Water as fuel for your car …
If you “google” “water as fuel” a number of sites will come up offering plans for converting your car to use water as a fuel source. It sounds crazy … but it’s not.
Several years ago, President Bush proposed a national agenda to get a practical fuel cell into production to relieve the United States dependence on foreign oil. This has yet to become a reality and frankly may never be from a practical or cost effective standpoint. The technology is difficult and expensive requiring that cars be run on electricity or a “hybrid” mix of electricity and fossil fuels.
Congress began an initiative to use ethanol as an alternative fuel source not considering the implications of the use of feed grains as fuel in competition to their use as food. We are now seeing the result of this fiasco in rising food prices as the competition to use corn as fuel rather than food. Congress continues to support farm subsidies for ethanol production in combination with tariffs on imported ethanol from Brazil which continue to drive up the cost of food from eggs and cheese to beef and pork. It’s an insanity that only the politicians in Washington can pull off and then have the audacity to brag about.
Besides its use in a complicated fuel cell to produce electricity for electric or hybrid cars, hydrogen can be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. Pure hydrogen produces no greenhouse gases but pure water as the end product of it’s burning or combustion. Much of the research currently being done with hydrogen as a combustible fuel source is using pure hydrogen which has to be pressurized as a pure gas. This necessitates the need for gas bottles and fuel lines where leaks at connections can be seriously hazardous due to hydrogen’s low flash point which is the temperature that the fuel will ignite. Anyone who has had the slightest interest in history will remember seeing film clips of the Hindenberg disaster in New Jersey during the 1930’s, the consequence of Nazi Germany using hydrogen as its lighter than air gas to provide buoyancy for its fleets of dirigibles.
Besides the hazards of explosion and fire, pressurized hydrogen provides specific challenges in its’ delivery to the combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine (ICE). Pre-ignition because of the low flash point is one of the most challenging problems in getting pressurized hydrogen to be a practical consideration for ICE’s as well as timing delivery to the combustion chamber.
In addition, nearly all of pressurized hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels which, in essence, gives it no advantage over conventional fossil fuels since greenhouse gas production is an essential part of the process of producing hydrogen for fuel in this way. Because of this, environmentalists have had a valid objection to its use as an alternative fuel source or additive for conventional fossil fuels whether gasoline, diesel, natural or propane gases.
But, unpressurized hydrogen produced on demand by electrolysis or other means and used as an additive to fossil fuel bypasses the constraints and objections posed above. when mixed with the normal fossil fuel mixture the problem of pre-ignition is eliminated. The hydrogen can be electrically separated from oxygen in water molecules through electrolysis using the electrical system of the vehicle with no additional greenhouse gas production beyond what the vehicle is already producing and providing probably less load on the engine than running an air conditioning unit on the vehicle. It can be drawn into the fuel/air mixture through a vacuum effect eliminating the hazardous need for pressurization and eliminating its own separate timing requirements. Something of this sort is what is now being offered in the many advertisements on the internet.
Hydrogen, whether pressurized or unpressurized, when used as an additive can increase fuel efficiency by 20 to 30% as measured in miles per gallon. This past weekend, I spoke with one of my brothers-in law about this. He owns a business which sells tractor trucks. His initial comment was, “Well … that only amounts to one or two gallons per mile for a diesel truck … but, you know … one gallon per mile could make the difference in a trucker making a profit. ”
A 20 to 30% savings is … a 20 to 30% savings … regardless of where you start from.
In addition, it inhances the utilization of fossil fuels it is mixed with and markedly decreases both CO2 and nitrous oxide emmissions making the currently expensive emission controls on vehicles such as catalytic converters unncessary.
Of interest is the fact that all current internal combustion engines could be retrofitted with a hydrogen producing device at very little cost, probably less than the cost of the catalytic converter alone. One article I read stated that, if this were done a yearly savings of 25 BILLION gallons of gasoline could be saved … which amounts to the quantity of gasoline that could be produced from our entire importation of crude oil from the Middle East. Imagine that … retrofitting all vehicles with a hydrogen producing unit that would eliminate our need to import oil from the Middle East … at the cost of several hundred dollars each … at the most.
Recently, a man in Pennsylvania discovered that hydrogen could be produced from salt water, or sea water by using focused microwave. This was a serendipitous discovery but it could potentially provide what might turn out to be an even less expensive method of producing nonpressurized hydrogen for use as a fuel additive than the currently advertised electrolysis conversion plans.
Currently, millions if not hundreds of millions or billions of dollars are being spent on complex and complicated designs to use hydrogen powered fuel cells or pressurized hydrogen as the source of power for future vehicles whether automobiles or trucks. That means that there are a lot of people who have a vested interest in their pet projects who arent’ going to be too happy with someone coming along with a cheaper and simpler method to solve the energy crisis problem. So, while skepticism is a good thing in all cases the source of the skepticism should be considered.
Yes, water is a source of tremendous combustible energy. It is a very stable vehicle for storing hydrogen. Under the hood of every car are containers which hold an engine coolant, antifreeze, and windshield washing fluid. Isn’t there space for one more container to hold some tap water or a saline solution? How much space would an electrolysis device take … or a small focused microwave?
Occasionally, we don’t have to throw billions of dollars at a problem to solve it … simply a little common sense and initiative. Why try to re-invent the wheel or make a more complicated one when there is a simple economical one available to use?
(I’ve read a number of articles on the above topics and will be adding them to this post for everyone’s consideration. Some are purely commercial but others are based on very valid current research. All point to the practicality of my recommendations so far.)