Transformacomm


Hydrogen Boosters (HHO)

 
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Welcome to our Hydrogen Booster (HHO/Brown's Gas) page.

How would you like to dramatically increase the fuel efficiency in your vehicle and the same time eliminate most of the pollutants coming out of your exhaust? I had heard that such a thing was possible but only started to look into this more seriously when a good friend sent me an email about the subject. This got me started looking into the subject more seriously and quickly got me really excited. The technology is here today and one way to do this is to install a hydrogen booster in your vehicle. Does it work? Yes.... By now, probably tens of thousands if not over 100,000 people have given it a try and are getting results. There are hundreds of companies selling hydrogen boosters or you can get plans and build your own.

Interested to know more? Read on...

 

The Theory

The technology has been there for decades to use hydrogen (often in the form of Brown's gas/HHO) as a booster to help enhance fuel combustion of gasoline and diesel.

The way it works is as follows. Since engines by their very nature are only partially efficient, unburned fuel ends up as hydrocarbons in the exhaust. The introduction of a small amount of hydrogen, normally in the 1 to 2% range, enhances the ignition to make an almost complete burn which in turn results in more power. Engines also decarbonise and get cleaner, run slightly cooler, and normally there is a gain on fuel efficiency since less fuel is needed to produce the same amount of power in the engine.

The carbon dioxide emissions are not really reduced but there is a close to 100% elimination of hydrocarbons along with near 100% elimination of carbon monoxide which indicates a complete burn. There is also a substantial reduction in the visible pollutants such as nitrous oxides, in the NOx family, by 20 to 60%.

An analogy would be comparing an engine to a pile of firewood. If it is damp, it is very hard to light. Image the hydrogen being like a cup of gasoline. If you pour it on the timber and light a match to it, the wood will combust much more quickly. Adding hydrogen to the engine, ensures that the combustion is as complete and efficient as possible.

Putting too much hydrogen is not good either. Once you reach a threshold, introducing more hydrogen gas than is required for a full burn, due to the inefficiency of generating the hydrogen gas with an alternator, causes diminishing returns and results in fuel mileage going down.

There are many different ways to produce this gas but most units have the following in common. The device contains has metal plates that are connected to the a positive and negative poles of the car battery . This unit is normally 3-5 inches in diameter, 6 inches high or taller, and is fastened inside the engine compartment. When the water is electrolyzed via the electrical charge going across the water, a gas comes out of the top. Dependent on how the unit is designed, the composition of the gas varies. Typically what comes out is called Brown's gas or HHO which is a mixture of Hydrogen and Oxygen. This gas gets ducted into the air intake which is where air comes in to go into the engine. This air/hydrogen/oxygen/water mixture is then combined with the fuel that is being atomized or vaporized and helps catalyze the burning of the fuel efficiently. This results in a better economy of fuel and burning, cleaner emissions and improved power.

The dream of people working on these devices is to get an engine self running solely on hydrogen and oxygen (water) with no pollution and using only water as fuel. This requires the ability to produce a large amount of gas from water with very little electricity. Enough hydrogen needs to get produced to be able to run the engine and have the alternator produce enough energy to run the electrolysis unit, which then powers the engine... Some people claim to have achieved this but never have had their invention publicly reproduced by third parties and/or commercialized. Until someone figures it out, as a transitional stage, we have hydrogen booster technologies.

Note: All those who have claimed to run a vehicle on water (Stanley Meyer, Herman Anderson, Daniel Dingle, etc.) all seem to have done it by using more than just brute force electrolysis. It would seem that the water has to be preconditioned either through exposure to high voltage, certain frequencies, magnets, etc., to enable the split of the water molecules with a much lower level of energy.

 


Benefits/Savings From Using a Hydrogen Booster

The expected fuel savings that can be seen vary. There is a correlation between engine size and amount of gas being produced. For gasoline engines, getting 15-20% consistently on gasoline engines is not uncommon.... sometimes higher, sometimes lower.

On a diesel engine, the gain is between 5% and 20% dependent on the engine size, the use, and the type of fuel. On start/stop trucks like garbage trucks, 15-20% is commonly seen and on longer distance the gain is often less than 10%. For example, one truck operator in Australia is saving 350 litres of fuel a week. So as you can see, with the price of fuel being what it is today, the payback time is pretty quick.

One company that has been trialling this technology for some time, finds that they are getting an extra 2 years engine life out of their engines which is considerable savings just in itself. The engine runs cleaner and smoother, requires less maintenance, and often provides a bit of extra power. So really, any mileage gain, is an extra bonus on top of the other good things that comes out from using a booster.

 

Problems With Modern Vehicles

People have had mixed results. On older vehicles with carburaters, it is almost a no brainer; people seem to be getting consistent mileage gains. On modern cars, it is another story. On most of these vehicles, the computer needs to be tricked into accepting the introduction of Brown's gas. When Brown's gas in introduced in the air/fuel mixture, the computer sees the air to fuel ratios change and starts dumping the maximum amount of fuel to try to get back to preset parameters. This generally negates any mileage gains.

People have made devices that fool the computer, e.g. the EFIE circuit from Eagle-Research, but even that does not work on all cars. In addition, in the United States this may be breaking EPA regulations as it is an offence to tamper with any part of the anti-pollution system.


Booster Safety

Hydrogen boosters must be properly installed. Most of them are filled with Sodium or Potassium Hydroxide which is very toxic and caustic. Add to this equation Brown's gas which is very explosive. With a friend, we filled a regular party balloon with Brown's gas and released it over a lake. We had lit a canon wick which caused the balloon to ignite about 100 feet (30 metres) up. It produced an incredibly loud explosion and shock wave. A neighbour who was at a store 5 miles away across the lake heard it very loudly as if he was nearby. I also heard an interview on the Kentucky Water Fuel Museum show where one of the interviewees mentions that he was once at Yul Brown's house (one of the pioneers in Brown's gas production) and saw a hole though his roof caused by one of his generators having blown up. You don't want your engine compartment to fill up with this gas and ignite!

If a unit overheats, or the Brown's gas ignites, badly designed boosters can meltdown or explode sending Sodium/Potassium Hydroxide throughout the engine compartment. This can then attack various parts in the engine compartment requiring very expensive replacement. This is in addition to the damage that the shockwave from the explosion itself will have caused.

Also, it is critical that you wire your booster so that it only receives power when the engine is RUNNING. Many connect it to the ignition circuit. Consider what happens in the following scenario. You put the key in, power up the car to listen to the radio but do not start the engine right away. When you start the engine 15 minutes later, you have an engine compartment filled with HHO gas and KABOOM, everything blows up.

You must therefore connect your booster to something like the oil pressure switch which activates when the engine builds up sufficient oil pressure or the fuel pump which only operates when the engine is running.

Disposal of the electrolyte is a problem. Some people just neutralize the electrolyte and dump it in the sewer, on their lawn, etc. Remember that after running for a while, the solution will contain more than just water and the original electrolyte (e.g. water). Impurities in the metal plates used in the booster will have leached into the solution and be present. For example, on lower grade metal plates you will probably find hexavalent chromium in the solution which is considered carcinogenic. So just make sure that all electrolyte is properly disposed of. Many people keep it in properly labelled plastic water/milk jugs and bring it in when the community organizes a hazardous waste collection day.

Building/Buying a Hydrogen Booster

For the tinkerer, building a hydrogen booster and installing it on a vehicle is quite simple. The plans are readily available out there, from companies such as Eagle-Research and many others and various discussion groups and web sites.

There are many individuals and companies, too many to count, that are getting into the production of these units. The costs vary from a few hundred dollars for a self-assembly kit, to one company selling commercial units for diesel rigs for over $16,000. If one looks around, one can find for cars and light trucks very good quality units can be bought under $500. Unfortunately, some of the cheaper units can produce more steam than HHO gas because they are not well designed or they are not filtering the gas properly to get out the contaminants. So, buyer beware.

A good place to start if you want more information on hydrogen boosting or even buy a unit is Eagle-Research. The owner George Wiseman is the pioneer of this technology and worked with Yul Brown to develop hydrogen boosting. There are many other sources, some good and some very bad so... buyer beware.

There are a few things that should be considered when looking to buy a booster:

  • Efficiency of the unit
  • Price
  • How much gas it produces (must be sufficient for the size of your engine)? A 2 litres/minute unit is normally sufficient for most cars with a 4 litre/minute unit on big rigs
  • Make sure there is something to scrub the gas that is produced (like a bubbler) so that some of the electrolyte does not end up in the engine and is instead returned to the unit
  • Make sure it has a mechanism to control the amount of gas produced (e.g. when idling, at a certain pressure, the generation of gas will stop temporarily)
  • What kind of electrolyte is used? Some are safer (such as acetic acid, i.e. vineager) but are less efficient or is it more hazardous (such as Sodium or Potassium Hydroxide) but produce better results?
  • If the electrolyte needs to be changed, how easy is it to do it? If you use vineager, you can flush it in the sewer. If you use Sodium/Potassium Hydroxide, the spent electrolyte needs to be put in a container and brought to a hazardous waste disposal site
  • Make sure it connected in a way that it does not produce any hydrogen if the engine is not actively running. The way some people install it, if the ignition is on but the engine is not running, gas is still being produced which IS VERY DANGEROUS
  • Does it have low water/electrolyte detection and will turn off automatically if levels get too low?
  • Does it run cool? Some units run very hot and sometimes overheat and melt. Also, excess heat is wasteful and you end up consuming more fuel
  • If ever the Brown's gas ignites in the engine and runs through the tube back to the Booster, do you have safety caps that will just pop out or will your entire booster crack/explode, etc.?
  • Do you have the skill level to build/install it yourself or should you purchase your unit from a company that offers installation and/or support
  • Is your vehicle still under warantee? Some modifications required may invalidate your warantee
    If you bring your vehicle to your regular mechanic for maintenance/repairs, will he be able/willing to work around your boosting system
  • Does your state/province require periodic exhaust testing. Some people have had problems getting their vehicle certified when equipped with boosters. Normally, for your vehicle to pass the test, the exhaust needs to be in a certain range. The addition of a booster generally brings the exhaust pollution level to a level below the minimum therefore might prevent getting the vehicle certified.
  • If you have a modern car with computer controls, what electronics are needed to fool the car in accepting your booster? Different cars have different numbers of sensors so what is needed varies according to each vehicle.

 

A few personal observations by Michel here at Transformacomm

Hydrogen boosting as a technology has transformed itself in the past years and continues to evolve at a very rapid pace.

When I went to the Alternative Energy/Healing Partnership Conference in Maryland at the end of June 2008, a number of people were showing off very basic Mason jar type units. At the followup event a year later in June 2009, no Mason jars were seen and the difference in quality of the units being shown from the previous year was amazing. There is now even an institute that has been put in place (The International HHO Institute) to test and certify units to ensure that what is claimed is actually delivered. Many units out there are well engineered, reliable, and have a number of built in safeguards. A level of maturity is slowly coming to this industry.

Boosters still remain an aftermarket installation as none of the main automakers have yet embraced this technology (conspiry theorists... conspire your hearts out!) Once booster units become available through car manufacturers (either at time of purchase or as an aftermarket option), they will adapt the car electronics to work with the boosters. Consistent mileage gains should then be observed in all such vehicles.

Current laws do not always support the use of boosters. I live in the province of Quebec in Canada and called my local Vehicle bureau. I was told by the Engineering group (summer 2008) that in the province of Quebec, boosting cars with Hydrogen or running cars exclusively on hydrogen is not approved and vehicles with these modifications cannot be used on Quebec roads. A private tinkerer can probably get away with boosting his car but basically rules out commercializing this technology on a larger scale in the province.

I noted that many of the basic units produce a lot of heat. This is normal if too much current is passed through the cell. Many of the cool running cells seem to have been designed with a series of electrically isolated plates and running a current equivalent to 1.9 volts per plate. That way, the electrical energy goes to break up the molecular bonds of water, not produce excess heat.

Also, from what I see, most of the units out there are still at the development stage where they need to be installed and used by a 'tinkerer'. The units are not meant to be installed by inexperienced people and run without proper maintenance and care. Someone will need to engineer and build an idiot proof model before these types of units can be installed and used in any vehicle safely.

If you are thinking of commercially becoming a hydrogen booster manufacturer/distributor at this time and doing active promotion and installation of units to the general public, make sure you know what you are getting into. I found the Kentucky Water Fuel Museum interview with Richard Coyle very enlightening where he shares his experience in going commercial with this technology and the problems he encountered. There is also the issue of liability. Selling parts to a do-it-yourself tinkerer is one thing. Selling a finished product and installing it yourself in your client's vehicles in something else. What is your liability if your unit causes damage to the vehicle or causes injury to someone? Unless you have good liability insurance, your life savings could vanish and be forced into bankrupcy.

This said, I personally believe in this technology and remain interested. But I will certainly not personally actively promote, sell and install boosters at this time to the general public for reasons outlined above.

 


 

Last modified: January 8, 2016