I've put together a list of some of the most common arguments against HHO and Hydrogen on Demand and how to defend the technology against them. A=argument R=rebuttal
A. "It doesn't work. It has never been proven to increase economy or decrease emissions by anyone..."
R. Incorrect! The concept was proven to work in a laboratory environment, and documented by the US Dept. of Transportation in a publication called "Use of Hydrogen in Commercial Vehicles". Reduction in fuel use and emissions was below 8% in the lab test, and it was performed on a diesel engine, but it is proof that the concept of using vehicle power to produce hydroxy and inject it for a net thermodynamic gain is viable.
A. "It violates the laws of thermodynamics/physics. You cannot get more energy out of a system then you put into it. It takes energy from the alternator and horsepower from the car to make the HHO, and you'll never recover all the energy used to make the HHO by burning it in your engine. The system creates a net loss of energy and there's no gains."
R. That argument is absolutely correct when applied to burning the HHO as fuel in the engine, and this is why we don't have cars literally running on water, or even partial water cars yet. However, HHO injection systems are not using the HHO for fuel but rather an enabler for a more thorough extraction of the energy content already contained in the gasoline or diesel, hence better combustion. It does this by interaction with the fuel chemically in the thermal catalytic cracking process within the engine, increasing the volume of extractable fuel, burn rate, flame propagation within the combustion chamber, and intensity of the burn. A net gain in energy is created from recovered thermodynamic losses while using the system properly. The article listed in the previous rebuttal is the proof that what I write is true.
A. "Our modern cars are already (insert really high percentage here) efficient today, so there's no room for improving combustion because the engine is already designed to burn the gasoline as good as it can be burned."
R. Studies have shown the average fuel economy of a vehicle has changed very little, and in some cases has gone down for the last 30 years, yet technology has emerged that allows advances in fuel economy never before possible. The technology simply is not being implemented. To summarize in the most simple way, gasoline does not fully burn unless it is completely vaporized. Fuel injection systems inject fuel droplets, not vapors. Though droplets are a fine mist that resembles a vapor, it is still liquid fuel. Phase changing the fuel completely from a liquid to a vapor is a relatively easy thing to do, yet the industry circumvents the technologies to do exactly that. The catalytic converter on vehicles would not be needed today if we were burning our fuel as efficient as you say. It is likely you are referring to the efficiency at which both the engine AND the catalytic converter combined can completely burn the gasoline.
A. "If it's so great, how come auto manufacturers haven't done it and aren't starting to do it? Why hasn't it been in the news and highly publicized? Where are the independently confirmed tests?"
R. Auto manufacturers have likely not used HHO technology for the same reasons they have not used many other new technologies in 30 years to phase change the fuel from liquid to vapor, and burn it more completely without pollution. Let's say they built an engine that really was (insert high percentage here) efficient at converting gasoline to kinetic energy. Such high efficiency would present much less carbon deposits, sludge in the engine, and pollution out of the exhaust. If there was no sludge and carbon buildup in the engine, it is likely the engine would last a very long time and maintain like new performance. Much longer than 150k to 200k we are used to.
There would almost be no need to change the oil either, because the oil would not get dirty due to the lack of bi-products of the combustion. With little need for oil changes and engine replacements/repair/maintenance entire industries would be practically wiped out. It's likely you wouldn't feel the need to purchase a new car for quite a long time too. The auto industry would ultimately kill itself, and the economy. This is likely why we, the public, are spoon-fed better fuel economy in small steps rather then having GM and Ford roll out a 100MPG car for us to buy. This is likely also the reason we (in the US) are banned from having certain high mileage vehicles, particularly the 50+ MPG diesels that other countries are allowed to have.
HHO has been publicized in the news for both positive and negative publicity on a small scale. It is likely not covered more often because it has not become a mainstream technology. It has not become a mainstream technology because of the reasons mentioned above and below.
Some people claim to have independently confirmed tests confirming performance of HHO injection systems, but no large, well-known organization has taken the initiative to do extensive real-world testing publicly. This is likely because it's not a mainstream technology. It's not a mainstream technology because it's not being tested and confirmed, and because the auto manufacturers are not yet using it in production models. As you can see, the whole thing is a catch-22.
A. "If HHO worked, you would be able to install your device, switch it on and measure better MPG and then switch it off and have the mileage revert back to normal."
R. Some people have reportedly done just that, but in reality most of the time there is no way this could occur because of the way the emissions system is engineered on today's modern cars. An increase in combustion efficiency from ANY device (not just HHO) results in less pollution in the exhaust. Less pollution in the exhaust equates to more oxygen content. More oxygen content is detected by the oxygen sensor in the exhaust stream. Oxygen is not allowed to increase by a large amount because of the programming within the ECU (computer), as this would signify a lean burn condition, leaner than the factory tuned AFR (air to fuel ratio) the vehicle is tuned for. The computer adds fuel until the factory set parameters for oxygen content are met. A small increase in economy is usually seen as the computer takes time to adjust to the increased oxygen content of the exhaust. The increase will dissipate after factory parameters for oxygen content (or lack thereof) are fulfilled by increased fuel consumption.
A. "HHO has been tested by Mythbusters, Dateline NBC, Popular Mechanics, and countless other people, and been proven not to work."
R. That is absolutely correct. It has been proven not to work the way THEY implemented it. Just because someone tests a product and publicizes it does not mean that they are an expert on the technology. Has any of those people done extensive testing in the 100% correct manner? How do we know for sure that they did? The Mythbusters episode clearly showed they made big mistakes. Their unit produced negligible amounts of gas. Their electrodes in their electrolyzer appeared to be shorted electrically. They did not appear to put any electrolyte in the water. Dateline NBC did one test, on one car, with one system, one mechanic, and one EPA lab. Their testing is faulty out of the gate because there were so many possible variables that could effect the outcome of the testing. Did the system fail? Did the mechanic tune it right? Was the car in proper tune for the HOD system when it returned to the EPA lab to be tested again? Did the EPA lab test the system appropriately? Were the modifications tampered with before the test? Having a test with several systems, vehicles, mechanics, and labs would have been acceptable testing. Popular Mechanics editor Mike Allen has clearly stated that he does no adjustment of the ECU's sensor readings during his testing. This is NOT the correct method to test the system, for the reasons described in the previous rebuttal above. I have yet to see anyone do a 100% correct test of an HHO system.
A. "You're not producing nearly enough HHO on demand to make any considerable difference in the combustion process."
R. That would be true if we were trying to use the HHO as a fuel, but that does not apply to the method we are employing to increase the energy yield of the on-board gasoline fuel. To fully understand you must break down a single combustion cycle which lasts a few milliseconds into a step by step analysis of what is actually happening in the combustion chamber. Even my attempts to summarize this in writing will not begin to touch on the complexity of what is actually happening on the molecular level. "Thermal Catalytic Cracking" is the name of this process, which transforms our liquid gasoline into kinetic energy at the wheels.
Gasoline is an incredibly complex chemical comprised of long chains of bonded molecules. A small sampling of these molecules that are bonded together to make gasoline include Methane, Ethane, Propane, Butane, Hexane, and Octane. The process begins as endothermic, requiring heat to start the phase change of the liquid droplets into the burnable vapors that we want. The fuel droplets are injected into the chamber and the spark goes off, providing the energy needed to fracture some of bonds within the gasoline molecules. When the bonds of these molecules are fractured we end up with smaller molecules, many of which are "radicals". That is- they are unstable atomically and want to bond to other molecules to obtain stability.
Often, the only thing that stands in the way from some of these molecules stabilizing into useful fuel instead of becoming wasted, non-combustible pollution is a hydrogen atom, oxygen atom, or a few of both. If we inject an amount of "surplus" monatomic hydrogen and oxygen into the combustion chamber at the precise moment the thermal catalytic cracking is occurring, it stands to reason that more of these molecular radicals will stabilize themselves and become usable fuel. If we recover even a small percentage of those molecules in a millisecond with the process, and continue to do the same for the duration we run the engine, we will recover a large amount of usable thermodynamic energy over time. Even a small amount of HHO can do this at the molecular level. This is what we are doing with an HHO/Hydrogen on demand system. We are effectively "raising the octane level" of the gasoline.
Obviously if the gasoline we already have is being made more "burnable" by being processed this way, it stands to reason that we will not require nearly the same amount of fuel droplets injected into the chamber in the first place to get the same performance and power from the engine. This is why most every HHO system includes the use of a method to reduce the flow of fuel into the engine, or a "leaning" method. Leading me to my next rebuttal....
A."It's not the HHO that's giving people gains in fuel economy, it's the EFIEs, MAP enhancers, and various other computer fooling techniques that are causing any gains, and leaning out the fuel is dangerous for the engine. You can burn through valves and pistons if you lean out the fuel mixture. You lose performance as well. "
R.You'll be surprised to see that I actually AGREE with the point that EFIEs, enhancers, and mods are the
reasons people are getting better economy. They are! People are leaning out the fuel trim of their vehicles and still claiming good performance with no problems when they run HHO, but HOW are they able to do that? You are also correct about a lean mixture burning through pistons and valves and damaging the engine. Loss of performance is common with lean mixtures too, and emissions actually go up, not down. However, many HHO users are reporting EGT (exhaust gas temperature) readings that are lower than stock or the same as stock at a much higher AFR. Performance stays the same or improves while emissions go down.
This would not be possible if something was not enabling these results to occur. What we are altering in the thermal catalytic cracking process allows us to do this, and how well we alter it determines how much we can "lean out" the fuel mixture but not suffer the usual symptoms of doing so. Lean burn engine testing was done in the 70's by NASA and is often touted as evidence that HHO works even though it was much different. While NASA used pure hydrogen for the testing and injected larger amounts, the primary principle remains the same for HHO users. We alter the T.C.C. process, which provides a larger ratio of combustible fuel to non-combustible fuel particulates. With monatomic oxygen and hydrogen, we intensify the conversion of chemical to kinetic energy in our usable fuel molecules and ensure it's done more completely as the flamespread propagates completely through the combustion chamber.
A."Leaning out of the fuel trims is not necessary. If HHO really worked it would work without having to do that."
R.To a certain point, many HHO experimenters are not "leaning out" the fuel trim at all. We are in essence, "creating a more powerful gasoline" that does not require the same quantity to be used. You must take into consideration that if you would only put an HHO device on your vehicle you would likely raise the oxygen level of the exhaust as better combustion begins to take place from this "more powerful gasoline" and pollution is reduced. This oxygen is detected in the exhaust and compensated for, by the ECU adding more fuel until the o2 sensor readings look as they were programmed to look for typical non-enhanced gasoline. The only way to see any MPG gains is to stop the ECU from "seeing" the added oxygen you are creating by doing things better, and the only way to do that is to alter the o2 sensor readings, or lessen the amount of fuel going in manually because the ECU would otherwise want to add fuel for no good reason. So, we are actually just trying to get the balance back where the ECU is content with it's readings and is not adding unnecessary fuel to the engine. We can also tune (based on personal preference) beyond that point and begin taking even more fuel away based on how well we are altering the thermal catalytic cracking process with our system.
A. "Using a catalytic cracking process to break down gasoline molecules is bogus theory, you end up with smaller molecules that contain less energy than the original long-chain gasoline molecules, so there's no benefit to be gained from the process."
R. This is the mainstream concensus that is perpetuated by highly educated combustion engineers and physicists all over the world. This probably is the primary core of why this technology is not fully understood and is easily dismissed. They are not taking into account how hydroxy gas is able to enhance and allow the process, which would not work otherwise. I will simplify my explanation by saying that our focus with an HOD system is to perform a better catalytic cracking of the fuel, and to expedite the burn of that fuel within the combustion chamber. It is true that the smaller cracked molecules yield less joule per mole potential energy than the potential of the original gasoline molecule, but the key word here is POTENTIAL. What is the biggest source of energy loss in internal combustion engines? Heat. When we refer to time in the combustion process, we're referring to tiny fractions of a second or milliseconds. A normal unmodified engine will take more time to extract the potential energy of the gasoline, because it's bonded molecules are more complex and take longer to break down to usable energy to slingshot the piston down the chamber. More time= more heat released to the cylinder walls, and more wasted energy not being utilized to push the piston down on the stroke. Now some of you are scratching your heads here because you equate heat with the explosion inside the chamber and assume that's what we want to happen. Sure. But it's really the expansion of the various gasses in the combustion chamber, not the explosion that pushes the piston down at the critical crank angle. By the time the explosion occurs the piston is usually out-running the flame front. Therefore it is advantageous to focus as much of the usable fuel's energy as early in the cycle as possible. When we exploit the power of an HOD system to improve the combustion process, the reformed molecules we've made are easier to "tap" for their BTU energy potential, and thus, faster to burn. Faster=less heat loss, more extracted energy. So even though they contain less joules per mole we are able to actually extract a higher percentage of the energy they do have and focus it to do useful work, to push down the piston. Keep in mind this shaves off a few fractions of a second, and a fraction of the heat that would've been lost otherwise. Your engine isn't going to run cold because of it, but once again over time those gains of energy in fractions of a second add up to recovered thermodynamic losses. This could also be why so many Hydroxy experimenters have reported a cooler running engine while using such a system. The monatomic hydrogen we are injecting is an accelerant to burn everything faster as well.