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Some simple truths about hydrogen and HHO

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by tcmtech, Apr 24, 2009.

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  1. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I thought I would post a few things that may seem rather interesting about hydrogen and HHO gas . The real truths, not the enviro - overunity nutter versions.

    These are some pictures of my actual hydrogen gas torch.
    Any how you can get one too!:)

    All it is is a standard oxygen / propane torch set up. The fuel regulators are standard off the shelf gas regulators with the acetylene/propane/natural gas compatible diaphragms. The hose is a standard type T multi fuel oxy/fuel hose.

    The torch nozzle is a standard oxy/propane cutting torch type. But a oxy/Acetylene nozzle works with hydrogen as well.
    As you can see the hydrogen tank is from praxair distribution. That means anyone can go in and rent one too! Its about $28 a year for the lease on the tank and around $25 - $30 for a refill exchange.

    However as you can see in the pictures the hydrogen tank is at around 1800 PSI, (full is 2000 - 2400 typically) so it needs a high pressure regulator to bring it down to a safe level that a torch system uses. I just have the high pressure regulator output set up with a standard propane coupler so it can be used with the torch set without any regulator change over.

    Using hydrogen for a cutting torch is super! You do not need the oxygen gas mix turned on for the preheat flame. The flame itself doesn't heat up metal to the glowing point, yet when you pull the cutting trigger you get a super hot jet right down the center of the torch flame and that starts cutting within seconds. ;)
    Plus even without the oxygen mix going to the preheat flame it is incredible difficult to blow out! propane and acetylene running at strait fuel only can be blown out with a good breath. Hydrogen wont do that!
    So as you may guess that means very little fuel is needed to keep the torch going and no oxygen from your tank is even being used unless your actually cutting. ;)

    Every picture has a hydrogen flame in it but the one is what you would normally see in day light, nearly Nothing!
    Also those pictures with my own hand in them are with my skin under 1/2 inch way from the flame and I can assure you that until you actually touch it there is almost no heat radiating from it! ;)
    And when you do touch it its feels hot and moist, more like a steam jet. It will burn you within a second or two but its not anywhere near the intensity of a regular cutting torch flame.
    An actual acetylene or propane flame at that distance is very hot and will take the skin right off if I touched it for the same length of time that I can be in contact with hydrogen flame. ;)

    I just though you'd like to see some truthful uses and actual pictures of hydrogen in a real life application.

    And yes I do actually run small lawn and garden engines off of hydrogen and oxygen too! (The real life HHO comes from a pair of tanks) And no, they do not put out more power that what goes into them! :D

    In fact without some fair engine modifications they cant even put out as much power as when running on standard gasoline! :(

    But double the compression, change the ignition timing curves, and get a bigger and more aggressive cam profile, and Wow! They can blow themselves apart with the actual power they then can produce!
    that is, they can split the cast aluminum heads, crack pistons, and crush their own connecting rods! :eek:
    So it your going to try running the real HHO gas, beef up your engine first or it will be a big disappointment power wise and an expensive rebuild if you don't do it right! ;)

    I hope this helps inspire and enlighten some of you! :)
     

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  2. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

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    Nice! :)

    Have you tried welding with H and a welding torch? I haven't tried it myself but the gossip is that you can weld dirty metals, even oxidised aluminium etc with little problems.
     
  3. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    It does seem to work rather well for what little welding I have done with it.
    But no I have not actually used it for any serious gas welding.
    Hydrogen gas has some very weird characteristics as far as its heating ability goes!
    Clean or dirty it does not seem to be to fussy about it!
    On very rusty and dirty steel it appears like it almost reverts the rust back to clean iron again! Or else its burning it off in a way I am not that familiar with.

    Having a background in welding I am not that trusting of seeing whats considered contamination just disappear into a weld. Welder logic just keeps me thinking its making the weld weaker. But could be wrong too!

    I have not tried aluminum with it yet. I think that will be on tonights things to do list!
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I know this is a electronics forum but being hydrogen and its production are electrically related would anyone be interested in seeing an actual hydrogen powered home built gen set?
    With the fuel system hooked up and running?

    It uses a stock 3.5 hp Briggs and Straton engine and a 1500 watt generator head.
    I have used this for the actual hydrogen testing.
    I have a modified gasoline carburetor on it that I reworked for vapor fuels.
    What I have done for the power testing is to put a 1500 watt heater on it for a load and just put the throttle up to full open. With gasoline it can pull just over 1800 watts output.
    Amps * volts heater load measurement method.

    On hydrogen and being this is an unmodified engine it can hardly top 1200 watts.

    If your interested I will hook it up and take some pictures in the next day or so.
     
  6. Endolith

    Endolith Member

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    Even saying the term "HHO" is nutter, though. There's no such thing as "HHO gas". You're either talking about hydrogen gas or oxyhydrogen gas (which is just pre-mixed hydrogen and oxygen in a 2:1 ratio). "HHO gas" is claimed to be entirely different from normal matter, comprised of "magnecules" and other nonsense.

    The cutting trigger turns on the oxygen, but otherwise it just burns with hydrogen in the atmosphere? Hmm.... The reason Brown pre-mixed the O2 and H2 in a 2:1 ratio is because excess H2 will make metal brittle, and excess O2 will oxidize it. Also, oxyhydrogen burns at a higher temperature than plain hydrogen in air, and doesn't produce as much NOx, if I remember correctly.

    I wonder what the explanation for this is.
     
  7. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I typically use propane for the torch cutting purposes. Hydrogen does make a fair fuel for cutting purposes but its ultimately fairly expensive on a cost per cut basis.

    And yes I find the elusive HHO gas to be an actual misrepresentation of common chemistry terminology. Water is technically hydrogen hydroxide HOH, not actually H2O! Some where along the way somebody rewrote it as HHO and it stuck with the alternative fuels people that do not have much or any chemistry background.

    Brown did some great work and good research but unfortunately he, like Tesla, got a poor following and much of his work is rather misrepresented or not accurately referenced to as to what he was really doing.

    Under stoichiometric combustion water vapor and heat is supposed to be the only real by product of hydrogen combustion under normal conditions. But in reality any combustion with out a clean oxygen source will produce some trace NOx. Being hydrogen has an actually fairly low combustion temperature it is less prone to producing NOx byproducts.


    I am not sure of the reasons for why it has so little radiated heat. And as its been explained to me the nearly clear flame is from not having any impurities to color it.
    As I tried to show in the pictures an open hydrogen only flame has a pale violet color. And even though I did it at night with a most of my shop lights off and I still needed a background to get it to show up on camera. If the flash went off all you would get is whats in the one picture. nearly nothing, but some trace heat wave distortion when viewing something behind it.
    In day light that color is invisible to the naked eye. All you see is the heat waves and even then a background is often needed for that to catch your attention if your not careful.
    Even when being burned with pure oxygen that pail blue/white flame is still rather hard to see in the day time. The hiss from the burning torch is the most obvious indicator its actually working!

    Having worked with it enough I have learned to be very careful in bright conditions. I have taken the hair off my hands and arms a few times from misdirecting an open flame.

    If anyone has a good chemistry background and can further explain any of this and help dispel some more hydrogen myths please do so!

    I am trying to not come off as hydrogen crack pot but rather as someone that does have hands on knowledge and experience but still does not have the full and accurate facts to work with.
     
  8. blueroomelectronics

    blueroomelectronics Well-Known Member

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  9. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Ah... I think I am safe?
    I do run engines on hydrogen and I know it works.
    I know my hydrogen & oxygen come from commercial dealers in tanks.
    I know they make most of both gasses from electrolysis of water.
    I know the energy required Vs the efficiency of electrolysis plus the efficiency of an internal combustion engine equals about 10% return on the power initially used Vs the usable power returned as mechanical work by the engine.

    So am I safely not a HHO nut? :D
    But rather just a real honest experimenter using tested and valid reasoning? :p

    I do like those websites!
    But why do so many have disproof of concept video that does not work?
    At least the nuts provide a doctored or fake device and video for proof of concept!

    If I was not so rational I would think the dis provers were the fakers by their lack of disproving evidence! :eek: :D
    Almost make you wonder doesn't it.:p:D:)
     
  10. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    No one has ever suggested you can't run an engine on hydrogen, and as for your lower efficiency figures you need to bear in mind the engine was optimised to run on petrol, so won't run anywhere near as well on hydrogen.

    Be interesting to see what type of efficiency could be reached by an engine designed and optimised for hydrogen?.

    Only problem is, where does the hydrogen come from?.
     
  11. Jules_Theone

    Jules_Theone Member

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    I have an idea where the hydrogen can come from: Power stations generate electricity at a certain capacity, but most of the time it's not all being used (not very efficient). It's really hard to store that excess energy in batteries etc, so why not use the surplus to generate hydrogen? They could vary the production of hydrogen to make less when the electricity is being used else where.

    One question though, is hydrogen too dangerous / high pressure to pump around like natural gas is?
     
  12. ericgibbs

    ericgibbs Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    hi Jules,
    You have to consider that a power station is only a small part of the National Grid, which is centrally controlled.
    Power stations are called into action as demand rises and are not generating when in standby.

    In situations where its possible, the 'excess' power is used to pump water into high level holding dams, the water is then released thru water turbine generators giving a very fast turn on response.

    So, taking the Grid as a whole, its very efficient.:)
     
  13. dknguyen

    dknguyen Well-Known Member

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    I am pretty sure that just running the generator at lower load with lower efficiency is much more efficient (and cheaper) than running the generator at optimal efficiency using surplus power to generate a hydrogen energy carrier to only then be converted back into electrical energy. You are introducing two extra stages of energy conversion if you do so losing a lot of efficiency along the way. In order to see any benefits, the generator's efficiency would have to drop off pretty damn rapidly as the load decreased.

    Are you sure about that? I heard it takes too long to start up the generators (like at night) so they just leave them running.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  14. ericgibbs

    ericgibbs Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    As I understand it, they are running in standy, they dont stop them.:)
     
  15. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    It's a more dangerous and less efficient method of storing energy, as others have mentioned they simply use the spare electricity to pump water, so as to generate hydroelectric power from it during peak demands.
     
  16. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Perhaps so, but that still wastes a huge amount of energy.
     
  17. ericgibbs

    ericgibbs Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    But is it more wasteful than producing hydrogen by running the generators on load... ?
     
  18. Jules_Theone

    Jules_Theone Member

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    I was thinking ahead - when petrol / gas supplies run out, and we are supposed to be driving electric or hydrogen powered cars by then, where is the extra electricity going to come from or the hydrogen generation going to come from? Also, in Britain there is supposed to be an energy shortfall where there aren't enough power stations / infrastructure to support the growing population and they can't build them fast enough. I don't think we are going to be able to curb the mass-breeding so we need an alternative or improvement to the power generation and the capacity to do generate electricity and hydrogen.

    Do you think that using hydrogen cars is better than electric cars when the fossil fuels run out?
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  19. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Producing hydrogen was never a good idea, pumping water up to lakes is simple and reliable.
     
  20. ericgibbs

    ericgibbs Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I agree.:)

    One point that 'bothers' me, if we all go to hydrogen powered cars and electricity is used to electrolyse water, whats going to be done with all the released oxygen.:confused:
     
  21. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Perhaps we might breath it? :D

    Or, more practically, it will recombine with the hydrogen when you burn it.
     
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