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Old 02-10-2014, 08:30 AM   #1
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Default Reducing diesel costs

Seems to me that diesel aboard any boat is a major contributor to the cost of running. I've been doing some reading into on-demand HHO production systems and they claim an average economy improvement of 25-33% so well worth a look.

Yes, initially my thoughts were ... well, you can't get more out than you put in, so the electical cost of cracking water into hydrogen would be higher than the energy returned by burning it, etc etc. However the claimed mode of economic gain is by improved combustion of the fuel - whether this be petrol or diesel - so it starts to make sense.

At under $300 for a full install kit capable of generating 1 LPM of HHO, it couldn't hurt to try it out. I'll be installing one on my Toyota van when I get back to NZ. Certainly a lot cheaper than LPG conversion.

HHO Generators - HHO DRY CELL Kit - HHO DryCell

Like most things that look too good to be true there are naysayers. The only way to find out is to just buy one and install it. I'm pretty sure 25% fuel saving should be rapidly noticeable.

In fact recently there have been companies set up to inject LPG into diesel engines with the same sort of result, which makes me wonder why they bother.

If the HHO technology works - and I believe it will - the ideal application is in static generators and boats due to the lack of the peaky fuel demands present in road vehicles.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:27 AM   #2
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The science here just doesn't make sense. The engineering might but the language used to describe the science on the web pages advertising these things does not.

There is no such thing as HHO. That's H2O, in other words water. Injecting water into the fuel stream of your engine won't make it run faster, it will make it stall and then rust.

If the surplus output from the alternator is used to power a cell to separate water into H2 and O2 (they are the actual chemicals concerned, 2 x H2O + energy = 2 x H2 + 1 x O2 is the process) then that's fed into the fuel stream, it could produce an energy saving compared to just wasting the alternator output but there must be easier ways of producing the same result (or better) such as lowering the alternator output.

My suggestion is that the process converts excess alternator output into H2 and O2 and feeds that into the fuel stream, rather than using it to over-charge the battery which "gases" the battery, producing the same H2 and O2 which is then wasted. I'd like to see a peer-reviewed journal article showing that this is the case, but the web site doesn't say that, it uses nonsense terms such as "hydroxy gas" and "NoAh" catalysts (I suspect they mean NaOH but that's not useful as a catalyst in the process of separating water into H2 and O2 gas, it simply electrolyses the water producing lower electrical resistance, in fact simple table salt would be cheaper and better).

I would suggest that if you're engine is wasting 25% of its fuel producing electricity which is just being wasted in gassing the batteries then you could recover that 25% by lowering the alternator output. Sure, you could also use it to separate water into H2 and O2 and feed that into the engine, but why?
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delatbabel View Post
The science here just doesn't make sense. The engineering might but the language used to describe the science on the web pages advertising these things does not.

There is no such thing as HHO. That's H2O, in other words water. Injecting water into the fuel stream of your engine won't make it run faster, it will make it stall and then rust.
Oxyhydrogen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
If the surplus output from the alternator is used to power a cell to separate water into H2 and O2 (they are the actual chemicals concerned, 2 x H2O + energy = 2 x H2 + 1 x O2 is the process) then that's fed into the fuel stream, it could produce an energy saving compared to just wasting the alternator output but there must be easier ways of producing the same result (or better) such as lowering the alternator output.
I covered that in para 2 above.

Quote:
My suggestion is that the process converts excess alternator output into H2 and O2 and feeds that into the fuel stream, rather than using it to over-charge the battery which "gases" the battery, producing the same H2 and O2 which is then wasted. I'd like to see a peer-reviewed journal article showing that this is the case, but the web site doesn't say that, it uses nonsense terms such as "hydroxy gas" and "NoAh" catalysts (I suspect they mean NaOH but that's not useful as a catalyst in the process of separating water into H2 and O2 gas, it simply electrolyses the water producing lower electrical resistance, in fact simple table salt would be cheaper and better).
Apparently you're unaware that alternators don't overcharge and "gas" batteries. There's a cutout switch.

HowStuffWorks "How Alternators Work"

NoAH is an obvious typo, that's just nitpicking. It was also written by an end-user and so is quoted (in green type). Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) is the catalyst preferred by these guys anyhow.

Quote:
I would suggest that if you're engine is wasting 25% of its fuel producing electricity which is just being wasted in gassing the batteries then you could recover that 25% by lowering the alternator output. Sure, you could also use it to separate water into H2 and O2 and feed that into the engine, but why?
The engine isn't wasting 25% of it's fuel gassing the batteries. The combustion efficiency of most engines is just very poor. HHO or Brown's Gas or oxyhydrogen (whichever name one pedantically decide is appropriate for one's engineering background) is supposed to improve that efficiency. As I stated in para 2 above, my initial reaction was similar and I rejected this outright some years ago. On revisiting the matter it begins to make some sense, especially since there have been (admittedly rare) instances of people running a car exclusively off this gas in a closed cycle system.

My approach to this is "suck it and see." After all, it's not a marginal amount of change we're expecting here, it's 25-33% improvement. Thus it should be fairly obvious immediately if this works. And as a double blind, there are no changes to the engine tuning involved so there's nothing else affecting the outcome.

Oxyhydrogen has some peculiar properties. You can weld with it, even melt holes in bricks with it, and yet the welding tip is cold to the touch.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:35 AM   #4
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My first thought was "huh?" then "yea, right, lol!" then, again "huh?" then--why don't I remember anything about this back in my Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) class in college. Nada.

But now if Haiqu will tell us what he learns--great and in the meanwhile I can still think "wah?"

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Old 02-12-2014, 02:47 AM   #5
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Good onya Brenda. Pays to have an open mind, as long as it doesn't look like Swiss cheese.

I'll be powering a 1770cc carburetted Toyota Lite Ace van with one of these things at the end of the year, will let you know what happens.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haiqu View Post
Last time I had a debate with a proponent of HHO I raised this article and he replied that Wikipedia wasn't a reliable source. So you might want to read the entire article, the article in Popular Mechanics (no source cited for that) and this page that it references:

Scientific proof debunking the "run your car on water" scams

Anyway, if you get different results, let us know. I'm still doubtful, though. If the HHO folks actually used the term Oxyhydrogen or "a 2:1 mixture of Hydrogen and Oxygen gas" rather than having us believe that HHO was a wonderful new chemical compound, and had some journal articles of their own to disprove the claims in Popular Mechanics, then I'd be interested.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:45 AM   #7
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You forgot to mention Mythbusters. :-)

I did mention there were detractors, and yes I've read all sides of it.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:37 AM   #8
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Del, you might find this interesting:

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rc...,d.dGI&cad=rja
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:58 AM   #9
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Further thoughts on this:

"When you're one step ahead of the crowd, you're a genius. When you're two steps ahead, you're a crackpot." - Rabbi Schlomo Riskin (Feb 1998)
"When you're one step ahead
of the crowd you're a genius.
When you're two steps ahead,
you're a crackpot."
-- Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (Feb. 1998)
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:24 PM   #10
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If someone learns from multiple sources that they are buying into a pyramid scheme and then get burned anyway... they are an ???
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:20 AM   #11
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Cowboy Cruiser: The answer to that question is IDIOT.

However, I can't see the relevance to this discussion.
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:56 PM   #12
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Cowboy Cruiser: The answer to that question is IDIOT.

However, I can't see the relevance to this discussion.
I hope it isn't relevant at all and you are rewarded with many years of fuel savings. To me, it seems you are going to be paying $300 for a $20 windshield washer fluid tank, $15 worth of PVC and vinyl plumbing parts, $5 worth of wiring and an unknown value homemade DC heating module.
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:47 PM   #13
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Folks, pyramid schemes are ones where folks are hoping to make money from other folks downstream of them --that's not close here. Our member is sharing information that he is interested in and trying on his vehicle and to consider using aboard some day. The vendors might be shysters but there doesn't appear to be a pyramid going here. Now, I've got this great little investment plan for those of you who want to put in a buck, send a chain letter to all your contacts and get back 10K bucks... do you want in? Oh, oops, that's a pyramid isn't it

Haiqu--I still don't "get it" and do suspect the saying "if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true" applies and await your results.

Unfortunately, whenever folks start discussing things like paints, chemicals, materials, combustion processes...quickly we get away from understanding and away from discussing first principles (physics) of the technology and we either get into experience based discussion (um, no one here has that experience and you're about to get it...we can't have an experience based discussion) or attacks of technology/people simply because the attackers intuit that "it can't be right" but don't have the technical vocabulary/knowledge to refute the technology.

Bottom line? I'm not able to discuss something that I can't easily and properly discuss the physics and chemistry underlying the technology and why it does or doesn't work. I'll just await our member Haiqu's experience (once he has it) to tell us more about it.

I appreciate it when our members can be kind to each other and it is certainly tempting to blast this topic--let's not.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:46 PM   #14
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I've read the paper and I now think that there's some (although limited) merit in it.

The smoking gun is that whether the injection of H2 + O2 into the diesel feed lines increases the burn efficiency of the diesel engine itself, and it appears that it does (if it did not then all you would be doing is getting back the same energy, or less energy, from recombining the H2 and O2 into water as it took to separate it in the first place, hence no energy gain).

I still wish that the people selling these kits referred to the actual scientific paper and used proper scientific / engineering terms for what they are selling, rather than pseudo-science.

The main concerns that I have now are as follows:

From the paper, it appears that you need to inject somewhere between 3% and 10% of the total diesel fuel volume (allowing for experimental error and combustion chamber inefficiencies) of H2 and O2 into the fuel stream to gain this efficiency. That means, say, around 5% of total liquid volume. When you separate water into H2 and O2 the gas takes up many many more times the total liquid volume, so you have to be careful to base these calculations on liquid volume not gas to liquid volume.

That means, if you're carrying, say, a 100 litre diesel fuel tank you also need to carry a 25 litre water tank, and top up the water each time you top up the diesel.

You also need to generate enough electricity to separate that 25 litres of water, in its entirety, into the gaseous components H2 and O2. That's a non trivial amount of energy, however the exact amount of electrical energy required will vary quite markedly depending on the H2O solution that you're using -- separating "pure" liquid water into H2 and O2 is a very inefficient process and takes much more energy than just the electrolysis process would indicate, but the efficiency increases and the amount of total energy required decreases as you add electrolytes to the solution. However it's never 100% efficient and still requires a large amount of electricity.

I haven't run the numbers but I suspect that, due to the inefficiency of electrolysis in general, likely gas leakage (H2 is very leaky, it will leak through almost anything including solid rubber hoses, steel plate, etc), and the general inefficiency of generating enough electrical energy from a rotating engine / alternator / rectifier / charge controller combination, the amount of energy used to separate the required amount of water into H2 and O2 will greatly exceed the amount of energy gained by increasing efficiency of the diesel engine. This is not something that the paper addressed at all -- in fact it assumed that the H2 and O2 was available free of charge and in limitless quantities, which of course it is in a laboratory situation.

So I still don't think it's going to work but there's potential to re-engineer the process so that it does. There have certainly been talks in various places around the world about creating large off-grid solar/wind turbine/nuclear powered generators that can separate seawater (cheap, and contains just the right amount of electrolytes) into hydrogen gas which can then be compressed, bottled, and shipped around the world as fuel, and so maybe a diesel engine with supplemental power provided by a H2 tank filled with cheap third-world generated H2 would be more cost efficient than a diesel engine powered by biodiesel alone, for example, and this would be a way of stretching our current fossil fuel resources a little further.

Certainly the HHO generator in the linked article isn't going to work. It generates 1 litre per minute of HHO gas, whereas it needs to generate the amount of gas created by electrolysing 1 litre of water each time the engine burns 4 litres of fuel (about twice per hour on the type of engine they talk about -- Nissan Landcruiser, assuming highway driving conditions). The liquid to gas ratio of water going through electrolysis is roughly 850:1. So you need to generate 850 litres of H2 + O2 gas every 30 minutes to meet the 5% fuel load requirement, not 30 litres every 30 minutes. Which also of course means you need to burn through 1 litre of water every 30 minutes, which means you need to carry sufficient water on board, and also you need to have an alternator capable of generating enough electricity.

Once again I haven't run the numbers on this but a quick look around seems to indicate that you need about 3 kWh per 1000L of gaseous H2 (which would also come with 500L of O2), for a total gas volume of 1500L, which is about what we need to generate in an hour, give or take a bit. So you would then need the entire output of a 3000W alternator (250A at 12V) to provide enough current to create this assuming 100% efficiency, and another quick look around seems to indicate that you get at best 85% efficiency with the best known electrolytes so that means something like a 300A alternator running at full peg to create your required gas volume.

My earlier contention, that having the alternator shut down (yes I was aware that they all do this, I was simply pointing out that if you had a theoretical alternator that didn't shut down and did run at full steam all of the time your engine was running wasting its generated electricity then you could get some of that energy back by going the hydrogen generation route) is going to be much more cost effective than injecting H2 and O2 into your engine.

Someone with a mechanical engineering degree could probably comment on how accurate or otherwise my numbers are, I'm sure I've missed something somewhere but it still doesn't seem to add up.
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