Run Your Car on Water! (No, Not Really)

The other day, I came across a pseudoscience site so laughably ridiculous I just had to share it:

http://www.runyourcaronwater.com/

(Warning: Page has sound.)

As the URL indicates, the unknown people behind this site are selling a kit which they claim will enable you to turn your car into a “water-burning hybrid” that can use ordinary tap water as a fuel source. I’ll go over the mechanics of why this is impossible in a minute, but first, I want to call attention to this curious claim:

You can run your car on water, supplemental to gasoline, to increase your car’s fuel efficiency and reduce your fuel costs significantly.

Supplemental to gasoline, not as a replacement for it. The site elsewhere claims that this technology allows you to save “over 40%” on fuel costs. Now, if you think about this, why would it be only 40%? Either water works as a fuel source or it doesn’t, and if it does, then why can’t you rely on it exclusively? Why can’t you make a car that runs entirely on water and doesn’t use any gas at all?

In any case, the site has an explanation of how this technology is claimed to work:

Our easy conversion guide will show you how to use electricity from your car’s battery to separate water into a gas called HHO (2 Hydrogen + 1 Oxygen). HHO, also called Brown’s Gas or Hydroxy, burns smoothly and provides significant energy – while the end product is just H2O!

Clearly, the proprietors of this site are banking on their readers not knowing the laws of thermodynamics. Yes, water can be electrolyzed into hydrogen and oxygen gas; and yes, those gases can be burned and will recombine into water. The inconvenient fact that this ad leaves out is that each step of this process necessarily involves a loss of energy. This technology “works” only in the same way as a businessman who loses money on every sale but thinks he can make up for it on volume.

The problem is that water, unlike natural gas or petroleum, is a highly stable compound. The chemical reaction that turns hydrogen and oxygen into water is said to be thermodynamically irreversible – that is, under natural conditions, it runs only in one direction. To put it another way, it takes more energy to break water into its component elements than you get by putting those elements back together. You certainly can use an external source of energy, such as a car battery, to break water down into hydrogen and oxygen; but the process of burning those gases will inevitably release less energy than it took to break the water down in the first place. Therefore, if this technology operates as described, it not only will not increase the mileage of your car, it will actually decrease it!

The description quoted above – “use electricity… to separate water” into Brown’s Gas, and then burning the Brown’s Gas, which “provides significant energy” – sounds suspiciously like a perpetual motion machine. Another excerpt confirms that that is what this site is claiming:

Your car will become at least 40% more fuel efficient…

The only way this could make your car more fuel efficient is if burning the Brown’s Gas produced more energy than it takes to extract it from water, and if that were the case, this cycle could be repeated indefinitely. If this technology worked as its vendors claim, it would produce unlimited energy for free. Anyone who chooses to believe that this is possible is joining the long line of perpetual-motion devotees who’ve bet against the first law of thermodynamics. And, as noted physicist and skeptic Robert Park points out in his book Voodoo Science, no one has ever won that wager.

That said, there is a plausible, non-crackpot scheme for using water as a fuel. That technology is called nuclear fusion. With a working fusion reactor, such as the one the ITER consortium is currently building, it’s theoretically possible to extract hydrogen from water and then, under extremely high temperatures, fuse that hydrogen into helium. But this, too, is a thermodynamically irreversible reaction, and more importantly, it’s a nuclear reaction. It in no way resembles the crackpot pseudoscience of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, then recombining those gases into water and somehow ending up with more energy than you started with.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • subcorler69

    What? Are they crazy? Filling up your tank with dihydrogen – monoxide? Don’t they realize how dangerous that is? It leads to corrosion, contributes to the green house effect and may even cause death if you inhale it. No thanks, way too risky for me.

  • penn

    Isn’t this exactly what is trying to be done to promote the “hydrogen economy”? If we had really cheap and clean electricity then we could turn water into a transportation fuel. We would obviously be losing energy on the deal, but if energy were cheap and clean enough it would make sense. This is another reason I’d like to see electricity that is too cheap to meter, like proponents claimed nuclear would provide. It opens up so many options, but may very well be a pipe dream.

  • http://wordwarvi.sourceforge.net SteveC

    Are you sure “Brown’s gas” isn’t just steam? I seem to recall something about the military using water injection in engines in WWII, maybe in fighter planes. The water enters the combustion chamber, turns to expanding steam, along with the expanding combustion gases, the water-to-steam transition cools the engine, etc, so the internal combustion engine becomes a hybrid gas/steam engine. But they had to rebuild the engines every 100 hours or something, iirc. I don’t know much about it, but suspect there’s a tiny kernel of truth somewhere in there. That kernel is being ignored by the runyourcaronwater folks, however. And putting water into an engine not designed to have such a thing done to it is almost certainly a good way to ruin the engine.

    Not as good a way as putting sand in the engine though:
    http://www.audiforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=80267#693578

  • http://collapsingwaves.wordpress.com Brad

    ^^ Context: http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html

    Isn’t there some kind of law against fraudulent advertising claims? Is there some way to find out if this is a joke or not? Or if many people have given over their money?

    And you know what’s wierd? The “unknown people behind this site” includes a manager at a company that sells office furniture in Canada.

  • http://collapsingwaves.wordpress.com Brad

    Not to mention a “Pocket Car Inspector”

  • 2-D Man

    It actually sounds kind of like they’re selling a product that *could* increase your gas mileage, but you’d have to plug your car into an outlet when you’re done driving.

    Note that this does not mean that I think they’re on the level.

    If someone were to get this kind of thing to work, it would really just be another electric car.

  • http://stereoroid.com/ brian t

    If you listen to Adam Curry’s “Daily Source Code” podcast, you’ll be tearing your hair out… he had a “hydroxy booster” kit fitted to his car a few weeks ago, by some mad Dutchmen, and he’s claiming a 20% improvement after initial testing. He says he gets the thermodynamics, but says there’s something else going on that he doesn’t understand. He’s developing some theory about how the hydrogen is fooling the engine management system, or something.

    I’m hearing other people claiming that the electrolysis runs off of “excess” energy from the alternator – as if the alternator delivers current that gets wasted when the battery doesn’t need charging, just waiting to picked up and used to split water. It’s a wonder that the alternator doesn’t catch fire, all that energy just sitting there..!

  • konrad_arflane

    The problem is that water, unlike natural gas or petroleum, is a highly stable compound. The chemical reaction that turns hydrogen and oxygen into water is said to be thermodynamically irreversible – that is, under natural conditions, it runs only in one direction. To put it another way, it takes more energy to break water into its component elements than you get by putting those elements back together.

    I may be misremembering this, but that section strikes me as not entirely accurate. Separating water into hydrogen and oxygen should, AFAIK, require the same amount of energy as the subsequent combustion would release – otherwise, energy is disappearing, which it doesn’t, according to some law of thermodynamics or other.

    Rather, the reason the scheme doesn’t work (apart from the fact that even in ideal circumstances, it’s a zero-sum game) is that entropy always increases in a closed system – the energy output of the hydrogen combustion is in the form of heat, while the input needed to separate the water back into hydrogen and oxygen is electric energy, and turning heat energy into electricity is impossible to do at anything near 100% efficiency, because heat is just about the highest-entropy type of energy there is.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Separating water into hydrogen and oxygen should, AFAIK, require the same amount of energy as the subsequent combustion would release…

    Konrad: In my understanding, you’d be correct if any energy conversion was 100% efficient, but none is. If you try to break water down into its constituents, some of the energy you apply to the task will inevitably go to waste, and you won’t get it back when you combust the resulting gases. It’s true that no energy is disappearing, but some is being dissipated in an unrecoverable form.

  • StaceyJW

    Hello,
    WOW, why didn’t I think of selling it first? I sure could use the money- and if you buy in the next 5 minutes, I will send you a set of hand towels free!

    As for Hydrogen-
    This is nothing like the Hydrogen fuel cells, whether in cars or other applications. “A fuel cell converts the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process it produces electricity.” (http://www.howstuffworks.com/fuel-cell.htm)
    The main difference here is that water is just the by-product, NOT the fuel.

    The advantage of a Hydrogen car is no emissions, other than water. Unfortunately, you still need fossil fuels at this stage, since the hydrogen is currently produced from steam reforming natural gas. Eventually we will be able to produce the hydrogen from renewable resources- technically possible, but not efficient or economical at this point. The industry is developing, and could play a major role in the future economy.

    Limitless, Free Energy is a marketing gimmick- a laughable one at that. “Energy so cheap no one bothers to meter it” is a phrase often used to get the public to accept controversial energy generation/policies (nuclear), to get them to open up the public coffers (Iraq), or to just rip people off. (I would love to meet the American that wouldn’t “bother” to meter it.) Even if it’s possible to have limitless clean energy, it wouldn’t be free because developing it is capital intensive.

    The reality is that people (whether as individuals, investors, corporations or as a government)take major financial risks, betting on a concept- then, hopefully, proceeding through the invention/development/infrastructure phases to come out with a valuable asset. This is costly, and often fails. Once the asset is created, there are still a myriad of operating costs.

    Companies may get capital from investors expecting a future profit, and the Government might use taxes expecting increased revenues/other social benefits, the process is never free. Whether future customers pay back the investment, plus profit, or all citizens pay via taxes, someone always pays- who and how much are the only real questions. I realize this is overly simplistic, but costs don’t disappear because we can’t see how they are being paid.

    But Seriously- we live in a country that zealously guards the patents for life saving vaccines so they cannot be used freely and cheaply to save lives and benefit society, do you really think that power will ever be free??? Even if it was possible? Really?

    As long as people dream of infinite consumption without consequences, something for nothing, energy expenditure without atrophy, this myth will survive. There will always be someone out there willing to believe that free power is just one gadget away. Some never learned the relevant science, others willfully believe, in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

    Either way, belief that is not founded on provable reality (be it from ignorance or faith) is once again the foundation of a persistent, harmful and silly myth.

    Stacey

  • jack

    Back in the 1970s, some students at Caltech converted a conventional small car to some kind of battery/electric drive. They left the fuel tank intact, but it was not connected to anything. The car had some elaborate markings on it, “Caltech Experimental Car”, or something to that effect. Just as a prank, they drove it to gas stations in the Los Angeles area and each time asked the attendant to fill it up with water from the radiator filling hose (yes, there was a time when gas stations employed people to pump fuel into your car).

    So maybe one of these con men used to work at a filling station in LA long ago, and got some inspiration.

  • Joffan

    Rather, the reason the scheme doesn’t work (apart from the fact that even in ideal circumstances, it’s a zero-sum game) is that entropy always increases in a closed system

    or….
    First law of Thermodynamics: you can’t win (energy is conserved)
    Second law of Thermodynamics: you can’t break even (entropy increases)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water-fuelled_car

  • Alex Weaver

    This technology “works” only in the same way as a businessman who loses money on every sale but thinks he can make up for it on volume.

    I think a more accurate comparison would be people who expect to make back their initial investment and then some charging tolls for the bridge they just bought.

    As Orac and others have frequently observed, “teh stoopid” burns. Is there any research into making a car that will run on that?

  • Samuel Skinner

    I have seen this before… oh yeah, it is featured on Dawkinswatch.

    You might want to see that site except it might cause you to dent you computer screen.

  • bestonnet

    Water powered cars have been around for a while (or at least there have been people claiming to have them for a while, I’d really like to see their fusion setup, it must be impressive if they’re fusing protium) and in an era of high oil prices it’s not so much of a surprise to see them appearing damn near everywhere.

    penn:

    This is another reason I’d like to see electricity that is too cheap to meter, like proponents claimed nuclear would provide. It opens up so many options, but may very well be a pipe dream.

    StaceyJW:

    Limitless, Free Energy is a marketing gimmick- a laughable one at that. “Energy so cheap no one bothers to meter it” is a phrase often used to get the public to accept controversial energy generation/policies (nuclear), to get them to open up the public coffers (Iraq), or to just rip people off. (I would love to meet the American that wouldn’t “bother” to meter it.) Even if it’s possible to have limitless clean energy, it wouldn’t be free because developing it is capital intensive.

    Leo L. Strauss:

    It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter, will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history, will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age.

    Sounds more like a general optimistic view of the future than an attempt to force nuclear power on people (and cheap energy is a good thing, it also tends to beat cheap labour (those worried about manufacturing jobs going overseas take note)).

    But anyway, energy is the basis of our civilisation (as per White’s law, is it any wonder those who are anti-civilisation are so focused on limited our energy supplies) and the more the better, both in terms of per capita usage and efficiency of usage (and they often tend to increase together). Besides, the amount of energy we use compared to what someone from the stone age used would look to be limitless.

    Brad:

    Isn’t there some kind of law against fraudulent advertising claims? Is there some way to find out if this is a joke or not? Or if many people have given over their money?

    There is, but prosecution is very rare for things like this (and most of the victims think it actually did something to help).

  • Alcari

    There is a way to make a fuel-water hybrid. It’s called a 6-stroke engine.

    You have the normal 4 strokes with gasoline, then you inject a squirt of water. The water hits the hot engine and flash evaporates into steam, driving the piston down again, add a 6th stroke to clear the steam and you’re done.

    Of course, doing this require extensive modification to your car, and will wreak havoc on any engine that’s not specifically made for it, but it does work, giving about 20% extra milage by using the engine waste heat.

    Of course, an engine that can take that kind of abuse is much heavier than a normal one, more then cancelling out any gain you from this.

  • bestonnet

    Using waste heat can give you a bit of extra efficiency (as with combined cycle gas plants, the 6-stroke engine and the turbosteamer concept) but you also need extra equipment to do it and there’s a limit to what you get without impairing the cooling of the primary system.

    Then there’s this which if we could make a smaller engine with the same technology…

  • konrad_arflane

    Konrad: In my understanding, you’d be correct if any energy conversion was 100% efficient, but none is. If you try to break water down into its constituents, some of the energy you apply to the task will inevitably go to waste, and you won’t get it back when you combust the resulting gases. It’s true that no energy is disappearing, but some is being dissipated in an unrecoverable form.

    Sure. That’s more or less what I said (or meant to say, anyway). The reason I posted in the first place was that I found the statement “it takes more energy to break water into its component elements than you get by putting those elements back together” somewhat… imprecise. Given that the reason all this stuff has an audience (or even a market) in the first place is that most people don’t really understand thermodynamics, I think it’s important to be mindful of possible misunderstandings when explaining why it doesn’t work. Of course, people will probably misunderstand anyway (entropy isn’t really a very intuitive concept, no matter how many metaphors you throw at it), but at least they’ll misunderstand because the subject is complex, not because it was oversimplified for them.

  • Alex Weaver

    Of course, an engine that can take that kind of abuse is much heavier than a normal one, more then cancelling out any gain you from this.

    Is it really that much harder on the engine than having controlled hydrocarbon explosions cycling it multiple times per second? If anything, I would think the cooling effect would prolong the life of the engine.

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.comA M. Simon

    And now for some real Fusion news:

    Fusion Report 13 June 008

  • PC Childs

    This will work but not at the 40% claimed, more like 2% to 5%. A cars alternator does indeed produce electricity all the time. A car also has a regulator and once the battery is fully charged the regulator shuts off the current flow to the battery and the electricity being produced is effectively waste energy ( that’s why we now have day time running lights and they don’t affect your mileage). The system this website is talking about breaks the water into it’s two elements then adds them to the fuel mix. Both Hydrogen and oxygen are highly combustible and both act to cool the combustion a tiny fraction thereby increasing the mileage. At highway speeds the system is using the energy from the alternator that would otherwise be waste energy. So it isn’t a zero sum gain it is using energy that already has no where to go.

    There is a company in the midwest that is adding hydrogen kits to diesel engines. This kit has a tank of compressed hydrogen and the hydrogen is added to the fuel mix at the injectors. This doesn’t use any of the vehicles power and does improve the mileage. Because the hydrogen is an additive and not the main fuel it lasts about 700 miles but you have to be near a hydrogen filling station to refill the tank.

    The science of adding hydrogen to your car is real, the claims of improved mileage are bogus.

  • 2-D Man

    Is it really that much harder on the engine than having controlled hydrocarbon explosions cycling it multiple times per second? If anything, I would think the cooling effect would prolong the life of the engine.

    Not at all, Alex. Rapid cooling and heating of engine components tends to put a lot of stress on the seals and whatnot as the engine is cooling and heating so fast that you get temperature gradients in…uncomfortable places. This can cause fractures as, for example, the piston is heated when the engine is started, but then the inside is suddenly and rapidly cooled by a blast of water.

    I’m sketpical of the claim that this actually gets more mileage, though. If the engine is being cooled too much, you get less complete burning of the fuel, which is why you’re supposed to let your car warm up before you go driving.

    Konrad:

    I was thinking the same thing, but then I read the sentence one last time before posting the comment about it and Ebon’s sentence implies the engineering difficulties of getting the energy back out in addition to the scientific ones.

  • http://www.iziguzag.com/ Rob

    It actually sounds kind of like they’re selling a product that *could* increase your gas mileage, but you’d have to plug your car into an outlet when you’re done driving.

    Well then you’re just reducing your gasoline bill by increasing your electricity bill. Cover the car with solar cells and leave it parked outside to charge up the hydrogen tanks, and then you have a fuel saving car.

  • Chase Johnson

    Water injection was used in WW2 era aircraft, and is also used in some modern automotive engines in addition to a forced induction system. It effectively increases the octane of the fuel mixture, allowing higher cylinder pressure. Basically, it’s an anti-knock agent. In conjunction with an extremely well tuned forced induction system, you might increase your gas mileage. Some hypermilers have gotten better mileage with small superchargers, and that *might* be extensible to larger systems which would require higher octane fuel and/or water injection. To effectively build something like this, you would need to know what you were doing.

    There is some argument that hydrogen injection increases fuel mileage, due to increasing the percentage of the mixture which is burned. Combustion engines are very complex and I see a lot of arguments going on here which miss the terrific complexity of their operation. I have seen many, many arguments regarding the efficacy of minute modifications between people with decades of engine building and tuning experience. Whether or not the hydrogen going into the combustion chamber can increase your gas mileage is a question for an automotive engineer with a testbench motor. You cannot accurately make a pronouncement about the operation of an engine based simply on your understanding of a simplification of its first order operation.

    Whether or not the production of the hydrogen from water using alternator current outweighs the (potential) efficiency gains of hydrogen injection is a completely separate question. It’s not a complex one, but it is probably only answerable experimentally. You will *not* be harnessing waste energy in this case. By using a kit like this, you will necessarily increase the load on the alternator. Some people have used these hydrogen booster kits to, allegedly, get better gas mileage. I have not personally seen any evidence for this, and of course such one-off experiments are very unscientific and prone to psychological effects. It is an unsettled question in my mind.

    Ebon and the crowd here are sometimes overzealous in their debunking. Pseudoscience is a terrible thing, and I oppose anything which exchanges knowledge and fact for comforting myths. However, if you intend to debunk something as pseudoscience, you should realize the potential complexities of the situation. Engineering and science are built around convenient asymmetries in natural processes. It may be the case that there is such an asymmetry acting here, where one may gain more from a hydrogen induced complete combustion than one loses from the load of the electrolysis. I do not know if this is true or not, and it does seem on face to be unlikely. Science has a way to deal with this, which is to experiment and settle the question. What is happening here is masturbation.

  • bestonnet

    PC Childs:

    This will work but not at the 40% claimed, more like 2% to 5%.

    No it won’t, your claim that it will is based upon a misunderstanding.

    PC Childs:

    ( that’s why we now have day time running lights and they don’t affect your mileage).

    Which do increase fuel consumption (along with causing excessive glare, I’m certainly glad they aren’t common here).

    2-D Man:

    which is why you’re supposed to let your car warm up before you go driving.

    No you’re not, starting it and driving off is perfectly OK, besides, letting the engine warm up while the car is actually moving will give you much better fuel economy than having it idle at its least efficient speed.

    Rob:

    Well then you’re just reducing your gasoline bill by increasing your electricity bill.

    With cheap electricity from coal, nuclear or hydro that might not be such a bad economic trade (and a good environmental trade if the power doesn’t come from coal) although you’d get better efficiency with batteries (although a proper hydrogen engine might have more range).

    Chase Johnson:

    There is some argument that hydrogen injection increases fuel mileage, due to increasing the percentage of the mixture which is burned.

    A well tuned car engine is already burning about 99% of the fuel so there isn’t much room for improvement there.

  • Chase Johnson

    bestonnet:

    There isn’t *much* room for improvement, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for it.

    I’m not saying these claims are true, and I’m not saying they’re false. What I actually take issue with is the dismissal of claims using simplistic models. Without experimental evidence one way or the other, I would expect to see a detailed characterization of the combustion process demonstrating the inefficacy of hydrogen injection. I have not seen anything close to that. I have seen a bunch of thrashing about with a vague, non-specific model. Its pop science, not a debunking. As a skeptic, I take nearly as much issue with inaccurate pop science as I do with psychics and telekinesis.

    The linked site and its relatives in that market (Make your car run faster/better/cheaper with this cheap kit) do seem quite sleazy. People tend to use secondary indicators of legitimacy and competence when they themselves lack the competence to judge a scientific claim. That is what is occurring here, I believe. Whether or not an electrolysis-based hydrogen injection system increases fuel mileage, the sleaziness of the marketing has no impact on the science.

    It works, or it doesn’t, and arguing with broad applications of thermodynamic principles, when what you really need is a detailed combustion analysis, is pointless.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Chase: I admit I’m not an expert on the intricacies of internal-combustion engines, but what you’re describing is a completely different system than what’s being sold here. This website isn’t promoting water injection to increase the fuel’s octane rating, or hydrogen injection to increase the percentage of fuel that’s burned. On the contrary, what it clearly advocates is electrolyzing water and using the resulting oxyhydrogen gas as a fuel source in its own right to replace gasoline. There are fundamental thermodynamic reasons why this can’t possibly work.

    I can see the systems you describe, if finely tuned, producing a small increase in gas mileage. This site is not offering a small increase. It promises to double your gas mileage. You are not going to get a change like that from a minor adjustment in combustion efficiency.

  • bestonnet

    In theory hydrogen could allow for an increase in compression ratio and leaner combustion which could give you some improvements if you specifically tune the engine for them (which they aren’t doing, this would require at the very least significant reprogramming of the ECU and possibly even hardware changes).

    Lean burn itself can also provide some fuel economy increase but is banned because of a conspiracy, actually because it increases NOx emissions massively compared to a car with a catalytic converter (that requires a roughly stoichiometric mixture to work) and which is quite justified.

  • Alex Weaver

    Lean burn itself can also provide some fuel economy increase but is banned because of a conspiracy, actually because it increases NOx emissions massively compared to a car with a catalytic converter (that requires a roughly stoichiometric mixture to work) and which is quite justified.

    Especially since C-SCR doesn’t work too well with the sort of model passenger cars are sold on.

  • Chase Johnson

    Ebon: Fair enough. My mistake for mis-interpreting your post. I have recently read debates on an automotive forum I frequent regarding hydrogen injection (using electrolysis as the hydrogen source) to do exactly what bestonnet describes. These are people who are quite willing to do all the necessary ECU programming and dyno tuning, and they could not come to agreement about the efficacy of hydrogen injection. I suppose it galled me to see (what I thought was) a massive simplification and dismissal of the issue. I apologize.

    bestonnet: The people I know who are experimenting with hydrogen injection do not, generally, keep catalytic converters on their cars.

  • bestonnet

    Chase Johnson:

    bestonnet: The people I know who are experimenting with hydrogen injection do not, generally, keep catalytic converters on their cars.

    Which is most likely illegal (and for good reason).

  • Chase Johnson

    Yup, it’s illegal.

  • andim

    Pah! – Water is so passe now. Im with these guys (http://www.fatfinding.com) – cooking oil is the future! – The days of cheap gas and electricity are long gone………

  • bestonnet

    Biofuels have other problems, like the fact that the crops we grow should be used as food for humans, not SUV’s.

    Cooking oil if only a few people do it isn’t going to cause major problems but if everyone started to use biofuels we’d be in quite a bit of trouble (this ethanol crap has already caused food price increases), not to mention that you only really save money with cooking oil if you don’t pay taxes on your fuel and that if a lot of people start doing it they tend to get fined for tax evasion (has been known to happen).

  • Tom

    Are you sure “Brown’s gas” isn’t just steam?

    As far as I can tell from the invariably semi-coherent websites that champion junk/scam/conspiracy science like this, “Brown’s gas” is what you get when you electrolyse water and don’t separate the gases evolved from the cathode and anode. What you get is not a single gas, but a mixture of two gases, H2 and O2, the normal forms of gaseous hydrogen and gaseous oxygen; moreover, the mixture of these two gases will conveniently be perfectly stochiometric. And you couldn’t get me to stand anywhere near any sizeable tank of such a mixture, because another name for any container of fully mixed, stochiometric dihydrogen and dioxygen is a fuel-air bomb.

  • Tom

    Oh, as for hydrogen injection, there’s an effort that isn’t based on water going on at MIT at the moment. The device, called a plasmatron, uses a vapour arc discharge to crack some of the petrol in a motor vehicle into simpler molecules, including hydrogen, which is then injected into the engine with the rest of the petrol and apparently increases the overall combustion efficiency of the mixture.

  • Jerry Lyons

    What this all boils down to is essentially the possibility of disproving Faraday’s rule. Now can we or can’t we. Elequence means jack without logical acceptance of a proof. Now get off the blooming fence fellas!


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