maybe how? In my little world you break bonds and get energy, but then you end up making some new bonds (because atoms are fussy that way) so that CnHn in the presence of oxygen gives us CO2 + H2O.

Could you please clue me in here because you apparently paid more attention in pChem than I did.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:18 PM on May 13, 2008


It has been many a moon since I have take a formal course on combustion. However, it appears that one of the big drivers here is flame speed. You see ads for hot spark plugs and the like which improve combustion and thus allow you to tune your engine for higher power, efficiency etc. Hydrogen itself has a high flame speed. Adding it to the gasoline/air mixture improves flame speed, and here I am guessing, likely because the flame propagates quickly through the hydrogen and at the same time ignites the gasoline. However it achieves this, it is pretty clear that adding hydrogen improves flame speed. High flame speed allows a leaner combustion mixture which promotes more complete combustion and lower flame temperatures. Lower flame temperatures reduce NOX production. This is a chemical reaction very much constrained by its physical environment. In simple terms, as if the last few sentences were not a gross oversimplification, the hydrogen promotes a more efficient combustion of the gasoline which allows the engine to be tuned for enhanced power and reduced pollution.
posted by caddis at 11:34 PM on May 13, 2008


Modern cars are pretty good at completely burning the air/fuel mixture. Just look at your smog report -- you fail if unburned hydrocarbons are in a few ppm range. The engines operate pretty close to stoichiometric 14.7:1 air/fuel mix. Leaning the mixture further just reduces the amount of power the engine generates. If you add hydrogen, you can reduce the loss of power simply because hydrogen likes to combine with oxygen and you basically end up running your engine on two fuels instead of one. And yes, air/hydrogen mixture has faster flame propagation speed than air/gasoline mixture. Maybe by adding hydrogen you can get rid of the last few ppm of unreacted gasoline, but the cost/benefit ratio is so insanely huge that no one in their right mind would try and install a functioning system on their vehicle.

Now then, the ads for hot spark plugs are on the same level of bullshit as the mason jars. You do not want a hot spark plug in your engine, you want one that operates without fouling in your driving conditions. If the spark plug is too cold, it'll accumulate carbon on electrodes, reducing its performance. But if it is too hot, it may lead to preignition or detonation. So if you drive short distances in the city, where your engine does not have enough time to properly warm up, and you floor it from intersection to intersection, you probably would want a hotter plug. But if you're on an interstate, a colder one will do just fine and last longer.

It's funny how many people still seem to think that this is about burning hydrogen as fuel and don't realize that it is really about burning gasoline as fuel and changing the combustion chemistry of the burning gasoline.
BUT
Hydrogen itself has a high flame speed. Adding it to the gasoline/air mixture improves flame speed, and here I am guessing, likely because the flame propagates quickly through the hydrogen and at the same time ignites the gasoline.

So adding hydrogen to the mix does not actually alter the combustion chemistryof gasoline, right?
posted by c13 at 8:06 AM on May 14, 2008


It reduces NOX production. I would say that changes the combustion chemistry, but I am not going to further nitpick on semantics.
posted by caddis at 8:16 AM on May 14, 2008


Well, I don't think it is purely semantics. NOx, production increases with increasing chamber temperatures, and there is very little of it generated below about 1100 C. So if you want to produce less NOx, you can do several things, all of which lead to reduced combustion chamber temperatures. You can enrich the air/fuel mixture above stoichiometric, you can inject hydrogen, or water, you can play with timing. You can theoretically lean out the mixture below 16:1 and NOx will start dropping off, but then you've got other issues.
So what you're actually doing with all of this is not affecting the chemistry in some way, just changing the equilibrium distribution of the reaction products of several different reactions that are going on simultaneously. Whether saying this is semantics or not, I'm not really sure. The point is, if it is NOx you're concerned with, there are other, much cheaper ways of dealing with it than hydrogen injection.
posted by c13 at 8:29 AM on May 14, 2008


asavage here, sorry I'm late. I'm on the road. I like this site,haven't seen that kit before. A new entry into the canon of "Thieving bastards" perhaps? Though we're waaaay over the fuel efficiency myths, buying that kit and trying it out may be a fun simple revisit.

It's on my list.
posted by asavage at 9:05 AM on May 14, 2008


ooh, i just got chills.
posted by malocchio at 9:53 AM on May 14, 2008


It's on my list.

Oh sweet. As a control can you use tanks of pure hydrogen/oxygen? I've always wanted to see what uber-detonation will do to an engine.
posted by IronLizard at 1:12 PM on May 14, 2008


Water, schmater, this truck runs on firewood.
posted by caddis at 1:15 PM on May 14, 2008


I love the way even most of the people who know this is nonsense are taking it seriously. Guys, this is Metafilter. If 75% of the comments aren't seen to be laughing at this, as per the original poster's intent, I say we fold and get Matt to put all those $5s into that Irish perpetual motion company.
posted by imperium at 1:21 PM on May 14, 2008


If 75% of the comments aren't seen to be laughing at this

We seem to have picked up a lot of devil's advocates lately. On the other side of the coin, I don't see one person actually defending this ridiculous shit. Merely pointing out that, as in most cons, there's a seed (small, very small) of truth here that's being liberally slathered in bullshit and marketing.
posted by IronLizard at 2:20 PM on May 14, 2008


It's on my list.

Breath = bated.
posted by tomble at 2:03 AM on May 15, 2008


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