How a Homemade Hydrogen Cell works

Some information is from other sources and I have included it here for clarity.

Electrolysis has been known for a very long time and it appears very simple. Michael Faraday described the method and determined the gas output for what seemed to be 100% efficiency of the process.

Bob Boyce of the ?watercar? Group has designed a DC electrolysis cell which achieves twice Faraday?s theoretical maximum output per watt of input power.

The principles involved here are not at all difficult to understand. If a small amount of hydroxy gas is added to the air being drawn into the engine, the resulting mix burns very much better than it would if no hydroxy gas were added. With reasonable amounts of hydroxy gas added, the burn quality is so high that a catalytic converter is not needed. Normally, unburnt fuel coming out of the engine is burnt in the catalytic converter. With a good booster connected, there is no unburnt fuel reaching the catalytic converter, so although you leave it in place, it never wears out as it is not being used.

Here is how it works. A current flows through the liquid inside the electrolysis cell, moving from one plate to the other. The current breaks the bonding of the water molecules, converting the H2O into hydrogen H and oxygen O. There are various forms of hydrogen and oxygen and mixtures of the two. H on its own is called ?monatomic? hydrogen, and given the chance, it will join with another H to form H2 which is called ?diatomic? hydrogen. The same goes for the oxygen atoms. The monatomic variety of hydrogen has four times the energy and about 1% of it mixed with air,is capable of powering an engine without using any fossil fuel oil at all.

If the liquid in the electrolyser is distilled water, then almost no current will flow and almost no gas will be produced. If you add two or three drops of battery acid to the water, the current and gas production increase enormously. Putting acid in the water is a bad idea as it gets used in the process, the acidity of the water keeps changing, the current keeps changing, the acid attacks the electrodes and unwanted gasses are given off.

Putting salt in the water, or using seawater, has nearly the same effect with poisonous chlorine gas being given off. Baking soda is also a bad choice as it gives off carbon monoxide which is a seriously toxic gas, it damages the electrodes and ends up as sodium hydroxide. Instead of using these additives, it is much better to use a ?catalyst? which promotes the electrolysis without actually taking part in the chemical process. The best of these are Sodium Hydroxide (?Red Devil lye? and Roebic drain cleaner at Lowe’s in the USA, ?caustic soda? in the UK) and even better still, Potassium Hydroxide (?Caustic Potash?).

The process of electrolysis is most unusual. As the voltage applied to the plates is increased, the rate of gas production increases (no surprise there). But once the voltage reaches 1.24 volts across the electrolyte between the electrodes, there is no further increase in gas production with increase in voltage. If the electrolysis cell produces 1 liter of hydroxy gas per hour with 1.24 volts applied to the electrolyte, then it will produce exactly 1 liter of hydroxy gas per hour with 12 volts applied to the electrolyte.

Even though the input power has been increased nearly 10 times, the gas output remains unchanged. So it is much more effective to keep the voltage across the electrolyte to 1.24 volts or some value near that. As there is a small voltage drop due to the material from which the electrodes are made, in practice the voltage per cell is usually set to about 2 volts for the very best electrode metal which is 316L-grade stainless steel.

The amount of gas produced depends directly on the amount of current passing
through the cells. As they are ?in series? (connected in a chain), the same current passes through all of them. For any given battery voltage and electrode spacing, the current is controlled by the amount of catalyst added to the water. The liquid in the electrolyser cells is called the ?electrolyte?. In practice, there is a distinct advantage in having a large surface area for each electrode, and a small spacing between the electrodes of about 3 mm or 1/8?.

There is a strong tendency for bubbles of gas to remain on the surface of the electrodes and impede the electrolysis process. If there were enough bubbles on an electrode, it would not actually touch the electrolyte and electrolysis would stop altogether. Many methods have been used to minimise this problem. The electrode plates are normally made from 16 gauge 316L-grade stainless steel and it is recommended that there be between 2 and 4 square inches of plate area on every face of every electrode for each amp of current passing through the cell. Some people place an ultrasonic transducer underneath the plates to vibrate the bubbles off the plate surfaces. Archie Blue and Charles Garrett made the engine suck its input air through the electrolyser and relied on the air drawn through the electrolyte to dislodge the bubbles. Some people use piezo electric crystals attached to the plates to vibrate the plates and shake the bubbles free, others use magnetic fields, usually from permanent magnets. The best method is to treat the electrode plates with cross-hatch scouring, an extensive cleansing process and an extensive conditioning process. After that treatment, bubbles no longer stick to the electrodes but break away immediately without the need for any form of additional help.

A very important safety item is the ?bubbler? which is just a simple container with some water in it. I use a peanut butter jar with the plastic lid. I works! Trust Me! The bubbler has the gas coming in at the bottom and bubbling up through the water.? Mine has the gas coming in from the top through a tube that runs to the bottom of the jar. This way it is under the water. The gas collects above the water surface and is then drawn into the engine through an outlet pipe above the water surface. To prevent water being drawn into the booster when the booster is off and cools down, a one-way valve is placed in the pipe between the booster and the bubbler.

Safety bubbler

If the engine happens to produce a backfire, then the bubbler blocks the flame from passing back through the pipe and igniting the gas being produced in the booster. If the booster is made with a tightly-fitting lid rather than a screw-on lid, then if the gas in the bubbler is ignited, it will just blow the lid off the bubbler and rob the explosion of any real force. It will most definitely do this! A bubbler is a very simple, very cheap and very sensible thing to install. This statement I am not so sure of. ..> It also removes any traces of electrolyte fumes from the gas before it is drawn into the engine.

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This post was written by Michael on October 5, 2008

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