• Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

Some simple truths about hydrogen and HHO

Not open for further replies.


Most Helpful Member
Thread starter #41
great discussion so far! :)
I see some common myths still being argued though! :(

I thought I would bring up some things I had to learn myself, and this information is based on actual things I had to learn for a previous job as a welding supply center service tech. Most of the handling, crash,and leak information related to my getting certified to be a delivery truck driver. ( Has Mat stuff plus strict company rules)

The information I had to learn showed Hydrogen is actually very safe when compared to the common fuels we dont even think about and use every day.
It dissipates extremely rapidly. If you were to dump a 500 gallon container of liquid hydrogen on the ground, in less than 3 minutes you could throw a match at that spot and have nothing happen!
Dump 500 gallons of gasoline on the ground and you have to worry about a spark for days!
Plus as the lightest of all gases, it rises in the atmosphere at nearly 40 mph assuming the turbulence from its own rising does not dissipate it first! Its upward travel rate is even faster than air bubbles rising in a column of water! ;)

Trying to keep air and hydrogen mixed is like trying to keep air and water mixed. Every chance it gets it tries to rise and float away!
It’s hard to actually produce a natural combustion situation with it being able to dissipate so extremely fast!
Like air in water it will dissipate or get absorbed into the surrounding area but at a very low concentration. The majority of it tries to rise until it gets mixed with the air it’s in.
The actual effort it does take to keep it mixed with a contained air source makes it very hard to keep its air to fuel combustion ratios uniform. It wants to rise to the top of the container and that tends to disrupt the mix ratios.
As far as common dangerous gasses Acetylene, propane and natural gas are many many times more dangerous! That’s why they put the scenting agents in them! SO you can be aware if there is a buildup! :eek:

It is very hard to get a tank of hydrogen to spill. They are very well built! You wreck a hydrogen powered vehicle with a certified high pressure fuel tanks and I will guarantee the tanks full of hydrogen will be the last solid piece intact! ;)

Also in an unconfined leak and ignition situation hydrogen does not actually explode with great force. It sort of just puffs up and rises away quickly. The actual thermal energy is not all that great either. Think of a big steam cloud more or less. It’s has far lower heat and less violent expansion than propane or even gasoline vapor combustion when unconfined! ;)

Ever seen the myth busters’ episode where they try to shot a hole in a propane tank? It took a fair sized rifle to do it! And propane tanks are only rated at around 325 PSI venting pressure. The high pressure tanks are typically 3500 PSI or more at actual safety venting release pressures.

In my certification safety classes for work I had to watch several videos of the standard high pressure cylinders being placed in actual crash and abusive conditions. (It helps make new employees feel more confident and safer while handling and working around the high pressure tanks)
A truck load of high pressure cylinders (at working Pressures) was hit by a train on one video. (safety regulations test crash analysis) Two vented slightly out of something like 50 units. The rest survived and most were still certified as safe to use! ;)
The truck however looked like it went through a hammer mill shredder!

It’s why I am rather on the less concerned side when it comes to working around it. I still respect it but I don’t fear every interaction with it.

I am not trying to make hydrogen sound like it’s completely harmless by any means. I am just trying to get more people to realize that it is actually a fair amount safer that what we commonly use every day!

Lack of familiarity and proper knowledge is what most of the hydrogen horror myths are really about.

With some good honest on-line searching you can find all of this information too! :)
Well I worked in a refinery for almost 30 years with all the major combustible gases around. The thing we had the most problems with was Hydrogen. It's just so darn easily ignitable and it's small molecular size makes it hard to contain over time. We would have hugh sounding explosions (with little or no damage) from hydrogen accumulating in out of service stacks that sometimes would ignite just from ambient conditions, it was weird.

So I'm not an energy expert by any means but the bottom line as I've learned it is that hydrogen is not a energy source solution but rather a energy storage media. So while it's storage and burning advantages might be useful we first need real solutions for basic, high volume and cost effective energy sources. I'm a Nuc fan myself.

When I worked at a plating plant if there was any grease/oil buildup in the main plating tank the hydrogen would collect in a foam at the surface of the tank and migrate towards the corners/walls When an arc from the barrels being lifted up (300 amp disconnect) hit the bubbles the explosion was like a shotgun, and that's only with at most a cubic foot or two of hydrogen.

The saftey problems of hydrogen gas is not at ALL overstated. TCM you're coming from the perspective of the trucks carrying welding tanks high above the ground away from any compressive forces or shrapenel that would occur in a crash. Put that same cylinder (and it would have to be thinner and smaller to maintain weight requirements in a car) in a crash and it wouldn't last more than a few seconds =)

It is kind of a moot point though, it's already been completly ruled out storing hydrogen directly as a compressed gas for fuel cells (aside from maybe the space shuttle) There was another post here in an HHO thread from someone that mentioned it. It's chemically tied up in a stable matrix of some kind, you add a bit of heat and the Hydrogen pops out of the matrix as a gas to be used. No pressure storage that way.


New Member
This may be out of date but most hydrogen molecules were stripped from naphtha until ten years ago when I looked into it. What was done with the rest of the naphtha I do not know. Then again the man I was talking to may have been talking about when we were in high school together. He was the top man in our physics class. He ended up CFO for the Enron wind mill factory in Tehachapi CA. He got a real job after that for a CA raisin co.
I still don't quiet understand how hydrogen wins over something like bio-fuels though.
I don't think biofuels are viable in massive production as large amounts of land will need to be planted with 'seed' crops to make the fuel. The land can either be used to produce food (for the growing population) or for fuel, I think the keeping loads of people fed has higher priority.
So I'm not an energy expert by any means but the bottom line as I've learned it is that hydrogen is not a energy source solution but rather a energy storage media.
Yeah, that's true regardless of whether tanks of it are safe. All hydrogen does is move the pollution to a centralized power plant where it's easier to deal with. It actually produces more pollution overall, though, because of the inefficiencies of all the energy conversions.
Surely, a central power station generating electricity / hydrogen is more efficient than everyone driving around in cars with petrol burning generators in them, idling at traffic lights, internal conbustion engines not being very efficient anyway? The larger the generator, the more efficient it gets.

So ultimately, what is the most efficient energy storage medium?
Last edited:
Surely, a central power station generating electricity / hydrogen is more efficient than everyone driving around in cars with petrol burning generators in them, idling at traffic lights, internal conbustion engines not being very efficient anyway? The larger the generator, the more efficient it gets.
It's not really easy to compare efficiency of gasoline and hydrogen, since they're "produced" in different ways. The efficiency of oil mining is much greater than 100%. :)

But using nuclear power to generate hydrogen, for instance, is 25% to 40% efficient, and then everyone will be driving around in cars with hydrogen fuel cells in them, which aren't very efficient anyway; maybe 35 to 45%.



Active Member
Reading that made me think of the following quote:

"Motor vehicles are responsible for almost a quarter of annual US emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary global-warming gas. The US transportation sector emits more CO2 than all but three other countries' emissions from all sources combined. And motor vehicle emissions will continue to increase as more vehicles hit America's roads and the number of miles driven grows."

How absurd is it that they produce more than EVERY country in the world's except 3's annual CO2 emissions.

I don't believe hydrogen is the answer to this though because most of the power plants in the world are powered off of coal and petroleum. However, if the H is generated off of Nuclear ( a debate on it's own) or other renewable resources I'd say it's a sure go. One of the other big problems with H is it's tendency to explode, there's hundred's of thousands of car crashes each year...until a safe storage system is developed no thanks!
Birdman they're working on safe storage for hydrogen something about storing it in hydrates that don't require pressure to store the hydrogen, then you heat up the hydrate and it releases the hydrogen, I'm not a chemist so I don't now the details.

The renewable energy problem hits the nail right on the head though, as even if we use electric cars a lot of our energy is still from fossil fuels. There was as study done on the carbon footprint of an electric car and the best case scenario was only slightly less carbon emissions that petrol, the worst case scenario (battery efficiency) actually had a HIGHER carbon footprint. So all electric cars regardless of how we eventually do it won't mean zip until the energy we generate in the first place is from clean sources.
American Thinker Blog: 'Environmentalism' Dying?

Due to the source it's coming from (The WWF) I'm not sure I trust the study to be unbiased or particularly accurate though. The article just says the same thing I did, I'm not sure if you can find the actual study itself online or not.
I'm sure they 'fluffed' their specifications and the results as most environmental studies do. But it does at least mention the fact that electric powered cars doesn't change WHERE we get our energy from.
I joined this forum because I have a strong passion for electronics, and the fact that I do not have a formal education in this field and would certainly learn from all of you on here. I wanted to learn more, and use this in my new profession. I install and tune HHO systems in vehicles. I got into this all two years ago, as my business of 35 years was seriously failing. I had to find a means to support my family, and the concept of Hydrogen as an "enhancement" to fossil fuel combustion was overwhelming. The first 3 to 4 months I could not stop reading the abundant information available on the web.
I can honestly state that this technology does work indeed. I have a 2008 Chevrolet HHR. 2.2Liter engine that got 29 MPG @ 65 MPH stock; no mods what so ever. After the installation, I spent the better part of a week (34 hours!!!) tuning the engine and the ECU to accept the Oxygen. I finally was able to keep the gains, and the ECU has "learned" its' new parameters (stiil within factory numbers) and my results; This vehicle gets 46 MPG @ 80MPH!!! Believe it. The gains are consistent, and have remained steadfast for three months of testing. I know I can get 50 MPG. That's my goal on this vehicle.
I know this is an electronics forum, but there were a few ahead of me on this, so I thought I toss my 2$ in. HAFC systems are more dependent on electronics than most people understand. All those "scam" systems on the web are basically the same. Most of the people selling stuff do not know what they are doing or how it is being done. They just got a design; sourced the parts; assemble and sell/ship. To them it is simply a product to sell. To me, it has become my life. I researched this for over a year before I made any decision or commitment. I wanted to represent one manufacturer, and that one had to be righteous. I would not sell or even install some BS system.
One nice side note is that it cleans the engine up nicely too. Exhaust pipe looks like I just left the shop with a new system. All the carbon is gone....
Thank you to everyone on here. Lots of great information and also a lot of "food for thought" by people who have some good ideas too! Thanks again...


Most Helpful Member
Thread starter #56
Nice! Glad to hear it works for you. :)

Got any real life numbers to show how much power you are using and what type of electrode material and electrolyte solution you are using?

Around here you will get some bold disbelievers but by posting real world working facts, figures, schematics, material lists and design tips or recommendations you will get respect more often than not! ;)

Its the guys that say they doubled their fuel mileage with a device that plugs into the cigarette lighter we love to tear to pieces!:D

I am skeptical of the HHO type designs due to the fact their are so many bold faced liars, cheats and just plain old junk that does not work let alone stand up to any educated scrutiny out there.:mad:

But that does not mean I cant be proven wrong!;) I would love to get some real solid design and build info to test and confirm myself!
So far I have not seen any one step up and deliver!:(

Win us all over by simply supplying truthful, honest, confirmable, information! ;):)

One reference to a mystery metal, secret chemical, or magic circuit will bust all hopes of getting any support here! Fact! :)
Around here you will get some bold disbelievers but by posting real world working facts, figures, schematics, material lists and design tips or recommendations you will get respect more often than not! ;)
Yep. When dealing with stuff like this, the only argument you can make is evidence. It's entirely plausible that you could increase mileage by adding hydrogen and pure oxygen to the intake (as opposed to atmosphere, which is primarily nitrogen), but we'd like to know how this specifically happens. And does it harm the engine in the process?

The way I see it, if it's really an all-around improvement, they'd do it at the factory.

And again, the term "HHO" itself is bogus. Say "oxyhydrogen".
Not open for further replies.

Latest threads

EE World Online Articles