Off Topic Science

Water Power

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I read somewhere about a guy in Florida some years ago who was winning races in an offshore speed boat powered by hydrogen/oxygen by water electrolyzed on demand. He used a conventional piston engine modified slightly to run on hydrogen/oxygen (which is one of the most efficient fuels you can get). Normally there’s no way to store hydrogen and oxygen that’s lighter than a tank filled with gasoline. High pressure or cryogenic tanks are HEAVY and DANGEROUS. This guy had developed an extremely efficient method of rapidly electrolyzing water at a throttled rate where the combined weight of the batteries and electronics were much lighter than a tank of gasoline. He won races by having a superior power-to-weight ratio in his boat. He claimed that his workshop was vandalized twice, his prototypes and working models stolen, and he didn’t have time or motivation to tool up more of his inventions. But he described the appartus in some detail on the internet (which I could probably find a link to again if I tried googling for it). As I recall the invention worked by using high frequency pulse width modulated electric current to perform the electrolysis with specially designed anodes and cathodes. Throttling was accomplished by varying the pulse width. Normally electrolysis is done by using simple direct current to the anode and cathode and throttling it by varying the voltage which is easy to do but not particularly efficient. The news clip on this water powered torch and water powered vehicle appear to be based on identical technology to what the boat racer described. If someone wants to look up Klein’s patent(s) before I get a chance to I’d appreciate it. As far as I know he IS the guy from Florida I read about a year or two ago. If not his patent(s) might have some prior art which would make them unenforceable as the Florida guy described the apparatus well enough for an expert to understand and duplicate it and put the description into the public domain.

32 Replies to “Water Power

  1. 1
    GilDodgen says:

    But where do you get the energy to do the electrolysis or make the HHO? You can’t get something for nothing, except through Darwinian mechanisms. 😉

  2. 2
    SCheesman says:

    Seems like a hoax to me.

  3. 3
    SCheesman says:

    I should elaborate on that. Presumably a gasoline motor is supposed to drive a generator to produce electricity for the electolyis to produce hydrogen and oxygen that is then recombined to drive another motor. And that’s supposed to be more efficient than just using the original motor to drive the props?

  4. 4
    bFast says:

    This doesn’t pass basic logic to me. Cracking water to HHO will take more energy than you get out of burning HHO to get H2O. This is the simple reality of the second law of thermodynamics.

    There is a process that does work, however. It seems that aluminum is more determined to oxidize than hydrogen is. So aluminum will remove the hydrogen from water in its determination to oxidize. The challenge here is that aluminum develops a thin film of oxidization almost instantly. This problem can be addressed by alloying the aluminum. Mix the alloyed aluminum with water, and you get hydrogen off. You also get oxidized aluminum alloy. The process is reversable in factory at a realistic energy cost. It is an interesting and theoretically viable way of cracking water, of effectively storing hydrogen — and its scientificly feasible.

  5. 5
    DLH says:

    efficient method of rapidly electrolyzing water at a throttled rate where the combined weight of the batteries and electronics were much lighter than a tank of gasoline.

    Sounds like electricity from the grid to charge batteries to electrolyze water to gases which he then combusts.
    If you electrolyze within the chamber – you might get away with only having to pump in water instead of compressing the gases.

  6. 6
    DLH says:

    DaveScott Here are the links to the patents issued to Daniel Klein on water electrolysis:
    IN/Klein-D$ AND electrolysis AND water

    Provisional patents to Daniel Klein on water electrolysis:
    Klein-D$ AND electrolysis AND water

    Oxyhydrogen-Klein Wikipedia

    Randy Klein blog discussing Klein

    Run your car on water? Norcal blogs

  7. 7
    Atom says:

    Davescot,

    They’re selling generators on the site for $6995. Would you like to purchase one and tell us if they really work? (lurkers: that was a joke, please do not send your money to those people…)

    Apparently a bunch of people on the Randi forums were discussing this as well, and think it is bogus (for thermodynamic reasons.)

  8. 8
    Atom says:

    DLH, you beat me to the punch on the Randi forum

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    The racing boat guy was only interested in power to weight ratio and ran a short race. He charged his batteries before the race and ended it with depleted batteries. I looked into the patent database and found patents dating back to the 1970’s for on-demand electrolytic “Brown Gas” (two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen or HHO) cells using pulse width modulation. Hydrogen burns pretty hot and fast so it was probably not good for engine life. As I recall he used a very high grade stainless steel for the electrodes and even those won’t last long. What he did had no real application in passenger cars.

    Further research into what Klein is doing in the vehicle is adding a small amount of HHO at the air intake manifold so the mixture is still mostly normal fuel/air. The electricity to generate the HHO is obtained from the vehicle’s charging system. The additional burden on the alternator (1-3 horsepower) to generate the HHO of course makes fewer horsepower available for motive force. The key is that a small amount HHO in the fuel/air mix with slightly altered ignition timing gives a more complete burn in the combustion chamber. A few horsepower from the alternator used to make the HHO results in 10% or more more efficient fuel utilization for a net gain in horsepower for the same quantity of fuel consumed. Think of it like the advice your mother gave you about eating all the food on your plate so you’re not wasting anything. The HHO additive causes less fuel to be wasted. The net result is lower emissions and better fuel economy. The emission reduction is dramatic in NOx even without altering the ignition timing but fuel economy improvements of 10-20% are possible with proper ignition timing for the altered mix especially at higher rpm. Modern cars have computer chips that control the ignition timing unlike the old vacuum advance systems so it’s easy enough to do by altering the programming in the engine computer. The injection system programming probably needs some tweaking too as the O2 sensor is going to get confused by the altered fuel. The small amount of HHO creates a higher velocity burn so that ignition can begin closer to top dead center and still proceed all the way through the combustion chamber by the bottom of the stroke. You can do the same thing with other fuel additives (nitro methane for instance – think nitro fueled dragsters) but those additives are very expensive and make emissions much worse instead of much better.

    There’s no violation of thermodynamics going on. It’s basically just an inexpensive way to get a cleaner, faster burning fuel. I would guess the major expense is in the electrodes which have to be something exotic to resist corrosion over thousands of hours of operation. The price they’re charging is more a matter of what the market will bear rather than what the cost of production is. If it has a lifetime of 10,000 hours and saves $1/hour in fuel costs then paying $7000 for it is a good deal provided you drive enough to amortize the expense in a few years or less. Then there’s always the limosine liberals to whom it’s worth the cost just for ecological bragging rights.

  10. 10
    bFast says:

    Didn’t mythbusters test this out? Didn’t they find that there was no efficiency advanatage to adding a small amount of HHO into the intake?

    Davescot, if you think that there’s really something here, please check out the next X prize. All you need to do is win the “green car” prize, and walk away with your ten million. If I recall, all you need to achieve is 100 mpg.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    bFast says:

    iPod, this is an interesting experiment. It seems clear that radio waves, which is what he’s bombarding the water with, can separate the salt water into hydrogen and oxygen. What has not been demonstrated is that the output is greater than the radio-frequency energy put in. As such would be quite a breakthrough, if it had been confirmed, we would have heard. Unless of course the oil companies got there first and made this marvel go away like all of the others. Are you familiar with the pogue carburater? It too can win the green car X prize in a stock ’65 Ford Mustang.

  13. 13
    idnet.com.au says:

    I think this story may be pounced upon by those who say we ID supporters are silly.

    It is clear that whatever his system runs on, it is not water. It runs on electricity. He may have a very efficient and quick way to hydrolyse water, and then use the H2 and O2, and that is good, but that is the most that this is about.

    The increased energy efficiency in his welder can only come if it is energy inefficient to manufacture, transport, store and use acetylene.

  14. 14
    idnet.com.au says:

    Money talks louder than words.

    From another source, ZYNG Energy “has a market capitalization of $11,000. The stock dropped .001 cents today to close at .006 cents. Yes that’s right the stock is worth less than one cents a share and falling. On October 19, 2007 it hit a peak at $2.00 a share. I guess announcements about future unveilings of super duper hydrogen splitting technology just weren’t enough to inspire the stock market.”

  15. 15
    SCheesman says:

    DLH:

    Sounds like electricity from the grid to charge batteries to electrolyze water to gases which he then combusts.

    Even then, it wouldn’t be as efficient as simply using the batteries to power electrical motors directly on the props. Less weight, better efficiency. Very large machinery (open-pit dump trucks, earth movers) uses diesel engines to power electrical generators, and the electricity drives electric motors on individual wheels. If there was a more efficient way, they’d use it. Any process inserting electrolysis/recombination in the cycle to produce higher efficiency is a perpetual motion machine.

  16. 16
    SCheesman says:

    I want to clarify, as well, that I think the “unbelievable” part of this is not the “HHO” part (which is pretty cool), but the idea that somehow you can simply use water as fuel, and it will solve our dependence on fossil fuels. Coal and oil will not soon be replaced by wind, water, sunlight or nuclear in order to generate the original electricity. And though he might have “used” just 4 oz of water on his drive, the water was NOT the original source of energy for the drive.

  17. 17
    JGuy says:

    SCheesman et.al.

    This discussion is way off of the ID talks. But it iis interesting to me. From my understanding, fuel burn efficiency is a critical aspect of aoverall efficiency. While, I think aerodynamics is the most critical

    About fuel burn efficiency. I understnad that how well atomized the fuel is in the combustion chamber/piston is very critical. Droplets of fuel in the fuel/air mix would be less efficient than a purely atomized fuel/air mix.

    Question: What do you think about the prospect to use the exhaust heat to boil the fuel (e.g. gasoline) into a gas to then be mixed with air..then injected in that stated into the combustion chamber? Wouldn’t this be a near perfect means to create the fuel/air mix?

    Jsut somethign I ahve thought about before, but never really researched.

    BTW: Are you sure that, given batteries, that an using electic motor would be more efficient than electrolysis and using that to create a combustible HHO mix? My understnading ts that electric motors are not that efficent..let’s say 75% hypothetically speaking. And if combustion engines with near perfect fuel air mix, as HHO might be close to (ie. neither H2 nor O2 mlecules will signiciantly cluster liek droplets), were to 85% efficienct… then electric to electrolysis (assuming electrolysis is 97% efficient) to combustion would be better than electic motors.
    Granted, these are all hypothetical.. but I am saying this becasue I think ti is intuitive to think going straight to electric motor is more efficent.. but I do not think intuition should be relied upon. So, what is the actual efficiency? And remember, we have to use the supposed patented method for electrolysis.

    These are fun discussion. But hope it does nto take away from the ID talks to much.

  18. 18
    JGuy says:

    In general, regarding the hypothetical over unity energy machines. I think it is not neccessarily impossible (practically speaking!). That is, in a practical sense of the matter. For example, suppose that we could tap into the ZPE. One might argue that that the ZPE energy is then beign depleted, and therefore whatever machine you use to tap it is not actually over unity. Maybe so.. but from a PRACTICAL sense, it woudl be limitless energy. Perhasp, a mechanism could be devised to tap into that energy.. if so, it might as well be called over unity… even though it would not technically be so.

    Solar enregy might be one of those that is in the middle.. it is effectively limitless..just not the most efficient energy source…. yet.

    =P

  19. 19
    JGuy says:

    Interesting thought:

    Almost ALL of the energy we can harnass comes from the sun. Other enregy comes from the planetary movement. All energy that is, except perhaps, for nuclear energy.

    Solar electric
    Solar thermal
    Fossil Fuel (oil, coal, shale etc..)
    Biologic sources (burning wood, ethanol etc..)
    Wind (driven by the sun)
    Ocean movements (driven by earth & sun)
    Rivers (snow melting off moutnains)
    Geo thermal (eath movements)
    ..others?

  20. 20
    JGuy says:

    Maybe, a solution to any energy “crisis” is to build a pipe to the stratosphere to siphon off the H2 & O2 that’s formed out of water there by the sun. =D

  21. 21
    DaveScot says:

    bFast

    re; mythbusters

    http://kwc.org/mythbusters/200.....users.html

    I don’t know what they tested but it wasn’t HHO as a fuel additive. A normal alternator can’t supply enough electricity to electrolyze water fast enough to provide all the fuel.

    re; practicality of HHO torch

    Do you own and use an oxy-acetylene torch? I do. I’d love to have a water torch. Hotter flame, no tanks to mess around with, and I wouldn’t have to drive 30 miles to get my tanks refilled. It doesn’t seem like it would work too well for cutting steel though which is mostly what I use mine for. To get a clean cut you bring a tiny bit of the steel up to white hot with an oxy-acetylene flame then press a lever on the cutting torch which puts a higher pressure jet of pure oxygen down the middle of the flame. In pure oxygen the steel burns and burns fast. Moving the torch along the path to be cut keeps the burn going at the leading edge while hardly heating the rest of it leaving a narrow clean cut about an eighth of an inch wide. The trick is having a slow steady hand with the torch – too fast and the burn stops, too slow and molten steel from the sides pools in and fuses back together. I don’t think the Klein torch separates the oxygen & hydrogen but it looks like it would be great for welding as the flame temperature is (if not the 10,000 claimed by Klein) up to 4000. I also have a MiG (metal in gas) wire welder. I didn’t read up on it but if you could weld aluminum in an HHO flame that would be really handy.

    SCheesman

    Klein used 4 ounces of water in 100 miles because it was only an additive not the sole source of fuel.

  22. 22
    DaveScot says:

    The saltwater burning via RF is interesting. This isn’t about perpetual motion or getting something for nothing. It’s about hydrogen/oxygen as clean high efficiency fuel for internal combustion engines. The benefits should go without saying for anyone who’s done much reading on the subject. The problems with a so-called hydrogen fuel economy is that hydrogen is difficult to handle. Cryogenic or high pressure tanks in the vehicle that you refill at a gas station are impractically dangerous. If a gasoline tank ruptures in an accident you get a fire. If a hydrogen tank ruptures you get an explosion. Cryogenic storage requires a bleed system to vent hydrogen gas which is an inevitable result of imperfect insulation. Lots of other means of storing hydrogen have been looked at – dry chemical storage is one possibility but the storage density, speed of recovery, and speed of recharge of anything tried so far leaves a lot to be desired. If water could be electrolyzed efficiently enough without hideously expensive electrodes that would do the trick. One of the great benefits in using HHO as a fuel is you can inexpensively convert existing internal combustion engines to run on it.

    The racing boat guy claimed that using a high frequency current source with a certain wave shape attached to conventional high surface area electrodes immersed in an electrolytic solution resulted in high efficiency electrolysis – greater gas generation in a smaller , lighter electrolytic cell. Not more energy in than out just closer to a 100% conversion of energy in to energy out and in a smaller space. His apparatus still used conventional electrodes. The neat thing about the “saltwater burning” (thanks Gods Ipod) is there are no electrodes at all! I’ll do a little digging to see how efficient it is and how expensive the RF generator needs to be.

  23. 23
    DaveScot says:

    I found the claim of energy efficiency in the “saltwater burning” at 76% supported by a University of Pennsylvania test. Since then Kanzias claimed to go over 100% and stifled himself in order to pursue patent opportunities. Over 100% of course means a non-chemical process like cold-fusion. Don’t forget e=mc2. If mass is being converted to energy then all bets are off. I’m quite skeptical that any conversion of mass to energy is happening but keeping your mind open to a small enough degree that your brain doesn’t fall out isn’t a bad idea. Hypotheses have to make sense – observations don’t.

    At any rate while investigating Kanzias’ claims I rediscovered the boat racing dude in Florida – Bob Boyce.

    http://peswiki.com/index.php/O.....yzer_Plans

    Evidently the key in all this, including Klein’s torch, is combustion of monatomic hydrogen and oxygen (Browns Gas). Browns Gas can’t be stored for long before the atomic hydrogen (H) and oxygen (o) combines into diatomic forms (H2 and O2) which burns into water with only 25% the energy release of burning monatomic forms. So the only way to utilize the more energetic combustion is to generate the gases on demand and burn them as quickly as possible.

    A commonality linking Kanzias to Boyce is they’re both NOT using direct current to perform the electrolysis but rather using shaped waves to deliver the energy. Klein’s device is using direct current. It appears there might be some substance to using something other than direct current to more efficiently produce Browns Gas.

  24. 24
    DaveScot says:

    The following

    http://pesn.com/2007/09/29/950.....ans/d9.pdf

    explained to me why boat racing is an easier application. There’s a substantial throttle delay in HHO generation. In a boat, especially for straight line acceleration (drag racing), you pour on a lot of power from a standing start. At worst this results in some cavitation at the prop tips which diminishes as the pitch of the prop starts to match the velocity of the boat. That’s for an open prop. Personally, I have a twin engine jet boat where the props are enclosed and are called impellers not props. Cavitation is not a problem. I can go to full throttle from a standing start and boat almost literally leaps out of the water onto plane. At 270hp and 1600# dry weight I get acceleration of 0-60 in under 10 seconds which for a watercraft is amazing and because I don’t have anything hanging below the hull there are some amazing maneuvers made possible like doing a 360 without leaving plane. The downside is that impellers aren’t as efficient as a prop at the prop’s designed cruise speed so the boat is a real fuel hog – 28 gallons per hour at wide open throttle which is approximately 65 miles per hour). They’re two-stroke engines (Yamaha 1200cc Waverunner jet motors) which doesn’t help fuel economy but at that power-to-weight ratio with the right prop instead an impeller I could be topping out at 80mph instead of 65. The difference is that the impeller doesn’t get much benefit from the speed of the boat over the water as the water flow through the jet pump isn’t straight – it has to be sucked upward through a horizontal grate in the bottom of the hull before meeting the impeller blades. The speed of the water coming out of the jet is much greater than the velocity of the boat – propulsion is purely a matter of thrust. When an open propeller gets a boat to best cruise speed the speed of the water behind the prop is the same as the speed of the boat. It makes a clean slice through the water like a corkscrew going into a wine cork without breaking the cork whereas an impeller would shred the cork as it moved through it.

  25. 25
    DaveScot says:

    Starting at page 12 of this

    http://pesn.com/2007/09/29/950.....ans/d9.pdf

    it’s mentioned that a better implementation of the HHO fuel cell is in a gas/electric hyrid where the HHO is used to fuel the gas engine (which runs at a constant RPM) which recharge the batteries. Motive force is through electric motors and high demand situations (like sudden acceleration) are obtained directly from the batteries. However, this must anticipate a greater than 100% efficiency of using electricity to generate HHO otherwise you’d just skip the internal combustion motor altogether! Claims of greater than 100% conversion efficiency is where the skepticism really sets in and it starts to look like claims of cold fusion. The laws of chemistry as I understand them would seem to put a theoretical limit of something less than 100%. Greater than that requires something more than than chemistry is going on. It’s not impossible but it’s certainly something to take with a grain of salt until you see it with your own eyes.

  26. 26
    Frost122585 says:

    Davescott, how about getting an Easter related post up here. Easter is possibly the most important day in the history of man. It is the day that gave birth to the Christianity- where death was defeated by eternal life.

  27. 27
    Liberatus says:

    This reminds me of the guy who used a microwave to heat up the water circuit of his home heating system back in the 80s. He believed he was saving energy since he had heard the microwave was an energy-saving cooking device.

  28. 28
    bFast says:

    DaveScot:

    The laws of chemistry as I understand them would seem to put a theoretical limit of something less than 100%. Greater than that requires something more than than chemistry is going on. It’s not impossible but it’s certainly something to take with a grain of salt until you see it with your own eyes.

    see http://www.windsorsalt.com/agr.....ified.html

  29. 29
    JurusticPark says:

    Dave Scot
    Really off topic but I have no other way of contacting you.

    You do cutting with acetylene. I do a ton of cutting also although with plasma or propane. I’m always looking for a better/cheaper way to cut, heat, braze and the information below may be a hydrogen way.
    There is a Russian torch that uses water as the fuel (with electricity of course). It has been used mostly in other countries but a new version is coming out very soon and there will be a push in the US. You can see a demo at http://www.enviplaz.com/envipl.....iplaz.html . This old one can be seen at the enviplaz website or at the http://www.multiplaz.com

    This must be some kind of hydrogen device although this claim isn’t made.

  30. 30

    […] http://www.uncommondescent.com.....r-power/As I recall the invention worked by using high frequency pulse width modulated electric current to perform the electrolysis with specially designed anodes and cathodes. Throttling was accomplished by varying the pulse width. … […]

  31. 31
    dennis grey says:

    JGuy,

    “In general, regarding the hypothetical over unity energy machines. I think it is not neccessarily impossible (practically speaking!). That is, in a practical sense of the matter. For example, suppose that we could tap into the ZPE. One might argue that that the ZPE energy is then beign depleted, and therefore whatever machine you use to tap it is not actually over unity. Maybe so.. but from a PRACTICAL sense, it woudl be limitless energy. Perhasp, a mechanism could be devised to tap into that energy.. if so, it might as well be called over unity… even though it would not technically be so.”

    JGuy, this is just so much balderdash. Energy is that(don’t ask me to identify what ‘that’ is) substance of the universe that is capable of doing work. In order to do work energy has to ‘flow’ from a higher quality energy source(reservoir) to a lower quality sink(eg., water falling down a cliff), or, if you prefer, from greater concentration energy to lower concentration energy, but I don’t actually like that description. The zero point energy is already at the bottom of all possible quality levels. There is no where else for the energy to ‘flow’ to. The zpe cannot be tapped not just theoretically but practically as well, as if there was an actual difference between the two. Perhaps you should go back to just watching Stargate(a show very dear to my old heart nonetheless), and not commenting on it.

    sincerely,
    d. grey

  32. 32
    dennis grey says:

    Dave Scot,

    At first I took your post to be indicating that the powerboat is really running on straight hydrogen, and therefore an energy losing proposition, but when you clarified it later to mean that the hydrogen was merely an additive to improve burn characteristics I understood. I would add that perhaps, despite your statement about the danger of tanks, cryo or otherwise, you could get more out of the situation by cracking simple H2 rather than cracking H20. This is because the cracking energy is coming from the engine, as you point out, and the H2O molecule is at a lower energy level than the H2 molecule, hence the reason H2 burns. This would reduce the (albeit already small) drain on the engine for the cracking energy. Having a simple pressurized bottle of H2 on board would certainly increase the danger but powerboating racing is already pretty dangerous. How much more could a steel bottle of H2 really represent?

    The other thing I thought about this was that the souping up of engines has a long and honorable history. If simply adding H to the engine can accomplish so much I am astonished that it has not been tried already. Especially in the hotbed of engine development that was WWII. If you could do it to make a fighter go faster than it was tried, the two most common being methanol/water and nitrous. I can imagine that the people here:
    http://www.airrace.org/indexJS.php

    would be terribly interested in testing this. Many of them don’t even bother with gasoline anymore, simply pouring straight alcohol into their tanks now. For a race, aero or marine, the short nature of the burn would mean the tank of H2 would not be disadvantaged over some complex machinery.

    your humble,
    d. grey

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