Today, I began a series of experiments putting hydrogen into my car engine. Hydrogen is a combustion promotor, increasing the flame speed significantly, even at low compositions, and it has a very high octane value, so it does not cause pre-ignition. I used my Chevy Malibu, shown, and generated the hydrogen using one of our (REB Research’s) methanol-reformer hydrogen generators. I used a small hydrogen generator we sell for gas chromatographic use, and put 280 ccm hydrogen into engine, as shown. This is enough to provide 1% of the energy content about during idle.
I’ve not measured mpg change yet (as a stationary experiment the mpg is 0), but was really looking for outward signs of knock or other engine problems. Adding 280 ccm of hydrogen should increase the flame speed by ~2%, which should increase the degree of high pressure combustion, and this should increase the mpg by about 3% or 4% if you don’t include the hydrogen energy. So far, I saw no ill effects: no ill sounds and no check engine lights.
About half the hydrogen energy comes from waste heat of the engine, and half the methanol. Either way this energy is very cheap: methanol costs about $1.20/gal, about half of what gasoline does on a per-energy basis. Next step is to make my hydrogen generator mobile, and check the effect on mpg. I’m glad it worked OK so far. There was a reporter watching.