Modify my engine to burn hydrogen

Home  \  Off Topic  \  Modify my engine to burn hydrogen

I want make my 2000 mercury sable burn hydrogen. Call me a freak:screwy: ... but why does my fuel injector have to inject gasoline... why not any combustable liquid or gas. I am here to learn how to or why not.

-Greg

posted by  MistaGreg

This is much more difficult than you make it sound. First off, it is much more difficult/dangerous to store hydrogen. If I remember right, it is usually stored as a liquid in pressurized cylinders, but I may be wrong. Secondly, The combustion properties of Hydrogen are very different from either Gasoline(iso-octane) or Ethanol(hydroxyethane). In other words the entire engine would be different, from the compression ratio to the air/hydrogen ratio. On modern vehicles, the computer would be very, very confused if you tried to run it on hydrogen. Aside from these practical problems, Hydrogen is also less energy efficient than gasoline, so you would have to refuel 2-3 times more often with a given fuel tank size. It also takes considerable energy to produce liquid hydrogen. Of course this energy can come from renewable sources, but the fact is, this energy often comes from coal or oil burning power plants.**
The moral of the story: It is not worth it, wait a few years for them to hit production, or buy a hybrid. Or take your bike to work:mrgreen:

**This information comes from my understanding of hydrogen, and by no means is it to be taken as fact. If you want facts, ask again once final exams are over.

posted by  dvdrose18

You forgot to put in that the hydrogen has to be stored in special containers because it has to be under pressure to actually be enough to run a car.

I can't picture it being any cheaper to run your car on hydrogen...for now. Just wait a couple of years until hydrogen fuel cell vehicles hit the road--although they use hydrogen in a completely different way.

posted by  chris_knows

I thought that was what I said here:laughing:

posted by  dvdrose18

Oops, I missed that somehow lol.

posted by  chris_knows

You guys know a price range to do this sort of job?

posted by  JPolito830

Ive seen it done to an older Mercedes at some car show, no idea on the price range. If you want to learn how it all works, the Honda civic from 98-02 I believe was offered in a GX trim, find some info on that car and the engine and such and youll be fine.

OP, unless you live in New York or California, its not worth it because those are the only 2 states IIRC where Hydrogen is semi-readily available.

posted by  newyorker

Hydrogen my be less efficient, but it is free to produce once the equipment is bought...

Solar panels to run the electrolosys process and to run the compressor.

I can refill once a day if needed - I only need 150 mile range each day.

-Greg

posted by  MistaGreg

Right, but you gotta ask yourself is it worth it? It will probbably cost you more to convert your car than to just buy one ready made.

Look for a Honda Civic GX, they might be hard to come by, but they run on hydrogen from factory, you dont have to mess with setting everything up and having safety issues, not to mention you might have trouble passing local inspections if your car is modified that way. The way I see it, its not worthwhile, if you want to save money on gas, buy a small car with a small engine, you dont have to deal with installing everything, running safety risks, etc. and you will still get good MPG, I get 29 city from my civic I couldnt ask for more really.

Another alternative is diesel, they are very fuel efficient engines, and as soon as the war is over, expect prices to fall dramatically, so I hear. Good thing with diesel is you can make biodiesel at home, for dimes on the dollar, and there are kits out there for it, which, I personally think, are safer than running DIY rigged hydrogen tanks.

Also, back to hydrogen, I believe the motors themselves are different as well, not just the fuel system. You are looking at a major overhaul without enough benefit to balance it out.

posted by  newyorker

I wouldn't call it free, it still costs money for the water, and solar panels are expensive and they don't last forever either. Never mind the fact that you wouldn't be able to drive on a cloudy day. Solar panels also give me another reason to tell you to wait. Just from the journal articles I see kicking around at school I think we can expect to see major improvements in the efficiency/cost ratio of solar panels in the next 5-10 years.
If you want solar panels it would be easier, safer, and more cost effective (and probably gov't subsidized) to use them on your house, or for an electric car, as electric cars are more energy efficient than hydrogen cars. (less energy is wasted in the conversion processes)
found this on Wikipedia to explain it better
Edit: dang, that picture is huge, click for image
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Battery_EV_vs._Hydrogen_ EV.png

posted by  dvdrose18

Oil prices are high because demand is high (and continues to increase), and partially due to inflation. Not much to do with the war. Gas prices will probably go down eventually, but it won't be because of Iraq.

But yeah, biodiesel would be better than hydrogen for a project.

posted by  chris_knows

The water would be free too. - Rain Water. I already have a collection system.

The honda thing is nice, but i need something I can fit into.

There is a principle about my project. There is a free fuel and an abundant source. There is a way to make it work.

I didn't join this group to be told can't. Let talk about how to...

-Greg

PS - Gas prices will never go down. The war will never be over.

posted by  MistaGreg

Let me break this down.

I believe you would need pure (distilled) water, otherwise impurities would build up and damage the equipment, and no, rain water is nowhere near pure.


Wait a while and more vehicles will have the option to run on hydrogen.

Nothing is free. Just the equipment needed to produce hydrogen from sunlight would cost you a fortune


If you really want to know how, do the research. I am sure if you googled it you would find thousands or millions of articles, papers, building designs, specs, hints etc. Some of it might cost you a few bucks, but that is a drop in the ocean compared to your other expenses. Never mind the fact that I doubt you have the technical knowledge or mechanical skill to convert your engine to run on hydrogen, so you would have to find a mechanic or fanatic to do it for you, and then knowing how is not your problem, you just need a big wallet.


The laws of economics would disagree with you. Gas prices will come down some day. Eventually we will no longer depend on gas, either because we find better alternatives, or because we used it all up. At that point, or shortly thereafter, there will be no/minimal demand for gas, and the price will come down.

:2cents: As far as the war never being over, you are right, there will always be people that hate us. However, if you mean we lost/will never win the war in Iraq, you are wrong. Not only does military intelligence show otherwise, but if it does become impossible, we could just turn it into one giant sheet of glass. The only reason it has taken as long as it has is because people are afraid of war, they think everyone can just live happily ever after, and are afraid to go in there and kick butt. If we weren't so concerned about "civilian" causalities, we could get the job done much faster.:2cents:

posted by  dvdrose18

It's only a matter of time before we start drilling in ANWR.

posted by  chris_knows

let ME break this down for you dvdrose18

I am loaded!

some counselor in high school told me I can't - he has a house much smaller than mine and I have several more degrees than he.

oh there was another guy who said i can't ... I now have completed my 2nd HT with a 12 foot screen - best in the 400 home neighborhood

My wife said I could not build a deck... I have since built 2 decks, 2 basements (the second one was 1500 sqft), 2 additions, and my kids triple level playscape.

I have done it all. hydrogen is next...

Not knowing how today does not mean I can't figure it out! How absurd! Market Economics, Statistics, Computers, Networks, Construction, Electricity, HVAC, Carpentry... Why not a car?

Sounds like you are voting for McCan't... That's why the war will never end. In our life time gas prices will never go down. The fuel companies made 11 billion dollars last quarter, they are not ever going back.

-Greg

posted by  MistaGreg

Let me break it down for you.
His post was rubbish in many respects, but your post was far far worse. Do you expect anyone to take you seriously anymore?
There's a big difference between defying the naysayers and beating your chest to try and make people respect you.

The "don't tell me i can't" attitude is good.
The "I'm so good because I have a big house" is not.

posted by  windsonian

If you are so loaded, then go pay someone to make your car burn hydrogen, or if you are so intelligent, then do the chemistry and engineering and figure it out yourself. either way, don't bother us with your crap. and btw, someone of your standing shouldn't need to refer to themselves as "mistagreg," it just sounds like you are a pathetic wannabe "gangsta"

O, and I won't be voting for Mclame, because he is a pathetic pushover. About as solid as Jell-o that has been sitting in the sun too long. I will be voting for someone that has bigger male reproductive organs than Bush to stand up for what this great country was founded on, not some damn environmentalist socialist nut job. Not that I don't like Bush, but he is just too chicken to fight.

And you can't blame fuel companies for the price of gas, blame the people that keep buying fuel. It is all supply and demand. If you didn't use fuel, it wouldn't bother you, would it. Get on your bike. Use wood heat. Buy local produce. Don't buy imported goods. Run your car on hydrogen. O, wait, skip that last one:laughing:

posted by  dvdrose18

feel free to point out the rubbish, I am open to being educated.
I am not trying to be a naysayer, I am just trying to point out that it is much more difficult to do than it sounds. It absolutely can be done, but if a person wants to do it, it is going to take a lot more research than can be gotten from this or any forum. As I said, if a person did a simple Google search, they could find tons of information, And if that wasn't good enough information, try Google Scholar, I am suer there are plenty of journal articles on the subject.:thumbs:

:thumbs:= not trying to be a dick, just tryin to stay informed

If I was trying to be a dick, you would see a lot more of these::cussing: :fu: :evil: :doh: :guns: :rolleyes:

posted by  dvdrose18

I don't know if I believe you, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Who would you vote for? You sound like a self-made man, didn't make it with government help. I'm gonna guess you're voting for Obama. Why would you vote for (possibly) the most liberal senator? Why shouldn't oil companies make money? They aren't owned by the greasy fat cats that the media portrays...A lot of their profits go to research for new oil reserves and alternative energy. The majority of the shareholders of an oil company are people like you or me--in retirement funds and what not.

Politics aside, I respect your inspiration. You'd probably want to use a rotary (Wankel) engine, because the typical internal combustion ones have backfiring issues. Then you would have to deal with the fact that your whole car would have to be a hydrogen tank with a seat. Hydrogen can't be compressed too much--that' why car manufacturer's are working on electric-hydrogen vehicles instead. Also, you couldn't use a Sable because it weighs way too much.

I'd suggest looking into air-powered cars. You basically get a typical engine block, but lighter (could be made from aluminum), and instead of the valves injecting a fuel/air mixture, they shoot in compressed air. That pushes down the cylinder, and eventually opens the exhaust valve, a vacuum is created, and the cylinder goes back up. It's a lot simpler and more efficient. You would still need an extremely light car though.

I can't understand if you want to do the project yourself or not. I'm sure you could get a hydrogen fuel cell car from somewhere, and then use your own compressor to fill it.

PS dvdrose, why would Bush be a chicken? Consider that so few countries were willing to confront Radical Islam. It might have been conducted poorly or mismanaged, but he had the balls to stand up to them (in Afghanistan).

PPS Greg, we all know you're full of it.

Where's ChrisV, he knows everything about hydrogen.

posted by  chris_knows

Unless you have something sucking the the piston up, there is no vacuum, just a pressure gradient. Yes, I am technical, that is why I am an engineer. :laughing:

:2cents: Bush started out good, but fizzled out rather quickly. Then again, maybe it is because his voice is buried before it hits the public, or because his speaking skills aren't as good as Bill's. I don't know, somehow he just doesn't seem as strong as he needs to be, especially on things like illegal emigration, and getting things done in Iraq/Afghanistan. I think we need a good cleanup hitter to finish all the things that Bush started. :2cents:
If you want to continue the politics, maybe a new thread or PM would be a good idea. don't want 2 heated subjects in one thread:ohcrap:

posted by  dvdrose18

A minor matter... distillation is a fairly minor process


This is the whole point of the thread. There is CURRENTLY no viable consumer option, so he's trying to custom do it himself.


So what you're saying here is: "I don't know the answer to your problem, so go and find the answer somewhere else"
I'm sure this is not the only place he's looking for info.
The reason people come to forums is that often picking people's brains when they can respond and relate specific experiences is a more effective learning tool than reading white papers.



I'd rather not go there.

posted by  windsonian

We are just answering your question, you are just being ignorant and pissy. You want to spend thousands of dollars for nothing, feel free.

posted by  newyorker

Understood



The auto industry is working on it, so I would imagine there is a reason that this is true, which would lead me to believe there is more to it than just hooking up a hydrogen line to your engine. I would imagine car manufacturers are scrambling to be the first to get a practical hydrogen car into production, so there has got to be something holding them back.


Agreed, but his question was rather vague, leading me to believe he had done little research, and was looking for a quick solution.



thus the :2cents:

posted by  dvdrose18

I wouldn't say for nothing, but it would be long a while before it paid off. I just tend to think it would make more financial sense to wait a few years for Hydrogen or other vehicles to hit the market rather than designing one yourself. but if he has the money he says he has, good for him, it makes gas cheaper for me, and at the rate we are going every penny counts.

posted by  dvdrose18

points agreed and accepted. Though the world wouldn't be much fun if the little guys weren't out to slap something together to out-engineer the big boys, at least in speed, maybe not polish.

posted by  windsonian

At least if he was doing it to a nicer car it would make sense...who would want to spend 1000s of dollars converting a senior citizen car to run on hydrogen...i smell a midlife crisis here.

posted by  newyorker

I wouldn't call it a senior citizen car, as it is the same base as the one I drive. It is a comfortable, practical, and cost effective car, an econobox that seats 6. Hard to believe someone with SOOO much money would drive one though...

posted by  dvdrose18

This is great!

Thanks windsonian, you said it best.

quote: The reason people come to forums is that often picking people's brains when they can respond and relate specific experiences is a more effective learning tool than reading white papers.

I have done a little "googling", but I wanted a place to bounce around ideas and get better leads. Especially for a more recent car. From what I learned so far, I am looking to spend $5k-$10k.

I have wanted cars to be my next frontier... I think this would be much more rewarding than a "hot rod" or a new sport car. This is not a mid-life crisis, I am only 37. I am just looking for something new, very interesting, and I do want to "show" the man I could to do it.

-Greg

P.S. the man is not dvdrose18. It is a figure of speech...

posted by  MistaGreg

is the man your husband??

posted by  newyorker

Why do you ask? Are gay people not allow in this forum?

-Greg

posted by  MistaGreg

hahaha .... *awaits predictably lame retort from NYer*

posted by  windsonian

I do believe the last person here that displayed homosexual tendencies was banned:laughing:

posted by  dvdrose18

If it happens fast enough, doesn't the gradient still raise the piston?

And yeah, let's not get into politics, it always ends in a flame war lol.

posted by  chris_knows

Hey, I never said it couldn't be done, I just wanted to be sure you had an idea of what all would be involved. I had a feeling from the way that you asked the question that you just dreamed up the idea one night and came here expecting to be told that you just have to buy special spark plugs and you are good to go. If you do decide to go ahead and work it out, all the more to you. And if you do figure it out, let me know, I believe my car has the same/similar engine:mrgreen:

Many people come here hoping that they will be told that if they jiggle the steering wheel and honk their horn their problems will go away. Unfortunately, life isn't as easy as it seems on paper

posted by  dvdrose18

who said that I said you were gay...oh, right you did....it was just a question.

posted by  newyorker

How many girl Gregs do you now?

posted by  chris_knows

One..her name is Giorgis (greek) but we call her "greg"...her idea :laughing:

posted by  newyorker

how many girls do you know that refer to themselves as "Mista"?:screwy:

posted by  dvdrose18

http://www.clean-air.org/Hydrogen%20Cobra%20Story/Hydrogen%20Cobra.htm

A 427 Cobra modified to run the engine on hydrogen. One thing to note, a statment in there has a bit of concern: the tank is pretty large, but at 200hp, it takes 5 minutes to empty the hydrogen tank.

Hydrogen makes less hp than gasoline, so this high hp 427 engine only makes 270 hp on hydrogen.

the link provides you with a LOT of math on how it all works, and a lot of details about the construction, by some pretty smart guys.

If you want to modify your engine to run on hydrogen, this is the place to start.

Personally, I feel that hydrogen fuel cells are a better answer, as you get much better range.

If you really want to learn about hydrogen vehicles, this is the place to look: http://www.hydrogencommerce.com/indexa3.htm

It also talks about hydrogen refilling stations, in detail.

posted by  ChrisV

Well this idiot for one...noone has a sense of humor :banghead:

posted by  newyorker

I looked into that website. The base site http://www.clean-air.org/ looks primitive... as if it were thrown together. So I don't know if it is creditable. I have been combing through it for the past two weeks. I am researching each step for both the Cobra and the Commadore

I have found the gaseous fuel injector:
http://www.rceng.com/Peak-Hold-Injector-PQ2-3200-Gaseous-Injector-P19C5.asp x

I was originally thinking that I could work on the collection & storage and conversion at the same time. But at this point I think the collection & storage is the bigger challenge.

Based on this website http://www.clean-air.org/conversion_kit_response.htm
It appears that the break-even point is 1.5 million miles for the collection & storage.

I am not discouraged, it is just a challenge to overcome. I am going to focus more on this aspect of the process.

-Greg

posted by  MistaGreg

I found this citation from 1994. I hope things have gotten more refined since then. The cost looks very good.

http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/h2homesystem.pdf

-Greg

posted by  MistaGreg

I mentioned it before, but I don't know if you caught it/tried it already, but Google scholar (http://scholar.google.com) helps you find journal articles, which are more up to date, and peer reviewed so credibility is better. Of course not many the articles are free, but if you let me know if there is a specific article you are interested in, I can see if I can get it.

posted by  dvdrose18

Thanks for your support/help

posted by  MistaGreg

Back to topic, i still dont think its worth the time and money that its gona run you, but if you are set on it, have fun and report back, although i doubt ill be here in a few years haha

posted by  newyorker

Instead of a full hydrogen conversion is it possible to just do a 50/50 mix or so. I drive a jeep that only gets 17mpg, I would love to get this into the mid twenties or more, is it possible to run on gas and hydrogen by just injecting hydrogen into the intake somewhere like they do with nos.

camaro214   01 Mar 2012 19:46

All you have to have is water. It contains Hydrogen. You put the water through electrolysis and it goes from 2(H2O)-->2H2 O2. I have a friend who did it to his 03 Toyota Tundra and you get anywhere from 50 to 350 mpg. He also said that it only cost him about $150 to make. Don't forget though, that you would have to modify the fuel gauge if you wanted to see how much more water you've got left.

TL;DR: Water to Hydrogen and Oxygen. Lots of (water) mileage lol. Very cheap. People do this every day.

dbishop   06 Oct 2012 23:27

Your Message