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It’s old news that adding hydrogen to a combustion engine’s ignition phase causes a much cleaner, more efficient burn, but there has never been a safe, practical way of providing a steady supply of hydrogen gas in an ordinary automobile. But a company in Canada is confident that they have found a way to do it cheap, clean, and easy… and if they’re right, then Joe Williams Sr. and his crew at Innovative Hydrogen Solutions stand to make absurd amounts of money.

The device is called the “Hydrogen Generating Module,” or “H2N-Gen” in abbreviated marketing-speak. It’s small, about the size and shape of a stereo component, and powered by the car’s internal electrical system. It produces hydrogen by running a current through distilled water, and other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide, thereby splitting the water into its component hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then injected into the engine’s intake manifold, resulting in a reported 97% efficiency, up from a typical car’s 35% efficiency. This reduces fuel consumption by 10-40 percent, and pollutants by up to 100%.

It’s a fascinating idea, and its followers are delighted to describe the positive effects this will have on our environment, but it sounds a bit free-lunchy, and leaves some unanswered questions. For instance, does the system reconcile the energy that is spent when the engine has to work harder to produce the electricity for the device? Also, how much pollution is produced in creating the components for this device, including the manufacture of its integral chemicals? Even if the pollution reductions turn out to be a wash considering secondary pollution from manufacturing, there is some gain to be had in engine maintenance and oil changes, though perhaps not enough to justify the unit’s cost.

The initial release of the device, planned to occur sometime within the next 12 months, is intended for use on heavy vehicle fleets such as public buses, trucks and trains because they are the biggest fuel users and their engines are the worst polluters. So assuming the device materializes, we’ll soon know its real-world effectiveness.

Found on Slashdot.
Article on the Montreal Gazette website