more HHO

August 8, 2008 at 10:46 am | | pseudoscience, science and the public, science@home, stupid technology, wild web

We just love writing about water hoaxes at EDS (here and here). And what about running your car on water?

On the big truck that is the internets, there are several kits for splitting water from electricity from the car’s battery and burning the H2 and O2 gases with gasoline (e.g. Water4Gas). The idea is as follows:

  1. harness any wasted electricity from the alternator (or use a solar panel)
  2. use that electricity to splitting water into H2 and O2
  3. pipe the gases into the air inlet of the internal-combustion engine
  4. by burning the H2 and O2, you produce water and some energy
  5. allegedly, the hydrogen and oxygen gases also make the gasoline combustion more efficient by somehow optimizing the air/fuel mixture
  6. the combination of (4) and (5) increase your car’s MPG 

So does it work?

Well, the thermodynamics of the scheme is simple: it is impossible to generate more energy by creating water (by burning hydrogen and oxygen) than it took to split the water in the first place. So it is ridiculous to take energy from the engine to split water and burn water. But it is possible to harness external energy (i.e. via solar cells or by taking “extra” electricity from the alternator, if there is any) and convert it to chemical—then mechanical—energy. So, conceivably, you could increase your MPG by converting solar or “excess” electrical energy to hydrogen and oxygen gases, then burning them.

And then the kinetics. Fluid dynamics is very complex, and there’s no way I can guess how different gasses will affect the way the air/fuel mixture flows and explodes. I am very skeptical of the idea that the air/fuel mixture in modern internal-combustion engines is dramatically inefficient, and that throwing in a little hydrogen and oxygen gases to the mixture fixes the problem. That said, the densities of H2 and O2 gases are different than that of air, so it is conceivable that adding these molecules to the combustion mixture changes the efficiency with which the engine burns gasoline. But I would guess that those changes would be for the worse (based on Murphy’s law).

So, although I am very very doubtful that Water4Gas could work in principle, the only way to really be sure would be to test this. (That is, before Big Oil and Detroit kill all the inventors and bury their breakthrough!) But I can’t find a site that gives any real evidence of one of these “HHO” devices working. The closest to an honest test I have found is this—and these guys never saw an increase in MPG, even after a lot of tweaking!

HHO for fuel has all the warning signs of bogus science. Seriously. All of them. For instance, there is tons of marketing; such as the fake debunking sites that actually tell you to buy the product in the end: “water4gas scam revealed.” Googling will give you many more hits like this. Smart marketing!

I think Water4Gas and other HHO fuels are bunk with a lot of misleading marketing. What they’re really selling is a huge confusing book, a glass Ball jar, and a lot of tubing.


I would love to see a comparison between a well-tuned car and a well-tuned car with an “HHO” thingie. I bet there’d be no change in MPG. Anyone want to test on their car?


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  1. No such thing as a cubic liter! It’s just a liter.

    Comment by Mark — May 17, 2015 #

  2. Oh, that’s why their HHO machine isn’t working. ;)

    Comment by sam — May 18, 2015 #

  3. ho montato un generatore hho da me costruito sulla mia ww bora 1.9 tdi centralina volo(comprata) motore molto più brillante più spinto a bassi regimi e risparmio carburante circa 25% .hho fuziona alla grande.gia percorsi più di 9000km nessun problena hho

    Comment by baldassare — July 8, 2015 #

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