Home > Cars, Engineering, Environment, Kenya, Science, tinkering > Cars that Run on Water

Cars that Run on Water

What a dream that would be, just fill the tank up with water and off you go!

But it us just that, a dream – sort of.

However, I have looked at the possibility of producing hydrogen on demand in a car and feeding it into the fuel system – and it works. That is not to say that the car does not need petrol, but with the addition of hydrogen, it needs a lot less.

The principle is that there is a cell filled with water, electricity is passed through the water and the oxygen and hydrogen atoms are separated, producing a gas. This gas is then fed into the fuel system (on the air intake side) and petrol consumption goes down.

I thought, “What a lovely theory. ” But I was curious. The reports I had read seemed logical. I could not see any major flaw, other than badly designed cells exploding – well that can be overcome by designing a decent cell – but more of that another time.

I set to, passing a current through stainless steel electrodes in water. The electrodes started to fizz. I collected the gas that was given off and put a match to it. it went “pop”.

I increased  the flow of electricity (my first source was a cheap battery chrger, and I upgraded to a fully charged 12 volt car battery.

Oh boy, did that fizz! I put a match to the collected gas and got a bigger “pop”, a much bigger pop!

So, I can produce a flammable gas from water, and as water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, I have to guess that it is hydrogen – neat.

I know that an ordinary car with an ordinary petrol engine will run on hydrogen. the Myth Busters have proved it.

So, the next step will be to build a decent, safe cell and plumb it into an old jalopy to see what happens. I have designed it. I could build it, but haven’t found all the components, yet. The worst that can happen is finding myself in low orbit, but I anticipate that I will be running said old jalopy on an petrol/hydrogen mix.

On carrying out more (and more … and more) research about the subject, I found a paper by a University in Tasmania that states that even diesel engines can benefit from an injection of hydrogen into the fuel. It can increase engine output by up to 40% – now that is interesting, especially if my dream of a gentle road trip from UK to Kisii, Kenya ever takes place.

So it you see an old jalopy going a lot faster than would seem decent, it may be me!

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  1. February 2, 2010 at 17:23

    The main problem is that fuel is not a water but H2
    And H2 storage is not a solved thing right now

    http://www.fuelcellsinfo.com

  2. February 2, 2010 at 17:26

    Hi Alex, That is why this system only produces H2 on demand – no storage problems.

  3. March 4, 2010 at 12:10

    You still need an energy source to produce the H2; in your example you needed the electricity in a battery.

    And in that case you might as well use that energy source to run the car directly instead, without all the extra weight of the H2 generators and cells etc.

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