Villages in the Sky: DIY World Change

Just another weblog

The Amazing Mr Parrott April 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — paxus @ 4:26 pm

When Ish first told me about his friend, i was skeptical. He described a simple electrolysis device which Charles Parrott had developed and added to his car which dramatically increased his gas millage. i studied enuf classical economics to believe that any inexpensive millage enhancing device would be embraced by Detroit as a way to stave off the need to retool assembly lines due to federally mandated millage requirements.

When i talked with Charles, my perceptions began to shift. An unassuming man, he was clearly an inspired tinkerer and capable inventor. When i asked him why he did not take his hydrogen generator into business he said “Business would be boring.” It was also clear that he appeared to be more interested in new projects, growing algae for energy and zip lines and tree houses (which is why he was interested in meeting me).

He gave me an early version of his hydrogen generator, which is pictured below. The theory is simple enuf, the device breaks down water using electricity the car produces while driving but can not store because the battery is full (this device likely would not work as well on hybrids which are more clever about energy use and conservation). Water becomes hydrogen and oxygen gas which is then feed into the carburetor where it burns hotter and more efficiently than the nitrogen rich air which generally inhabits that space.

i called my old engineering friend Rez to ask him about the physics of the proposition. Rez pointed out that electrolysis is not an especially efficient operation but that neither is internal combustion, despite decades of refinement. That the equation for the increased energy was

Enew = (Egas + EH2 – Eelectrolysis) * Fnew

Enew = Energy with combined gasoline and H2 fuels with enriched O2 (oxygen is the oxidizer)
Egas = Energy running just on gasoline
EH2 = Energy from burning the hydrogen
Eelectrolysis = Energy to run the electrolysis (this is not free, when the battery is full the alternator doesn’t have to work)
Fnew = Efficiency factor for the engine running gasoline/hydrogen/oxygen-enriched fuel.

Average gasoline engines are ~20% efficient, wasting 80% of the energy in the gasoline. The real gain will be in Fnew jumping due to improve flame propagation speeding the combustion and making it more complete.

Rez took some exception to my calling the surplus energy from the over charged car battery being called “waste energy” and in the end concluded that the only way that the physics would work would be for the burning of these gases to increase the actual efficiency of the car engine, which he held was possible and a bit tricky to measure. Rez also scanned the internet, found many studies in the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) publications finding that efficiency improvements of 12% (a study at MIT) and vastly reduced emissions [ see abstracts at half way down the page]. Interesting design of a electrolysis unit that uses the waste exhaust heat (which does nothing else useful) to make the H2 and O2.

Were  i not obsessed with this festival i might dive into this device and do some testing.  Charles says he drove it from Springfield MO to San Diego and got 60 mpg while an identical vehicle (owned by a friend) got 48 mpg – both Geo Metros.

[Pictures to come]


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