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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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The proof that HHO is a scam

May 2008

If you haven't already read the intro to this proof, please do.

The first thing you'll note about these "run your car on water" schemes is the size of the electrolysis cell and the wires that lead to it.

Typically they're about jam-jar size and the wires are about 16 gauge, a thickness that can comfortably carry about 30A which, at 12V, represents about 360W of power.

So the first question obviously has to be...

How much gas is needed to reduce fuel consumption by 40%?

Well the first thing is to work out how much energy it requires to keep an average vehicle cruising at(say) 65mph. According to this source it takes around 20HP to cruse at that speed.

Let's convert that to electrical energy by multiplying by 746 (the number of watts in a horsepower). We get 14,920, or roughly 15KW.

Now, if we want to replace 40% of that power with energy from HHO gas, we'll need to use at least 15KW x 0.4 which comes to 6,000 watts (6KW).

If we assume that the electrolysis cell which converts electricity into HHO gas is 100% efficient (which it certainly isn't) then that means we'll need a massive 6000W/12V or 500 amps of current to make that much gas.

Suddenly those 30A wires are looking rather inadequate aren't they?

What's more, since the average car's alternator can only deliver about 80A of current, this means the battery would have to deliver the other 520A and (in the case of even a good 80AH unit) would be flat in under 10 minutes.

Of course these simple calculations ignore the fact that electrolysis cells are not 100% efficient and the even more important fact that the average internal combustion engine is only around 30% efficient -- so even if we delivered 6KW of HHO gas to the engine it would only produce under 2KW of actual power.

With these inefficiencies taken into account we'd actually need a staggering 1,500A of electrical current to generate the necessary HHO gas to reduce our fuel input by 40%.

So clearly the math doesn't add up. There's just no way you can extract enough electrical energy from your car's automotive system to create the gas volumes needed to create any meaningful amount of energy.

How efficient are those electrolysis cells

Well in the above calculations, we've assumed 100% efficiency but the sad truth is that even the best electrolysis cells offer far less than that.

In the case of these "run your car on water" scams, the tiny containers of water usually pictured are grossly inadequate, not only in their efficiency but also in their actual size.

Take a look at the YouTube video above and note the following:

  • the amount of power the small single-cylinder is producing
  • the amount of gas being used to produce that small amount of power
  • the size of the electrolysis cells needed to generate that amount of gas
  • the amount of electrical power (1.7KW) needed to generate that gas.

Obviously, given that it's taking 1.7KW (or around 2.3HP) of electrical energy and a huge electrolysis cell to create *just* enough gas to keep a lawnmower engine barely idling, the jam-jar sized cells promoted for vehicles are a joke.

And the sad thing is that, even if you used a huge cell like this, the amount of gas created would still be too small to have any discernable effect and the amount of electrical energy required would be beyond any vehicles electrical system.

So there you have it folks.

The laws of thermodynamics remain safe. The only thing at risk is the hard-earned cash of those who are gullible enough to be duped by these scammers.

No, you can't run your car on water by installing a useless electrolysis cell under the bonnet.

But wait... I've recently had a lot of email from HHO scammers who claim that I've got it all wrong and that HHO doesn't violate the laws of thermodynamics.

Here is how they claim it works and why I still say it doesn't.

Quick navigation of this feature:

Please spread the word to save people from wasting their cash and help put these scammers out of business. Link to the first page of this feature and tell your friends about it.


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