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Converting gas engine to hydrogen

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  • Converting gas engine to hydrogen

    My truck engine finally took a dump on me the other day, I think it spun a bearing or something. It started knocking really bad from what seems like the lower end (I have bad hearing) and its loosing oil pressure pretty bad.
    Anyway, since I have to dismantle it if I choose to go the rout of fixing, and I don't use the truck that much, I thought I might try a hydrogen conversion as an experiment. I believe its Greenland where they are using hydrogen on a regular basis dew to the relatively cheap electricity from their hot springs to produce the hydrogen.

    Any help would be appreciated. So far what I can gather is that titanium valves and seats are needed, don't know if thats true or not. As for a carburetor, I've heard that a propane carburetor will work, again I don't know the validity of that and if so, what modifications might be needed.

    Any thoughts?
    The engine is a 502 GM. I also haven't checked on the availability of hydrogen in my area yet.

  • #2
    I think hydrogen in an automotive app is usually used in a fuel cell layout (electric). I don't know what you will save by running a gas engine on it. I don't see why it cant be done. I have been looking into hydrogen generators as mileage boosters. I think you need stainless valves as hydrogen embrittlement may be an issue, and the higher levels of moisture in the exhaust may require some slight mods. I have a bunch of books coming, when i get them i'll see if there are any chapters on burning 100% hyd.

    Comment


    • #3
      i been playing with the same idea. i was thinking for a carburetor i would look into rock crawlers or off road specialty supply shops. they have propane conversion carbs for lots of trucks. although many seem to say they are not street legal ??
      might be worth looking into for your carb options.
      seems like i had a set of plans for making hydrogen at home, i'll let ya know if i can dig them up.

      I believe its Greenland where they are using hydrogen on a regular basis dew to the relatively cheap electricity from their hot springs to produce the hydrogen.

      i saw some thing about that on the discovery chanel. they now have a hydrogen production machine the size of a standard coke machine. all you do is feed it city water and electricity and pump out hydrogen to fill the car.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Laiky View Post
        I don't know what you will save by running a gas engine on it. I don't see why it cant be done. I have been looking into hydrogen generators as mileage boosters. I think you need stainless valves as hydrogen embrittlement may be an issue, and the higher levels of moisture in the exhaust may require some slight mods. I have a bunch of books coming, when i get them i'll see if there are any chapters on burning 100% hyd.
        Saving money on gas is not really an issue, its more of an experiment. I hardly ever use the truck, but it comes in handy when I need it.
        The reason for the titanium valves as I was told is that the hydrogen burns a lot hotter than gas. The books sound interesting, where did you get them?
        Originally posted by fun4now View Post
        seems like i had a set of plans for making hydrogen at home, i'll let ya know if i can dig them up.


        i saw some thing about that on the discovery chanel. they now have a hydrogen production machine the size of a standard coke machine. all you do is feed it city water and electricity and pump out hydrogen to fill the car.
        I have some plans for a home production setup but I'm not really interested in that, at least not at this time. I'll be happy just to get the truck running again. If this all starts to get too complicated, I might just look for a smaller engine to put in it. ( that would be the easiest rout)
        The cokemachine size deal sounds pretty cool. It would be neat to find out how much they cost.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am not sure that it would be practical as a general rule. Internal combustion engines work by compressing air fuel mixture, hydrogen is very hard to compress so compression ratios would need to be lowered. Second, fuel storage and pumping would be an even worse challenge. Alot of auto engines have been converted to run on methane or propane, but hydrogen would be tough. And you thought gas was expensive, wait till you buy 1 lb of hydrogen..... I digress. I would agree with others that state that Hydrogen technology is making use of fuel cells, and although very clean, it is also very expensive.

          John

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by projectwelder View Post
            Internal combustion engines work by compressing air fuel mixture, hydrogen is very hard to compress so compression ratios would need to be lowered.

            Care to explain this? I have never heard that hydrogen is hard to compress. Being the least dense element, i would think the opposite is true, unless your reffering to the pump (engine) sealing well enough to compress hydrogen.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by projectwelder View Post
              Internal combustion engines work by compressing air fuel mixture, hydrogen is very hard to compress so compression ratios would need to be lowered. Alot of auto engines have been converted to run on methane or propane, but hydrogen would be tough. And you thought gas was expensive, wait till you buy 1 lb of hydrogen..... I digress. I would agree with others that state that Hydrogen technology is making use of fuel cells, and although very clean, it is also very expensive.

              John
              Hydrogen combustion engines are not a new novelty thought. Check out this site for some examples of early hydrogen vehicles. I just found this site and haven't had a chance to really check it out good but this page is quite interesting.
              http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/hydro...s1807-1986.htm

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by burninbriar View Post
                My truck engine finally took a dump on me the other day, I think it spun a bearing or something. It started knocking really bad from what seems like the lower end (I have bad hearing) and its loosing oil pressure pretty bad.
                Anyway, since I have to dismantle it if I choose to go the rout of fixing, and I don't use the truck that much, I thought I might try a hydrogen conversion as an experiment. I believe its Greenland where they are using hydrogen on a regular basis dew to the relatively cheap electricity from their hot springs to produce the hydrogen.

                Any help would be appreciated. So far what I can gather is that titanium valves and seats are needed, don't know if thats true or not. As for a carburetor, I've heard that a propane carburetor will work, again I don't know the validity of that and if so, what modifications might be needed.

                Any thoughts?
                The engine is a 502 GM. I also haven't checked on the availability of hydrogen in my area yet.
                what year truck?? Did you put the 502 in it? I dont remember the 502 coming factory in any chevy truck. the 8.1 was about 495 cubic inches??? just curious by the way...
                Last edited by down19992000; 08-26-2008, 01:26 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by down19992000 View Post
                  what year truck?? Did you put the 502 in it? I dont remember the 502 coming factory in any chevy truck. the 8.1 was about 495 cubic inches??? just curious by the way...
                  The year of the truck is anyones guess. Its registered as a 76, but it's a real Johny Cash special. I had a 67 Chevy 1/2 ton that I just wasn't finding the time I needed to do the restoration so when a fellow kept bugging me for it to use as a father son project I agreed if he got me a replacement truck for the farm. Being that it was a father son project I couldn't say no. Its better someone restore it than no restoration and what a good environment for it.
                  Anyway, I got this 1 ton 4x4 that I think was a 3/4 ton 2 wheel drive at one time. Nothing on it seems to match, The cab seems to be an 81 with some parts being of an earlier model. The engine, I'm sure is not what belongs in it, its using an electric fuel pump because there is not enough room for the mechanical one.
                  There is strong evidence that the truck has been under water and both fuel tanks are bad, I took one off because it had a big hole in the top of it from one of the cab mount bolts and know that I'm finally getting the sludge worked out of the other tank, I noticed its starting to leak a little. I rarely use the truck, that is why I thought it would be a good vehicle to experiment with.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A couple of guys in our machinists group has been playing around with hydrogen generators and have only improved their mileage on a Toyota Corolla by only 2-3mpg. The drain on the electrical system offsets any improvements from the conversion. The principal involved is to generate sufficient hydrogen via electrolysis and they typically are running 30-40 amps for the hydrogen generator. I personally don't think this is the way to go. Buy a diesel instead.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mike6845 View Post
                      A couple of guys in our machinists group has been playing around with hydrogen generators and have only improved their mileage on a Toyota Corolla by only 2-3mpg. The drain on the electrical system offsets any improvements from the conversion. The principal involved is to generate sufficient hydrogen via electrolysis and they typically are running 30-40 amps for the hydrogen generator. I personally don't think this is the way to go. Buy a diesel instead.
                      do you know which one they are using? a friend is working on one, i say theoretically impossible, i'm surprised they saw 2-3 mpg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have the same feeling about the on board generators. It takes energy to make energy, so I don't see how you can benefit from robbing energy for the engine to produce energy for the engine. I've also heard of a plan to use wind turbines mounted on the vehicle to produce the electricity but again you are increasing the drag on the vehicle counteracting any energy gain.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          First law of thermodynamics: there is no free lunch. You can never get more energy out than you put in. The best you can hope for is to break even.

                          Second law of thermodynamics: You CAN'T break even. No process is 100% efficent because heat needs work just to move. Every step you add will decrease the overall efficiency.

                          And as far as using hydrogen by itself as an internal combustion fuel, it just detonates when ignited. The octane rating of hydrogen is "very low."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by burninbriar View Post
                            I have the same feeling about the on board generators. It takes energy to make energy, so I don't see how you can benefit from robbing energy for the engine to produce energy for the engine....
                            It COULD give you a small gain, IF the engine was wasting energy while you were idling or cruising without acceleration. BUT, no way do I see it worthwhile.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Quote by Bodybagger:
                              And as far as using hydrogen by itself as an internal combustion fuel, it just detonates when ignited. The octane rating of hydrogen is "very low."

                              Thus the reason for fuel cell/elec. motor technology. Screw the octane and the internal combustion engine it rode in on. Reverse engineering to run an internal combustion engine on hydrogen would be counter-productive when the technology is closing in on commercial success for fuel cell vehicles that will power a vehicle more efficiently without the Rube Goldberg internal combustion engine in the equation.

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