Liking the idea of a hydrogen generator for my car. Is it a scam?

I met another teacher this week who told me about his side job of installing water dissociation units in cars. I know his science in general is not strong, as he said some other things that didn’t make total sense to me, but I’m not convinced that this system is bunk.

His point is that using sodium hydroxide electrolyte in distilled water allows electricity from the alternator to dissociate water and produce hydrogen, which is fed into the air intake (I think) for the engine. This flashes into flame so quickly that his problem with his car became a sensor saying that his catalytic converter was under normal operating temperature, because he wasn’t blowing unburned gasoline fumes out the exhaust valves.

So I can believe the basic science. He doesn’t seem to be claiming that this box produces more energy in hydrogen gas than it takes to create it, but rather that it burns the gasoline more efficiently, saving money so that the payback on the installation for most people is inside a year.

Here is the company’s site: http://www.hydrogen-generators-usa.com/hydrogen-car-kit.html. I’ve already emailed them today about their misprint that one molecule of water makes 10,000 molecules of hydrogen.

Anyone out there have actual experience with this kind of thing?

Seriously?

Car companies hire some of the best and brightest engineers in the world, and you think some rinky-dink, no-name company in Coos Bay, Oregon has found the magic solution to increased gas mileage?

The company is a scam. I can’t find one study on their website with empirical data: not one.

Run very fast away from this.

It definitely doesn’t work, although in my experience the various “local inventors” hawking the things are usually just delusional instead of actual scam artists.

Also, along the same lines as Leaffan, supposing you did stumble on some device that genuinely improved fuel economy, would you sell the things for $500 a pop to tinkerers on the internet or would you sell the design to the car makers for many millions of dollars?

You say “misprint”, I say “mind-boggling ignorance of grade-school chemistry”. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

Well, duh! Obviously the car makers won’t take it because they get kickbacks from the oil companies to not hurt their sales! :smack:

Use it in conjunction with the 100mpg carburetor for fuel economy that puts the Prius to shame!

:smiley:

My next-door neighbor bought one of these kit for his pickup truck a couple of weeks ago.
I’ll check with him to see if it has boosted his gas mileage.
If he had asked me prior to installing it, I would have suggested that it was a scam.
But, now that we have an experimental subject, maybe we can get some real world data to confirm my suspicion that the only thing this gizmos boosts is the money right out of your wallet.

I will keep y’all posted. I’ll be working with him later today.

Houston, we have a scam.

You can take a horse to water, but you can’t sell him hoof insurance.

The darkest scam is before the dawn.

Basically, I’m trying to say this is a scam.

Seriosly?

I’m more surprised that a teacher has the time to do a side job.

The folks at your link missed the point of hydrogen injection, which is discussed by a debunking engineer here. Short version: injection of small amounts of hydrogen does enhance the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels in an engine and can increase efficiency, but you have to optimize the design of the engine to take advantage of it. Since the average joe doesn’t rebuild his engine when he installs the hydrogen accessory, he’s not going to see any improvement.

I had a friend that was obsessed with this thing. The best I could determine was that the hydrogen input was less than 1% of the fuel needed to operate the vehicle, significantly less than 1%.

The site is filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

Let’s assume that it’s possible to add a kit, rebuild your engine (whatever that entails) and increase fuel efficiency. How would someone living in a climate where small containers of water exist typically in the sold state for half the year take advantage of this?

the other problem is that it won’t help improve the thermal efficiency of the engine, so you still would end up using more energy to create the hydrogen than you’ll get back by burning it.

Thermodynamics:

  1. You can never do any better than breaking even
  2. You can’t break even unless you’re at absolute zero
  3. You can’t reach absolute zero

or even simpler:

  1. You can’t win
  2. You can’t even tie
  3. You have to play the game

As others will be falling over themselves to point out, it is indeed thermodynamically impossible to get more out of the process of burning Hydrogen and Oxygen than you invested in splitting water to get it.

However, it’s not impossible that some modification to an engine that involves splitting water, then adding it to petroleum fuel in the mix, might result in greater overall efficiency of the system.

I don’t believe any of the devices on the market have achieved this, however.

While that is most probably true, especially for some hacked on kit made by a shade tree inventor rather than Detroit/NASA it it not a given.

It does not break any fundamental laws of physics in that is within the realm of possibility that a slight addition of hydrogen increases the combustion efficiency MORE than the energy costs to make the hydrogen.

Again, it probably doesn’t but that doesnt mean its fundamentaly impossible.

Or, as Michael Jackson so eloquently put it:

Let’s do an experiment, Cardinal. Why don’t you install one of those kits, measure the before-and-after, and get back to us?

After which, you can try to get your money back. Lotsa luck with that.

I was under the impression that the combustion efficiency in a modern engine was darn near as good as it can ever get. The basic premise of the OP is completely wrong. There isn’t a bunch of unburned fuel going out the exhaust, and adding anything to it won’t make the fuel burn better. The combustion is already pretty much 100 percent complete.

The waste in a modern gasoline engine is that about 3/4ths of the energy from that combustion gets wasted as heat, which a hydrogen generator does absolutely nothing to fix.

Worse, the hydrogen itself is generated by electrolysis, which by itself is a 50 percent loss (50 percent of the electricity that goes into the water ends up as waste heat). Then the hydrogen goes back through the engine where once again 3/4ths of it ends up wasted as heat. So the end result is you get half of one fourth of the energy back. So basically hydrogen boosters consume 8 times as much energy as they add back to your engine.

Of course you can always buy their computer chip which reprograms your car’s computer to lie to you and tell you that it’s making things better.

What I really like in the OP is that the car’s engine computer was able to tell that something was wrong, but the guy was so taken by the scammers that he took this as evidence that the thing was actually working.

By the way, I wouldn’t call that bit on their website a misprint. These folks aren’t just idiots who are bad at basic high school science. They are intentional scammers and stuff like that is an outright lie intended to deceive you. Their entire website is filled with lies and misinformation.

Total scam.

At one time, the idea of a conspiracy between the oil and auto industries wasnt crazy.

It is now. The auto industry is under huge pressure to raise gas milage. The oil industry can sell all the gas it can make.

Thank you. Please, people, stop telling me that you can’t get more energy out of the hydrogen than you spent to create it. I know that. I’m asking if the energy of the usually wasted gasoline vapors could more than make up for the electricity used, and whether in fact it’s practical.

The thing that occurs to me now is that with computer controlled injection, aren’t most cars approaching a full burn in the cylinder?

OK, I had backup on the clean burn already. I hadn’t read everything. If there aren’t enough vapors being left at this point in my 2006 Toyota, then putting in hydrogen won’t fix anything.