Water Fuel Power Generation System

What is it about?

 Extracting pure energy form most abundant substance on our planet – water, was always something that scientists dreamed about. Unfortunately, it is not so simple. According to the currently accepted laws of physics, there is no way to extract chemical energy from water alone. Water itself is highly stable—it was one of the classical elements and contains very strong chemical bonds. Water will not burn. That means it is impossible to make an engine that would be powered only by simply poring water in it.

Most proposed water-fueled engines rely on some form of electrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen and then recombine them to release energy. Hydrogen itself is a high-energy, flammable substance, but its useful energy is released when water is formed. However, because the energy required to separate the elements will always be at least as great as the useful energy released, this cannot be used to produce net energy.

  Releasing chemical energy from water, in excess or in equal proportion to the energy required to facilitate such production, would therefore violate the first or second law of thermodynamics.
- First law of thermodynamics states that the total energy of an isolated system is constant. Energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.
- Second law of thermodynamics states that in a natural thermodynamic process, the sum of the entropies of the interacting thermodynamic systems increases. Entropy is commonly understood as a measure of molecular disorder within a macroscopic system.

  It would be possible though to build an engine that would use water as a fuel, but only with the additional source of energy that would be used to separate water to its components. That energy could be obtained from some other devices incorporated in the vehicle, for example solar cells, power producing shock absorbers or brakes.

Why is this important?

  The most important way of generating power from water (besides of using its kinetic energy in hydro power plants) is through the electrolysis, in order to generate hydrogen that can be used in conjunction with renewable energy sources to provide a number of benefits.
One of the most exciting aspects of this technology currently, is its potential usage as renewable energy storage.
Sources of clean energy like wind and solar power, provide a variable output which is difficult for the electricity grid to accept while maintaining its stability, and this places a real and fundamental limit on how much of this energy can currently be incorporated into the supply. This limit can be circumvented if the renewable energy can be stored at times of excess production, and producing hydrogen in large quantities as an energy storage medium is in fact one of the most viable options available.

  Hydrogen’s advantages as a clean energy carrier are numerous because it can link all forms of energy use. It can be produced by electrolysis driven by either distributed renewables or grid electricity and then stored. From there, it can fuel on-demand electricity or combined heat and power  generation, or it could instead be used in other ways: for example, as a vehicle fuel, or supplied to industry as a commodity or feedstock, or chemically combined with carbon to produce synthetic hydrocarbon fuels.
Hydrogen can also be injected into the natural gas network, to increase the proportion of renewable energy in grid gas. Gas has been combusted for many years to generate electricity and heat, but electrolysis and hydrogen for the first time provide a link between the electricity and gas grids in the opposite direction.

How it was before and the advantage of H2 as a fuel

As we all know, traditional internal combustion engines burn fossil fuel, which is limited on our planet, and by doing that they also pollute our environment badly affecting human’s health.

-  Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle (HICEV) is a type of hydrogen vehicle using an internal combustion engine. The combustion of hydrogen with oxygen produces water as its only product.
The differences between a hydrogen ICE and a traditional gasoline engine include hardened valves and valve seats, stronger connecting rods, non-platinum tipped spark plugs, a higher voltage ignition coil, fuel injectors designed for a gas instead of a liquid, larger crankshaft damper, stronger head gasket material, modified (for supercharger) intake manifold, positive pressure supercharger, and a high temperature engine oil. All modifications would amount to about one point five times (1.5) the current cost of a gasoline engine. These hydrogen engines burn fuel in the same manner that gasoline engines do.
The power output of a direct injected hydrogen engine vehicle is 20% more than for a gasoline engine vehicle and 42% more than a hydrogen engine vehicle using a carburetor.
-  Hydrogen fuel cells are a bit like a cross between an internal-combustion engine and battery power. Like an internal-combustion engine, they make power by using fuel from a tank (though the fuel is pressurized hydrogen gas rather than gasoline or diesel). But, unlike an engine, a fuel cell doesn't burn the hydrogen. Instead, it's fused chemically with oxygen from the air to make water. In the process, which resembles what happens in a battery, electricity is released and this is used to power an electric motor that can drive a vehicle. The only waste product is the water.

A fuel cell has three key parts similar to those in a battery. It has a positively charged terminal (shown here in red), a negatively charged terminal (blue), and a separating electrolyte in between the two (yellow) keeping them apart.

  • Hydrogen gas from the tank (shown here as big brown blobs) feeds down a pipe to the positive terminal. Hydrogen is flammable and explosive, so the tank has to be extremely strong.
  • Oxygen from the air (big turquoise blobs) comes down a second pipe to the negative terminal.
  • The positive terminal (red) is made of platinum, a precious metal catalyst designed to speed up the chemistry that happens in the fuel cell. When atoms of hydrogen gas reach the catalyst, they split up into hydrogen ions (protons) and electrons (small black blobs).
  • The protons, being positively charged, are attracted to the negative terminal (blue) and travel through the electrolyte (yellow) towards it. The electrolyte is a thin membrane made of a special polymer (plastic) film and only the protons can pass through it.
  • The electrons, meanwhile, flow through the outer circuit.
  • As they do so, they power the electric motor (orange and black) that drives the car's wheels. Eventually, they arrive at the negative terminal (blue) too.
  • At the negative terminal, the protons and electrons recombine with oxygen from the air in a chemical reaction that produces water.
  • The water is given off from the exhaust pipe as water vapor or steam.

How to build simple H2 generator 

( Taken from instructableshttp://www.thekingofrandom.com under CC license)

In electrolysis, an electrical current is passed through a conductive substance in order to drive a non-spontaneous reaction. A water electrolyser consists of a series of electrochemical cells, with the main components of each cell being two electrodes and electrolyte.
When an electric current is applied to the electrodes, hydrogen gas is formed at the cathode, and oxygen gas at the anode. The amount of gas produced per hour is directly related to the current passing between the electrodes.

An example of how to make electrolyser

A hydrogen generator, in this example, uses electricity from car battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gasses.

For the generator plates, one should use 12 stainless steel plates measuring 3" x 6", 4 plates at 1-1/2" x 6", and three 1" connector bands measuring 6", 4-1/2", and 3 1/4". All plates should have precisely cut holes in the tops and bottoms.

In order to increase plate surface area, 100 grit sandpaper should be used to sand both sides of each of the plates diagonally. This will assist in producing more gas.

The plates are joined in a configuration so that the 2 inner plates are connected to one electrical terminal, and the 2 outer plates connected to the other terminal.  Plastic rods, plastic washers, and stainless steel nuts help to form the proper electrical connections. The generator plates are assembled in the order of plate, plastic washers, plate, stainless steel jam nuts until 8 plates have been connected.
When the plates are assembled, a 4" ABS clean out plug is attached at the top with some stainless steel bolts.

The body is made from two 4" ABS cleaned out adapters, with a 4" plug inverted and cemented into the bottom. A 4" tube of acrylic or ABS makes the body, and the generator plates and cap screw down into the top. A water bubbler is made in a similar fashion out of 2" clear acrylic tubing, but needs a way to clip onto the side.

Clips for the bubbler can be made from scrap acrylic or ABS tubing, and glued to the side of the body.
To make these clips, one should cut 3/4" of the 2" tubing used to make the bubbler, then cut the top 1/3" off to form a claw.  These should be then cemented to acrylic rods, and attached to the side of the generator body.

Some poly tube, and a one-way check valve is added to the top elbow, making sure the valve will let gas out, but nothing back in.

The electrolyte is distilled water and about 2-4 teaspoons of KOH (potassium hydroxide). Salt or baking soda could also be used, but may dirty and corrode the plates over time. KOH flakes should be stirred into the water, then a coffee filter used to strain the solution into the generator casing.
Note: Potassium Hydroxide is caustic and can burn the skin.  Avoid direct contact!

Water is added to the bubbler, then the cap is put back on, and the poly tubes are hooked up. On 12 volts, this produces about 1.5 LPM. On the higher 24 voltage, the system produce over 5 LPM and fills up a gallon jug in 38 seconds!
Note:  Higher voltages allow more current to flow through the system, and it heats up quickly over time.  If allowed to continue, there is a risk the plastic casing will melt from prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

The whole procedure can be seen here.

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