Monday, May 22, 2006

Can You Fuel Your Car With Water?

Wouldn’t it be great to run our cars, airplanes, trains, trucks, and industry on a fuel source that is cheap, plentiful, clean, and renewable? That appears to be the claim made in this video clip, which comes from a broadcast earlier this month by Fox News’ Houston affiliate. You have probably already seen the clip, as it has proliferated via the email circuit.

The clip features Denny Klein and his company, Hydrogen Technology Applications, Inc. Klein is shown with his 1994 Ford Escort that runs either on gasoline or something he calls “HHO gas,” which is derived from common water. Part of the segment has Klein saying, “On a 100 mile trip, we use about four ounces of water.”

The report gives the impression that Klein can perform miracles, by pouring common tap water into a car to make its engine run. But if you watch the clip carefully, you will discover that this is not actually what is being said. The news people have pulled a little stage magic, making you think one thing while actually saying something else.

If you go to Klein’s website, you will discover that he is not marketing a car that runs on water, nor a conversion kit to make your car run on water (a scam that pops up every few years like clockwork). He is marketing an electrolysis device that he claims turns water (H2O) into a hydrogenised gas that he calls HHO, or Klein’s gas. Other promoters have called it Brown’s gas or brown gas. The claim is that the process “…separates the water into hydrogen and oxygen and then recombines them into a new mixture of stoichometric (or perfect) proportion,” which does not explode, but implodes. Another promoter claims to be able to do something similar with waste liquids here. (There are more links than you’d care to look at PESWiki.)

The news segment does not actually claim that Klein’s car runs on water any more than your car runs on crude oil. It claims that Klein’s car is a duel-fuel vehicle that runs on either gasoline or HHO gas, much as duel-fuel propane-gasoline cars have been around for decades. Nor does it claim that Klein is actually converting water to HHO gas in the vehicle itself. They conveniently gloss over that what Klein is claiming is that he puts HHO gas that has been converted from water into an onboard tank (I guess it’s something like a propane cylinder) that feeds to the engine. So there’s already less magic here than you thought at first blanch.

So the question is whether this hydrogenation process actually creates a stable gas that burns clean. It is deucedly difficult to find any real scientific information about this process. Apparently jeweler and welding torches that work on this basis have been available for years (see here). Many commentators are saying that this HHO gas thing is nothing new, but that it’s not viable as an alternative fuel for most applications, including vehicles.

WND News quotes several individuals here that claim, among other things, that gasses of this nature are difficult to store and compress, that they cannot be temporarily stored efficiently, and that the water-to-HHO conversion process consumes massive amounts of energy in relation to the energy produced. Meanwhile, some promoters claim that the process can generate “2,000 liters of gas using about 8 kwh of electricity.”

Clearly, there are many skeptics and the onus is on Klein and his company to demonstrate that they have overcome the problems of stability, storage, safety, and efficiency. One commentator said that if the process were efficient (that it produces at least as much energy as it consumes), “you could plug [the conversion machine] into itself and have yourself a perpetual motion machine.” He makes a point. And even if this works for one car, what will it take to achieve broad-based implementation?

Over the weekend, some of my kids were watching Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. A character named Doc Terminus is a colorful traditional snake oil salesman. (Incidentally, wonderfully played by Jim Dale who narrates the audio versions of the Harry Potter books.) I sensed a lot of similarities between Doc Terminus' sales show and the Fox News segment on Denny Klein. Call me one of the skeptics.

21 comments:

mark smith said...

You're right to be a skeptic. Basically this is a way to run you car on Coal instead of Oil. Likely when you calculate in the cost of electroysis and compression of the resultant gas, it is likely going to be more expensive than gasoline. (This is ignoring the massive investment we would need for upgrading the electric infrastructure in the US to support this.)

Utah Peaknik said...

Mark -

I'm so glad to see someone being reasonable about hydrogen - the "miracle fuel" that isn't.

Hydrogen fuel cells require platinum, which itself is in short supply. There's not enough platinum in the world that could be used in upgrading all of the millions of automobiles today.

Matthew Whiting said...

Great Post! It drives me nuts when people forget the basic laws of physics and chemistry. I can run my car on leg power too, but I'd be rather worn out for the effort. If your interested in alternative fuels, do some reading up on Brazil's transition to ethanol. It's a good case study, but remember that Brazil can grow it's ethanol very cost effectively and that doesn't translate to the US being able to do so.

Reach Upward said...

Brazil also has far fewer vehicles per capita than the US, and far fewer vehicles per acre of agricultural land than the US. One study estimated that if we used every single agricultural acre in the US for ethanol production, we could replace about 71% of our gasoline usage. Of course, that's not remotely feasible. So while sugar cane for ethanol is a wonderful thing in Brazil, something similar in the US would only a part of the overall solution.

nseidm1 said...

There are three other companies working with the same technology. HHO is just a subspecies of Brown's Gas.

www.waterfuelconverters.com
www.hydrogen-boost.com
www.savefuel.ca

Dave B. said...

The comment about it being a perpetual motion machine are just dead wrong. It has been shown that converting water to hydrogen by any known method does not produce any net energy, however this is not a physical law. There may be a way to convert water to HHO efficiently. The smart people out there working on this are not a bunch of perpetual motion whackos. I am skeptical that this guy has done it. If I beleived it I would be shorting the energy company stock big time and would soon be a rich man.

Anonymous said...

The comment about it being a perpetual motion machine are just dead wrong. It has been shown that converting water to hydrogen by any known method does not produce any net energy, however this is not a physical law. There may be a way to convert water to HHO efficiently. The smart people out there working on this are not a bunch of perpetual motion whackos. I am skeptical that this guy has done it. If I beleived it I would be shorting the energy company stock big time and would soon be a rich man.

Alex S. said...

I think HHO gas can be a viable additive to a gas engine to improve mpg and power, it is not the gas that is in question, it is real and can cut steel and other items when under pressure. I know it can be made in real time with household current, the trick is making it with 12 volts while going down the road.

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Anonymous said...

Well, while still skeptical, there is a way to convert water to hho without the use of carbon fuels or using your car battery. Solar cells or windmills could be used at home to do it, and you could load your car before you leave. It wouldn't replace gasoline, but it would suppliment.

Anonymous said...

I have been testing this technology on my 1991 jeep wrangler. Last weekend my jeep was running at idle on HHO gas after starting on gasoline. I have also blown a plastic bottle across the floor just as demonstrated in a video on the internet. My jeep will be a hybrid within a few days running on both HHO and gasoline. It is amazing to me how some people can try to twist any story about a fuel source that is or can be near free to its user. If you don't believe it than just leave it to those of us who know better. It's going to work just fine for me and my fuel costs will go down, For those of you who like being dependent on oil so be it. No more crying about it. HHO generators work if built the right way and cost very little to build and use. Sometimes over analyzing the science creates problems that don't need to be there. Stop sitting on the fence and do it. It works. Makes me wonder if you work for an oil company? By the way, this system is not pressurized nor does the hydrogen require the use of a fuel cell. My original test system was in a quart Mason Jar. My jeep was at idle for better than 30 minutes on HHO. The water level in the jar barely changed.
The basic laws of physics and chemistry apply here as well. What more can I say.

Anonymous said...

HHO gas as fuel for internal combustion engines is in near-stage of perfection... Just wait a couple more years and a perfect design will surface.. The key is to produce vast quantities of HHO gas for an "on-demand system" to make it safe. Stan Meyer's designs and patented technologies are now available in the internet... A lot of people interested in perfecting this technology are roaming around and doing their own backyard experiments with good results. Just browse YouTube and type the keywords "HHO" and you will have a vast number of information available.

Anonymous said...

If any of you are skeptical of water as an additive to gasoline for an engine, look at the large Canadian company Dynamic Fuel Systems (dynamicfuels.com) They are selling their water additive to large trucking companies worldwide.

Anonymous said...

You skeptics need to learn more about this before you slam it. Hydrogen on demand is not about something for nothing or perpetual motion. Converting water/metal to hho gets energy in the form of the gas from not just the water but from the metal that is caused to give off the gas.oxygen in a chemical reaction. It does not take large amounts of electricity to do this. Point being, the electricity is not being converted, but water and metal in a chemical reaction. Alluminum and water will do this with zero electricity.

Anonymous said...

I should have pointed out above that the water and metal are both used up in the process so an energy transfer is being made.

Anonymous said...

Here's the secret. HHo added to your gas or diesel air intake will enhance the burning of the standard gasoline and that's how it increases gas mileage. A very small amount of hho is needed to get this effect and that's why hho on demand works. There are problems though with oxygen sensors on engines fighting back since they do not understand what the hell is going on with this extra gas and oxygen being fed in unmetered.

Anonymous said...

platinum is the ideal metal but other common metals will work pretty well. Certain metals like platinum store more hydrogen than other metals which is why they are preferred. The favorite cheap metal is stainless steel since it is still fairly cheap but burns clean. By that I mean it does not leave a bunch of crude behind like copper or other dirty metals. I've made the last four posts so I think I'll shut up for a while.

Anonymous said...

Who came up with the term "HHO"?
When you seperate water using electrolisis you get 2 parts hydrogen from the positive electrode and 1 part oxygen from the negative. For those not informed or think that HHO Gas is something revolutionary from Straight hydrogen it's not! I see all these people making claims about how HHO has increased the efficiancy of there engine and how safe it is, put your money were your mouth is. Get a test engine equiped with a electrolosis gas generator and run it on a dynometer under strict controlled conditions and have the dyno operator weigh the fuel consumption results. Why isn't any one looking at where there vehicles engine wastes the most energy (heat loss). If a system was developed to convert the wasted heat from an internal combustion engine into usable power the efficiancy could easily triple.
Thats my two cents.

johnandrews52 said...

Can we run our car with water and gas?
Can anybody tell me is the HHO Gas is real working or is another scam?

Ronald said...

hi there, I use water to fuel a car as a supplement to gasoline. In fact, very little water is needed, only one quart of water provides over 1800 gallons of HHO gas which can literally last for months and significantly increase your car fuel efficiently, improve emissions quality, and save money. I found the way through this site http://www.runcarsonwater.us i really recommend it to everybody, it's a nice ebook where you can
find the instructions on how to do it! take a look.

Anonymous said...

Notice how everyone who says it works hasn't actually used it they just know it will without trying it.

This is a "perpetual motion machine" scam and here is why. The energy required to split hydrogen out of water using electricity only, at our current technology level, always consumes more power than is gained. This is a fact not disputed by anyone.

If you were to take the energy from your car battery to produce the power to make the hydrogen you put more tax on the alternator. That in turn requires more gas in order to supply the alternator that supplies the battery. The battery is not some sort of free energy device its filled by something (gasoline).

If it were to produce more power by burning the fuel produced through electrolysis than is required to create the power consumed to perform the process... you then have perpetual motion by simply burning the fuel as a generator to resupply the original charge required to produce the fuel.

One design that could work would be if they were selling a design (there not) to produce the gas at home. Generating the fuel at home off the electrical grid for cheaper prices and not dependent on foreign oil rather coal that is native to the USA. You would then take the fuel created at home and add it to your car.