Gasp!!! We are doomed!
We live in a society, with and educational system that produces people who
Start with a rotating shaft.
Take mechanical energy out to turn a generator.
Perhaps, make a round trip through an electrochemical storage battery.
Use the electrical energy to break a chemical bond to produce hydrogen.
Burn the hydrogen in a heat engine to produce mechanical energy.
Use the mechanical energy to rotate the shaft.
And this is a good idea. And the people who accept this make our social and
One mechanic friend of mine was playing with hydrogen generators. Says
a lot of videos on www.youtube.com about hydrogen generators. My
intuition says that it won't help. Converting energy from one form to
another always loses some energy.
Engine to alternator to electricity to electrolysis to hydrogen to
carburetor to combustion to mechanical. That's a lot of places to lose
Mine agrees with you, however I do wonder if there has ever been any
proper research done into the effects of adding small amounts of gaseous
hydrogen to the intake stream of an internal combustion engine.
Combustion is a strange thing, and while I don't expect it to happen it
would not _surprise_ me to find that a little bit of hydrogen has a
disproportionate effect on the percentage of the gasoline in the chamber
that gets burned and turned into useful energy instead of going out the
exhaust and heating the catalytic converter. On the other hand,
adjusting the engine to run a little leaner could have the same
effect--remember that modern engines run a little rich to feed the
kitty. But then the question comes what happens to the emissions if the
cat isn't getting enough gas to stay at operating temperature.
Actually there has been a lot of testing done. While hydrogen does help
the fuel burn cleaner there is a BIG problem with the energy used to
convert the water in the first place.
If you do the math and then actually test it there is a net energy loss.
Take a look at how much power it takes to crack the water using 12
volts to generate a usable amount of hydrogen. Then how many HP the
engine takes to generate that power level constantly and the fuel used
by the engine to do that.
As for most vehicles running rich, pretty much anything built since
about 1997 actually run on the lean side. That is why the converter is
there to break down the nasty stuff generated by a lean running engine.
What keeps the converter hot? The main point of the converter was that
it made it possible to do away with the driveability problems resulting
from the earlier "lean burn" techniques for passing emission standards.
In a modern three way cat. there are three different processes going on.
1. Reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen
2. Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide
3. Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) to carbon dioxide and water
Run a rich mix into a cat. and you will see the guts in it melt down. I
replace a few like that every year.
The heat in the cat comes from all of the reactions. If you have a
vehicle with any blow by or bad valve stem seals it can get interesting.
Most modern engines run near stochiometric. The converter is a 3-way
(formulas left unbalanced for clarity)
NOx -> O2 + N2 (reduction of oxides of nitrogen)
CO + O2 -> CO2 (oxygenation of carbon monixide)
HC + O2 -> CO2 + H2O (combustion of unburnt hydrocarbon)
Lean-burn and diesel engines use a different converter.
The problem with socialism is there's always
someone with less ability and more need.
There has been much research and there are ways to enhance efficiency,
indeed. But, as the other respondent says, none of those include the
use of energy from the engine/alternator system to produce the H by
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