US20070039815A1 - Hydrogen Energy Systems - Google Patents

Hydrogen Energy Systems Download PDF

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US20070039815A1
US20070039815A1 US11465707 US46570706A US2007039815A1 US 20070039815 A1 US20070039815 A1 US 20070039815A1 US 11465707 US11465707 US 11465707 US 46570706 A US46570706 A US 46570706A US 2007039815 A1 US2007039815 A1 US 2007039815A1
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hydrogen
preferably
galvanic
gas
comprises
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US11465707
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Brian Bartel
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Bartel Brian G
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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C01INORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C01BNON-METALLIC ELEMENTS; COMPOUNDS THEREOF; METALLOIDS OR COMPOUNDS THEREOF NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASS C01C
    • C01B3/00Hydrogen; Gaseous mixtures containing hydrogen; Separation of hydrogen from mixtures containing it; Purification of hydrogen
    • C01B3/02Production of hydrogen or of gaseous mixtures containing a substantial proportion of hydrogen
    • C01B3/06Production of hydrogen or of gaseous mixtures containing a substantial proportion of hydrogen by reaction of inorganic compounds containing electro-positively bound hydrogen, e.g. water, acids, bases, ammonia, with inorganic reducing agents
    • C01B3/08Production of hydrogen or of gaseous mixtures containing a substantial proportion of hydrogen by reaction of inorganic compounds containing electro-positively bound hydrogen, e.g. water, acids, bases, ammonia, with inorganic reducing agents with metals
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C01INORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C01FCOMPOUNDS OF THE METALS BERYLLIUM, MAGNESIUM, ALUMINIUM, CALCIUM, STRONTIUM, BARIUM, RADIUM, THORIUM, OR OF THE RARE-EARTH METALS
    • C01F5/00Compounds of magnesium
    • C01F5/14Magnesium hydroxide
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C01INORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C01FCOMPOUNDS OF THE METALS BERYLLIUM, MAGNESIUM, ALUMINIUM, CALCIUM, STRONTIUM, BARIUM, RADIUM, THORIUM, OR OF THE RARE-EARTH METALS
    • C01F7/00Compounds of aluminium
    • C01F7/02Aluminium oxide; Aluminium hydroxide; Aluminates
    • C01F7/42Preparation of aluminium oxide or hydroxide from metallic aluminium, e.g. by oxidation
    • C01F7/428Preparation of aluminium oxide or hydroxide from metallic aluminium, e.g. by oxidation by oxidation in an aqueous solution
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C25ELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25BELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF COMPOUNDS OR NON-METALS; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25B5/00Electrogenerative processes, i.e. processes for producing compounds in which simultaneously electricity is generated
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E60/00Enabling technologies or technologies with a potential or indirect contribution to GHG emissions mitigation
    • Y02E60/30Hydrogen technology
    • Y02E60/36Hydrogen production from non-carbon containing sources

Abstract

A hydrogen energy system comprising galvanic hydrogen generators and hydrogen input manifolds for vehicle engines. The galvanic hydrogen generators generate hydrogen gas, magnesium hydroxide, and heat by the galvanic reaction of magnesium anodes with steel cathodes in salt water. Heat exchangers channel excess heat to a heat sink such as a thermocouple, Stirling engine, hot water system, etc. The hydrogen input manifold is bolted between the engine block and the air intake manifold of a gasoline or diesel engine. Hydrogen gas is injected into the hydrogen input manifold to provide supplementary fuel to the engine, lowering the amount of petroleum that is used.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    The present application is related to and claims priority from prior provisional application Ser. No. 60/710,538, filed Aug. 22, 2005, entitled “Hydrogen Energy Systems”, and is related to and claims priority from prior provisional application Ser. No. 60/745,056, filed Apr. 18, 2006, entitled “Hydrogen Energy Systems”, the contents of both of which are incorporated herein by this reference and are not admitted to be prior art with respect to the present invention by the mention in this cross-reference section.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to hydrogen energy systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to efficient galvanic hydrogen generation. Even more particularly, the present invention relates to hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines.
  • [0003]
    No system exists that efficiently, safely, and easily generates hydrogen gas from water for use as fuel without the need to supply electrical power from outside the hydrogen generator. Further, no system exists that provides safe and simple modification of gasoline or diesel-powered internal combustion engines to run partially on hydrogen fuel.
  • [0004]
    No system exists that efficiently, safely, and easily provides heated water and hydrogen for hot-water using appliances. Further, so system exists that provides UL listed appliances adapted to generate heat and hydrogen via galvanic reaction.
  • [0005]
    Therefore, a need exists for a system that provides for efficient, safe, and easy hydrogen generation from water without the need to supply electrical power from outside the hydrogen generator. Further, a need exists for a system that provides safe and simple modification of gasoline or diesel-powered internal combustion engines to run at least partially on hydrogen fuel.
  • [0006]
    Therefore, a need exists for a system that efficiently, safely, and easily provides heated water and hydrogen for hot-water using appliances. Further, a need exists for a system that provides UL listed appliances adapted to generate heat and hydrogen via galvanic reaction.
  • OBJECTS AND FEATURES OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    A primary object and feature of the present invention is to provide hydrogen energy systems.
  • [0008]
    It is a further primary object and feature of the present invention to provide such systems comprising galvanic hydrogen generators. It is a further primary object and feature of the present invention to provide such systems comprising hydrogen intake manifolds for internal combustion engines.
  • [0009]
    It is a further object and feature of the present invention to provide such systems comprising galvanic hydrogen generator kits. It is a further object and feature of the present invention to provide such systems comprising hydrogen intake manifold kits.
  • [0010]
    It is a further object and feature of the present invention to provide such systems comprising pre-made packets of galvanically corrodible materials usable for galvanic hydrogen generation.
  • [0011]
    It is a further object and feature of the present invention to provide such systems that efficiently, safely, and easily provide heated water and hydrogen for hot-water using appliances. A further object and feature of the present invention is to provide such a system that provides UL listed appliances adapted to generate heat and hydrogen via galvanic reaction.
  • [0012]
    A further primary object and feature of the present invention is to provide such systems that are efficient, inexpensive, and handy. Other objects and features of this invention will become apparent with reference to the following descriptions.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0013]
    In accordance with a preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one galvanic cell, comprising at least one anode; at least one cathode; and at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between such at least one anode and such at least one cathode; at least one container, adapted to contain such at least one galvanic cell, comprising volume in excess of five gallons, at least one construction seam, at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace, and at least one hydrogen gas release valve; wherein such at least one construction seam is substantially permanently sealed; wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about seven pounds; and wherein such at least one container is adapted to hold at least one quantity of water sufficient (relative to the quantity of such at least one anode) to prevent overheating resulting in passivation of such at least one anode.
  • [0014]
    Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one electrolyte comprising such at least one quantity of water. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one electrolyte comprises at least one solution of about twenty percent sea salt in water, by weight. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode, such at least one buffer, and such at least one cathode are electrically connected together by such at least one electrolyte. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises such at least one cathode. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises at least one electrolyte drain. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is located above such at least one electrolyte drain. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one construction seam is substantially permanently sealed by welding.
  • [0015]
    Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container further comprises at least one filter port. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one electrolyte filter. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about forty pounds. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about eighty pounds. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode comprises magnesium. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one buffer comprises aluminum. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises iron. Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises titanium.
  • [0016]
    Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one heat exchanger. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one heat-energy converter. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one heat-energy converter comprises at least one Stirling engine. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is less than about twenty millimeters away from such at least one buffer. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one buffer is less than about twenty millimeters away from such at least one cathode.
  • [0017]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one pH adjuster adapted to adjust pH of such at least one quantity of water to above about pH 10. Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one pH adjuster adapted to adjust pH of such at least one quantity of water to below about pH 10. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is substantially consumed within about one year. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to store hydrogen gas at pressures of about 400 pounds per square inch.
  • [0018]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator kit, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one galvanic cell, comprising at least one anode; wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about seven pounds; at least one cathode; and at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between such at least one anode and such at least one cathode; at least one container adapted to contain such at least one galvanic cell, comprising at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace; at least one hydrogen gas release valve; at least one water input port; and at least one water output port; wherein such at least one container is substantially permanently sealed (with the exception of such at least one hydrogen release valve, such at least one water input port, and such at least one water output port); and at least one instruction for using such at least one galvanic cell to generate hydrogen gas.
  • [0019]
    In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator kit, further comprising at least one electrolyte filter. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator kit, further comprising at least one heat exchanger. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator kit, further comprising at least one heat-energy converter. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator kit, wherein such at least one heat-energy converter comprises at least one Stirling engine.
  • [0020]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one galvanic charge, comprising at least one anode, and at least one electrolyte material; and at least one container comprising at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace, at least one hydrogen gas release valve, and at least one cathode; wherein such at least one container is adapted to hold at least one quantity of water sufficient (relative to the quantity of such at least one anode) to prevent overheating resulting in passivation of such at least one anode; and wherein hydrogen gas is generated when such at least one quantity of water and such at least one galvanic charge are placed into such at least one container.
  • [0021]
    Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode comprises at least one fines. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode comprises at least one pellet. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein the mass of such at least one quantity of water comprises at least about five times the mass of such at least one anode. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one electrolyte material comprises at least one salt. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one salt comprises sea-salt. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one galvanic charge further comprises at least one water-permeable container.
  • [0022]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one galvanic charge further comprises at least one water-soluble container. Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace is adapted to contain substantially all hydrogen gas generated by such at least one galvanic charge. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises such at least one cathode. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises at least one sealable opening. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode comprises magnesium. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one buffer comprises aluminum. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises iron. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises titanium.
  • [0023]
    Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one heat exchanger. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one heat-energy converter. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen storage tank. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises at least one filter port. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one electrolyte filter. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises at least one electrolyte drain. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is located above such at least one electrolyte drain. Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one pH adjuster adapted to adjust pH of such at least one quantity of water to above about pH 10. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one pH adjuster adapted to adjust pH of such at least one quantity of water to below about pH 10.
  • [0024]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator kit, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one galvanic charge, comprising at least one anode; and at least one electrolyte material; at least one container comprising at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace; at least one hydrogen gas release valve; and at least one cathode; at least one instruction for using such at least one galvanic charge and such at least one container to generate hydrogen gas.
  • [0025]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one magnesium fines; at least one magnesium pellet; at least one electrolyte material; at least one water-soluble container adapted to contain such at least one magnesium fines, such at least one magnesium pellet, and such at least one electrolyte material. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one cathode. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one electrolyte material comprises sea salt.
  • [0026]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a hydrogen fuel system, relating to injecting hydrogen fuel into at least one internal combustion engine in at least one vehicle, comprising: at least one hydrogen input manifold adapted to input hydrogen between at least one input manifold and at least one cylinder head of such at least one internal combustion engine; wherein such at least one hydrogen input manifold comprises at least one plenum adapted to pass gas between such at least one input manifold and such at least one cylinder head; at least one hydrogen provider adapted to provide hydrogen gas; at least one hydrogen conduit adapted to conduct such hydrogen gas from such at least one hydrogen provider to such at least one hydrogen input manifold; wherein such at least one hydrogen input manifold comprises at least one hydrogen port adapted to port such hydrogen gas from such at least one hydrogen conduit into such at least one plenum; at least one pressure regulator adapted to regulate pressure of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port; and at least one flow regulator adapted to regulate flow of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port.
  • [0027]
    And, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein each of such at least one plenums passes gas between exactly one output port of such at least one input manifold and exactly one input port of such at least one cylinder head. Further, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one hydrogen provider comprises at least one hydrogen storage tank. Even further, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one hydrogen provider comprises at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to hold hydrogen gas compressed to about 400 pounds per square inch. Moreover, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one hydrogen provider comprises at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to hold hydrogen gas compressed to about 300 pounds per square inch.
  • [0028]
    Additionally, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one flow regulator comprises at least one switch adapted to switch hydrogen gas flow through such at least one hydrogen conduit on and off. Also, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one flow regulator comprises at least one switch accessible to at least one driver of such at least one vehicle while driving. In addition, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one hydrogen conduit comprises at least one gas manifold. And, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one hydrogen conduit comprises at least one tuner adapted to assist tuning such flow of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port. Further, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, further comprising at least one idle sensor adapted to sense idling of such at least one vehicle.
  • [0029]
    Even further, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, further comprising at least one seal adapted to seal between such at least one hydrogen input manifold and such at least one input manifold. Moreover, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, further comprising at least one seal adapted to seal between such at least one hydrogen input manifold and such at least one cylinder head. Additionally, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, further comprising at least one fastener adapted to fasten such at least one hydrogen input manifold between such at least one input manifold and such at least one cylinder head. Also, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, wherein such at least one fastener comprises at least one bolt. In addition, it provides such a hydrogen fuel system, further comprising at least one pressure gauge adapted to gauge hydrogen gas pressure provided by such at least one hydrogen provider.
  • [0030]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a hydrogen fuel kit, relating to injecting hydrogen fuel into at least one internal combustion engine in at least one vehicle, comprising: at least one hydrogen input manifold adapted to input hydrogen between at least one input manifold and at least one cylinder head of at least one internal combustion engine; wherein such at least one hydrogen input manifold comprises at least one plenum adapted to pass gas between such at least one input manifold and such at least one cylinder head; at least one hydrogen provider adapted to provide hydrogen gas; at least one hydrogen conduit adapted to conduct such hydrogen gas from such at least one hydrogen provider to such at least one hydrogen input manifold; wherein such at least one hydrogen input manifold comprises at least one hydrogen port adapted to port such hydrogen gas from such at least one hydrogen conduit into such at least one plenum; at least one pressure regulator adapted to regulate pressure of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port; at least one flow regulator adapted to regulate flow of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port; at least one instruction adapted to instruct at least one user to install and use such at least one hydrogen input manifold in at least one vehicle.
  • [0031]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a hydrogen fuel kit, relating to injecting hydrogen fuel into at least one internal combustion engine in at least one vehicle, comprising: at least one hydrogen input manifold instruction adapted to instruct at least one user to construct at least one hydrogen input manifold adapted to fit between at least one input manifold and at least one cylinder head of at least one internal combustion engine; at least one parts list adapted to list parts required to install such at least one hydrogen input manifold in such at least one internal combustion engine; at least one parts list adapted to list parts required to supply hydrogen gas to such at least one hydrogen input manifold; and at least one instruction adapted to instruct at least one user to install and use such at least one constructed hydrogen input manifold in such at least one vehicle.
  • [0032]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a method, relating to adapting petroleum-fueled vehicles to use hydrogen fuel, comprising the steps of: installing at least one hydrogen input manifold between at least one intake manifold and at least one cylinder head of at least one engine of at least one vehicle; installing at least one hydrogen storage tank in such at least one vehicle; installing at least one conduit between such at least one hydrogen storage tank and such at least one hydrogen input manifold; and installing at least one shutoff between such at least one hydrogen storage tank and such at least one hydrogen input manifold. And, it provides such a method, further comprising the step of filling such at least one vehicle hydrogen storage tank with hydrogen gas.
  • [0033]
    Further, it provides such a method, further comprising the step of injecting hydrogen gas from such at least one vehicle hydrogen storage tank into such at least one hydrogen input manifold while such at least one engine is running. Even further, it provides such a method, further comprising the step of using galvanically generated hydrogen to fill such at least one vehicle hydrogen storage tank. Moreover, it provides such a method, further comprising the step of adapting such at least one vehicle to run exclusively on hydrogen when such at least one engine is operating at idle speed.
  • [0034]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one anode; at least one container, adapted to contain such at least one anode, comprising volume in excess of three gallons, at least one cathode; at least one lid, at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace, and at least one hydrogen gas release valve; at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between such at least one anode and such at least one cathode; at least one heat exchanger adapted to move heat from inside such at least one container to outside of such at least one container; wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about one-half pound.
  • [0035]
    Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one electrolyte comprising such at least one quantity of water. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one electrolyte comprises at least one solution of about twenty percent sea salt in water, by weight. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode, such at least one buffer, and such at least one cathode are electrically connected together by such at least one electrolyte. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises at least one electrolyte drain. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is located above such at least one electrolyte drain.
  • [0036]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode comprises magnesium. Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one buffer comprises aluminum. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises iron. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises titanium. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is substantially consumed within about one week. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to store hydrogen gas at pressures under about 400 pounds per square inch. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator system comprises at least one Underwriters Laboratories listed appliance.
  • [0037]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one galvanic hydrogen generator, comprising: at least one anode; at least one container, adapted to contain such at least one anode, comprising volume in excess of three gallons, at least one cathode; at least one lid, at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace, and at least one hydrogen gas release valve; at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between such at least one anode and such at least one cathode; at least one heat exchanger adapted to move heat from inside such at least one container to outside of such at least one container; wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about one half pound; at least one water tank adapted to receive heat from such at least one heat exchanger.
  • [0038]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one gas-burning water heater. Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen supply tube adapted to supply hydrogen from such at least one container to such at least one gas-burning water heater. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen gas regulator adapted to regulate flow of hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen supply tube. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one electrolyte comprising such at least one quantity of water. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one electrolyte comprises at least one solution of about twenty percent sea salt in water, by weight. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode, such at least one buffer, and such at least one cathode are electrically connected together by such at least one electrolyte.
  • [0039]
    Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one container comprises at least one electrolyte drain. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is located above such at least one electrolyte drain. Moreover, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode comprises magnesium. Additionally, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one buffer comprises aluminum. Also, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises iron. In addition, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one cathode comprises titanium. And, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one anode is substantially consumed within about one week. Further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to store hydrogen gas at pressures under about 400 pounds per square inch.
  • [0040]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen leak sensor. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one hydrogen pressure sensor. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one remote monitoring system. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator comprises at least one Underwriters Laboratories listed appliance.
  • [0041]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising the steps of: operating at least one galvanic hydrogen generator; transferring heat from such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator to at least one quantity of water contained in at least one tank; transferring heated water from such at least one tank to at least one clothes washing machine; and replacing at least one old magnesium-containing anode of such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator with at least one new magnesium-containing anode. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of burning hydrogen.
  • [0042]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of burning hydrogen in at least one water heater. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of co-burning hydrogen in at least one natural gas water heater. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of burning hydrogen in at least one fuel cell. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of collecting hydrogen in at least one storage tank. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of selling such collected hydrogen.
  • [0043]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of remotely monitoring such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of remotely monitoring at least one hydrogen leak sensor. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of remotely monitoring at least one hydrogen pressure sensor. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising the step of remotely monitoring at least one water temperature sensor. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such step of transferring heated water from such at least one tank to at least one clothes washing machine comprises the step of transferring heated water from such at least one tank to at least one commercial clothes washing machine. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such at least one tank comprises at least one water storage tank. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, wherein such step of operating at least one galvanic hydrogen generator comprises the step of operating at least one Underwriters Laboratories listed galvanic hydrogen generator.
  • [0044]
    In accordance with another preferred embodiment hereof, this invention provides a galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising: at least one galvanic hydrogen generator, comprising: at least one anode comprising magnesium; at least one container, adapted to contain such at least one anode, comprising volume in excess of about three gallons; at least one cathode; at least one lid, at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace, and at least one hydrogen gas release valve; at least one heat exchanger adapted to assist heat exchange between such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator and at least one heat sink; wherein such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator is Underwriters Laboratories listed.
  • [0045]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between such at least one anode and such at least one cathode. Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising at least one electrolyte comprising at least one quantity of water.
  • [0046]
    Even further, it provides such a galvanic hydrogen generator system, further comprising each and every novel feature, element, combination, step and/or method disclosed or suggested by this patent application.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0047]
    FIG. 1 shows a side view illustrating a large galvanic hydrogen generator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 2 shows a side view illustrating the large galvanic hydrogen generator, according to FIG. 1, with an electrolyte filter and a hydrogen storage tank.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 3A shows a top view illustrating a stack according to the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 3B shows a side view illustrating a stack according to the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 3C shows a front view illustrating a stack according to the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 4 shows section 4-4 of FIG. 1 illustrating the galvanic corrosion of the stack, with an expanded detail.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 5 shows a Pourbaix diagram illustrating the electrochemical behavior of magnesium under different conditions of electrical potential and electrolyte pH.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 6A shows a diagram illustrating the electrochemical cell of magnesium and aluminum.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 6B shows a diagram illustrating the electrochemical cell of aluminum and iron.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 6C shows a diagram illustrating the electrochemical cell of magnesium and iron.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 7 shows a diagram illustrating the combined electrochemical cell of magnesium, aluminum, and iron.
  • [0058]
    FIG. 8 shows a front view illustrating a kit comprising the large galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 1, an electrolyte filter, electrolyte, and a hydrogen storage tank.
  • [0059]
    FIG. 9 shows a side view illustrating a small galvanic hydrogen generator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, with an optional water outlet.
  • [0060]
    FIG. 10 shows a side view illustrating the small galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 9, with a heat exchanger.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 1 shows a side view illustrating the small galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 9, with a heat exchanger coupled to a titanium cathode.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 12 shows a block diagram illustrating the types of energy available from the hydrogen energy system.
  • [0063]
    FIG. 13 shows a perspective view illustrating a galvanic charge in a water-permeable pouch according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0064]
    FIG. 14 shows a perspective view illustrating a galvanic charge in a water-soluble pouch according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 15 shows a diagram illustrating a method of generating hydrogen gas with a galvanic charge according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 16 shows a side view illustrating a plurality of small galvanic hydrogen generators serially feeding hydrogen to a large hydrogen storage tank.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 17 shows a front view illustrating a kit comprising the small galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 9, a galvanic charge, and instructions.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 18 shows a front view illustrating a hydrogen intake manifold system according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0069]
    FIG. 19 shows a front view illustrating a modification of the hydrogen intake manifold system according to FIG. 18 comprising tunable hydrogen supply tubes.
  • [0070]
    FIG. 20 shows a cross-sectional view illustrating the hydrogen intake manifold according to FIG. 18 installed between the engine block and the air intake manifold of a typical Honda four-cylinder engine.
  • [0071]
    FIG. 21 shows a front view illustrating a hydrogen intake manifold kit according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0072]
    FIG. 22 shows a front view illustrating a hydrogen intake manifold instructions kit according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0073]
    FIG. 23 shows a diagram illustrating a method of installing a hydrogen intake manifold.
  • [0074]
    FIG. 24 shows a front view illustrating a galvanic hydrogen generator according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 25 shows a top view illustrating the galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 24.
  • [0076]
    FIG. 26 shows section 26-26 of FIG. 24 illustrating the galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 24.
  • [0077]
    FIG. 27 shows section 27-27 of FIG. 24 illustrating the galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 24.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 28 shows a front view illustrating another galvanic hydrogen generator according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0079]
    FIG. 29 shows a top view illustrating the galvanic hydrogen generator according to FIG. 27.
  • [0080]
    FIG. 30 shows a front view of a galvanic hydrogen cell according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0081]
    FIG. 31 shows a side view of the galvanic hydrogen cell according to FIG. 30.
  • [0082]
    FIG. 32 shows a block diagram illustrating a galvanic hydrogen generator adapted to provide heated water and hydrogen gas to users.
  • [0083]
    FIG. 33 shows a block diagram illustrating a galvanic hydrogen generator appliance adapted to provide heated water and hydrogen gas to users.
  • [0084]
    FIG. 34 shows a block diagram illustrating a method of using a galvanic hydrogen generator to provide heated water and hydrogen gas to commercial laundry equipment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE BEST MODES AND PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0085]
    FIG. 1 shows a side view illustrating large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises large galvanic hydrogen generator 110, as shown. Preferably, large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 comprises a container, preferably tank 115, and galvanic cell 130, as shown.
  • [0086]
    Preferably, tank 115 comprises a gas-tight tank, preferably a stainless steel tank, preferably a 99-gallon gas tank (preferably a propane tank that has been temporarily opened to receive galvanic cell 130 and then has been sealed shut again along construction seam 114), as shown. Preferably, tank 115 comprises gas outlet 116, pressure gauge 117, valve 118, filter 119, and support 120, as shown. Preferably, tank 115 further comprises water outlet 122, as shown. Preferably, filter 119 removes water vapor from hydrogen gas 152. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other tanks, such as plastic tanks, no tank (open ocean), other tank accessories such as pressure alarms, temperature alarms, pressure relief valves, etc., may suffice.
  • [0087]
    Preferably, galvanic cell 130 comprises stack 131 comprising anode 132, buffer 134, and cathode 136, as shown. Preferably, cathode 136 is more electropositive than anode 132. Preferably, buffer 134 is between anode 132 and cathode 136 in electronegative potential. Preferably, anode 132 comprises magnesium, buffer 134 comprises aluminum, and cathode 136 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one cathode comprises iron) comprises iron (preferably stainless steel). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other galvanic cell arrangements, such as other metals, no buffer, membrane buffers, etc., may suffice.
  • [0088]
    Preferably, galvanic cell 130 comprises electrolyte 140, as shown. Preferably, electrolyte 140 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one electrolyte material comprises at least one salt) comprises at least one ionic compound, preferably at least one salt, preferably sea-salt. Most preferably, electrolyte 140 comprises an ionic compound, preferably sea-salt, preferably dissolved in water to form a twenty-percent solution by weight (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one electrolyte material comprises sea salt; and at least embodying herein wherein such at least one electrolyte comprises at least one solution of about twenty percent sea salt in water, by weight). Preferably, tank 115 is at least about half filled with electrolyte 140, as shown, most preferably filled to at least cover anode 132, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other electrolyte solutions, such as sodium chloride from other sources, other ionic compounds, other salts, other salt percentages, semi-solid electrolytes, solid electrolytes, gaseous electrolytes, etc., may suffice.
  • [0089]
    Preferably, when stack 131 and electrolyte 140 are placed in tank 115, anode 132 rapidly galvanically corrodes, preferably producing magnesium hydroxide 150, while hydrogen gas 152 is evolved on cathode 136 and to a lesser extent on buffer 134 (which also slowly galvanically corrodes to form aluminum hydroxide). Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 bubbles up into headspace 153 for storage, as shown. Preferably, this galvanic corrosion reaction continues until all of anode 132 has been consumed.
  • [0090]
    Preferably, water outlet 122 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one container comprises at least one electrolyte drain) is opened to release electrolyte 140 in order to stop hydrogen gas 152 generation by stopping the galvanic corrosion of anode 132. Preferably, support 120 supports stack 131 while permitting electrolyte 140 to flow freely through support 120, as shown. Preferably, support 120 is a cathodic metal screen, or a strong perforated plastic plate, etc. Preferably, stack 131 rests on support 120 which is preferably above water outlet 122 (at least embodying herein at least one water output port; and at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode is located above such at least one electrolyte drain), as shown, so that electrolyte 140 can drain entirely off stack 131, stopping the galvanic corrosion of anode 132. This arrangement also permits magnesium hydroxide 150 to settle to the bottom of tank 115 without covering up portions of stack 131, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other arrangements, such as suspending the stack above the bottom of the tank, resting the stack on the bottom of the tank, other supports, other methods of stopping the galvanic reaction such as polarizing the electrodes, modifying the electrolyte pH, etc., may suffice.
  • [0091]
    FIG. 2 shows a side view illustrating large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 according to FIG. 1, with electrolyte filter 164 and hydrogen storage tank 215. Preferably, tank 115 further comprises filter inlet port 160 (at least embodying herein at least one water input port), filter outlet port 162 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one container comprises at least one filter port), and filter 164, as shown. Preferably, filter 164 comprises pump 165, as shown. Preferably, pump 165 pumps electrolyte 140 through filter 164, removing precipitated magnesium hydroxide 150 from electrolyte 140.
  • [0092]
    Preferably, large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 comprises storage tank 215, as shown. Preferably, storage tank 215 comprises a gas-tight tank, preferably a stainless steel tank, preferably a 99-gallon propane tank, as shown. Preferably, excess hydrogen gas 152 from tank 115 is moved into storage tank 215 for storage, as shown. Preferably, the galvanic corrosion reaction of anode 132 and cathode 136 produces hydrogen gas 152 in sufficient quantities to generate pressures of at least 100 psi, preferably 300 psi, more preferably 400 psi (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to store hydrogen gas at pressures of about 400 pounds per square inch). Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 pressure is monitored and is maintained at a level that is convenient for storage and transfer of hydrogen gas 152 while being safely within the pressure capabilities of tank 115 and/or tank 215. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other hydrogen storage methods, such as generating metal hydrides, pressurizing the hydrogen, liquefying the hydrogen, using multiple storage tanks, etc., may suffice.
  • [0093]
    FIG. 3A shows a top view illustrating stack 131 according to the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1. Preferably, stack 131 comprises about seven layers of cathodes 136, about six layers of anodes 132, and about ten layers of buffers 134, as shown. Preferably, buffers 134 are placed between cathodes 136 and anodes 132, as shown, in order to slow the galvanic corrosion reaction between anodes 132 and cathodes 136. Preferably, the layers of stack 131 are spaced closely together enough to minimize the electrical resistance of electrolyte 140 while still permitting free flow of electrolyte 140 between the layers of stack 131, as shown. Preferably, the centers of anodes 132 and buffers 134 are no more than about twenty millimeters apart (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode is adapted to be no more than about twenty millimeters away from such at least one buffer). Preferably, the sides of anodes 132 and buffers 134 are no less than about five millimeters apart to start. Preferably, the centers of buffers 134 and cathodes 136 are no more than about twenty millimeters apart (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one buffer is adapted to be no more than about twenty millimeters away from such at least one cathode). Preferably, the sides of buffers 134 and cathodes 136 are no less than about five millimeters apart to start. The Inventor has experimentally found that this spacing provides a consistent and rapid galvanic reaction that avoids overheating and the resulting electrode polarization. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other arrangements, such as other geometric arrangements, other spacings; other electrical connections; other methods of fastening the anodes, cathodes, and buffers to the straps; not using straps; not electrically connecting the anodes to each other; using other numbers of layers of anodes, cathodes, and buffers; not using buffers; etc., may suffice.
  • [0094]
    Preferably, anodes 132 are about three inches wide by about twelve inches tall by about one inch thick and weigh about seven pounds each (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about seven pounds). Preferably, stack 131 comprises about twelve anodes 132, as shown. Preferably, anodes 132 are electrically connected to each other with strap 133, as shown. Preferably, strap 133 is connected to anodes 132 with bolts 135, as shown, which are preferably self-tapped into holes drilled into anodes 132 in order to provide a good electrical connection and to prevent electrolyte access which causes galvanic corrosion between anodes 132 and bolts 135. The thickness of anodes 132 is the only important dimension, because the thickness determines the distance between the surfaces of anodes 132 and the surfaces of buffers 134 as anodes 132 corrode. Preferably, stack 131 comprises at least about forty pounds of anode 132 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about forty pounds). More preferably, stack 131 comprises at least about eighty pounds of anode 132, most preferably about eighty-four pounds of anode 132 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about eighty pounds). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, electrolyte concentration, etc., other anode configurations, such as other electronegative metals, magnesium-based alloys, other numbers of anodes, other shapes of anodes, other weights of anodes, other thicknesses of anodes, anodes that are pre-saturated with hydrogen gas (metal hydride anodes) prior to galvanic reaction, etc., may suffice.
  • [0095]
    Preferably, cathodes 136 are about as tall and wide as the adjacent anodes 132, as shown, and are about one-quarter inch thick. Preferably, cathodes 136 are electrically connected to each other with strap 137, as shown. Preferably, strap 137 is connected to cathodes 136 with bolts 138, as shown. Preferably, where tank 115 comprises stainless steel, tank 115 comprises another cathode 136 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one container comprises such at least one cathode), as shown (or, optionally, the only cathode 136). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, electrolyte concentration, etc., other anode configurations, such as other electropositive metals, other iron-based alloys, other numbers of cathodes, other shapes of cathodes, other weights of cathodes, other thicknesses of cathodes, etc., may suffice.
  • [0096]
    Preferably, buffers 134 are about as tall and wide as the adjacent anodes 132, as shown, and are about one-quarter inch thick. Preferably, buffers 134 are electrically connected to each other with strap 138, as shown. Preferably, strap 138 is connected to buffers 134 with bolts 139, as shown. Preferably, buffers 134 are optional. Preferably, where buffers 134 are not used, the centers of anodes 132 and cathodes 136 are no more than about twenty millimeters apart. Preferably, where buffers 134 are not used, the sides of anodes 132 and cathodes 136 are no less than about five millimeters apart to start. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, electrolyte concentration, etc., other anode configurations, such as other metals, aluminum alloys, other numbers of buffers, no buffers, other shapes of buffers, other weights of buffers, other thicknesses of buffers, other buffer spacing, etc., may suffice.
  • [0097]
    FIG. 3B shows a side view illustrating stack 131 according to the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1.
  • [0098]
    FIG. 3C shows a front view illustrating stack 131 according to the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1.
  • [0099]
    FIG. 4 shows section 4-4 of FIG. 1 illustrating the galvanic corrosion of stack 131, with an expanded detail. Preferably, in the presence of electrolyte 140, anodes 132 are galvanically corroded by cathodes 136, generating magnesium hydroxide 150 and hydrogen gas 152, as shown, while also evolving heat and causing an electrical current to flow between anode 132 and cathode 136. Preferably, magnesium hydroxide 150 settles to the bottom of tank 115 (assuming anodes 132 are magnesium), as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 bubbles up into headspace 153 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace), as shown. Preferably, the electrical current flows through electrolyte 140 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode, such at least one buffer, and such at least one cathode are electrically connected together by such at least one electrolyte); however, anodes 132 and cathodes 136 can also be preferably wired together to permit the electrical current to flow more efficiently, and/or to permit the electrical current to be harnessed for electrical power. Preferably, galvanic cell 130 (at least embodying herein at least one galvanic cell) as described will generate hydrogen gas 152 and heat at a consistent and convenient rate (preferably at least sufficient hydrogen to supplement the daily fuel of a typical commuter car) for at least about six months, preferably for at least about one year (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode is substantially consumed within about one year). Preferably, when anodes 132 have been consumed, large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 is replaced with a new large galvanic hydrogen generator 110, while the used large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 is taken away for recycling. Due to the possibility of hydrogen embrittlement of tank 115, tank 115 should be thoroughly inspected before re-use. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other methods of use, such as remote generator monitoring, generator leasing, adapting the system to provide other hydrogen generation rates, etc., may suffice.
  • [0100]
    FIG. 5 shows a Pourbaix diagram illustrating the electrochemical behavior of magnesium under different conditions of electrical potential and electrolyte pH. Preferably, where anode 132 substantially comprises magnesium, cathode 136 is selected to provide an electrical potential that will result in corrosion conditions below line (a), as shown, wherein magnesium anode 132 corrodes while hydrogen gas 152 is produced at cathode 136. Preferably, electrolyte 140 is filtered and adjusted as needed to maintain pH below the pH boundary for passivation, as shown, which is where magnesium anode 132 corrodes to form magnesium oxide which is insoluble and which tends to seal anode 132 against further corrosion. The pH of the system may be purposefully raised into the passivation zone in order to shut-down the galvanic corrosion reaction, if desired (at least embodying herein at least one pH adjuster adapted to adjust pH of such at least one quantity of water to above about pH 10). The Pourbaix diagram shown is for pure magnesium in water at 25 degrees Celsius. This diagram was cited from a book by Marcel Pourbaix: “Atlas of Electrochemical Equilibria in Aqueous Solutions”, Pergamon, N.Y., 1966.
  • [0101]
    Preferably, large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 operates at a steady electrolyte 140 temperature between about one hundred to about one hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit, preferably about one hundred thirty five degrees Fahrenheit. Also, electrolyte 140 is preferably salt water, not pure water. These temperature and electrolyte 140 changes will affect the Pourbaix diagram of the immunity (unreactive bare metal), corrosion, and passivation (unreactive metal oxide surface) conditions for magnesium anodes 132. Excessive temperature and excessively high pH will result in passivation. Preferably, a sufficiently large volume of electrolyte 140 is used to prevent overheating, preferably by providing a sufficient surface area to radiate away excess heat through tank 115. Preferably, electrolyte 140 is filtered and/or replaced as needed to remove suspended magnesium hydroxide 150 and thereby lower electrolyte 140 pH (at least embodying herein at least one pH adjuster adapted to adjust pH of such at least one quantity of water to below about pH 10). Preferably, the conditions for corrosion below line (a) are maintained for efficient hydrogen gas 152 generation.
  • [0102]
    Preferably, electrolyte 140 comprises sea-salt water (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one salt comprises sea-salt), as shown. The chloride ions present in electrolyte 140 freely exchange with the hydroxide ions in the magnesium hydroxide 150 on the surfaces of anodes 132 to form magnesium chloride, which is highly soluble. The magnesium chloride dissolves in electrolyte 140 and then freely exchanges with hydroxide ions in solution to form magnesium hydroxide again, some of which precipitates and settles to the bottom of tank 115, as shown. In this way, the surfaces of anodes 132 are kept clean and available for corrosion reactions. Other sea-salt ions, such as fluoride, bromide, and iodide, also participate.
  • [0103]
    FIG. 6A shows a diagram illustrating the electrochemical cell of magnesium and aluminum. Preferably, magnesium anode 132 reacts with water to form magnesium hydroxide 150 while hydrogen gas 152 forms on the aluminum cathode 136, as shown. This reaction is driven by the galvanic electrical potential of the magnesium-aluminum cell, which is about 0.67 Volts in seawater, as shown.
  • [0104]
    FIG. 6B shows a diagram illustrating the electrochemical cell of aluminum and iron. Preferably, aluminum anode 132 reacts with water to form aluminum hydroxide while hydrogen gas 152 forms on the iron cathode 136, as shown. This reaction is driven by the galvanic electrical potential of the aluminum-iron cell, which is about 1.23 Volts in seawater, as shown.
  • [0105]
    FIG. 6C shows a diagram illustrating the electrochemical cell of magnesium and iron. Preferably, magnesium anode 132 reacts with water to form magnesium hydroxide 150 while hydrogen gas 152 forms on the iron cathode 136, as shown. This reaction is driven by the galvanic electrical potential of the magnesium-iron cell, which is about 1.93 Volts in seawater, as shown.
  • [0106]
    FIG. 7 shows a diagram illustrating the combined electrochemical cell of magnesium, aluminum, and iron. Preferably, magnesium anode 132 reacts with water to form magnesium hydroxide 150 while hydrogen gas 152 forms on the iron cathode 136, as shown. This reaction is driven by the galvanic electrical potential of the magnesium-iron cell, which is about 1.93 Volts in seawater, as shown. Preferably, aluminum buffer 134 behaves as a cathode 136 to the magnesium and as an anode 132 to the iron, as shown. Preferably, aluminum buffer 134 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one buffer comprises aluminum) corrodes only slightly because it receives anodic protection from the magnesium.
  • [0107]
    Preferably, buffer 134 (at least embodying herein at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between such at least one anode and such at least one cathode) slows the galvanic reaction between anode 132 and cathode 136 by physically and electrically separating anode 132 and cathode 136, which slows the galvanic reaction enough to permit a large mass of anode 132 to be packed into the small space of tank 115 (at least embodying herein at least one container adapted to contain such at least one galvanic cell) without overheating, as shown in FIG. 4. By slowing the galvanic reaction between anode 132 and cathode 136, anode 132 is protected from passivation caused by overheating and/or excessive pH. This permits large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 to generate hydrogen gas 152 at a consistent rate for long periods of time. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended hydrogen generation rate, etc., other buffers, such as no buffers, membrane buffers, other metal buffers, salt bridges, etc., may suffice.
  • [0108]
    FIG. 8 shows a front view illustrating kit 800 comprising large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 according to FIG. 1, electrolyte filter 164, electrolyte 140, and hydrogen storage tank 215. Preferably, kit 800 is deliverable to a user at any location. Preferably, stack 131 comes pre-installed in tank 115, as shown. In an alternative preferred embodiment, stack 131 is placed into tank 115 by the user. Preferably, kit 800 is assembled by attaching electrolyte filter 164 (at least embodying herein at least one electrolyte filter), adding water and electrolyte 140 to large galvanic hydrogen generator 110, and then sealing large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one container is substantially permanently sealed), preferably by welding tank 115 along construction seam 114 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one container is substantially permanently sealed by welding). Preferably, in order to prevent hydrogen gas 152 generation during welding, electrolyte 140 (preferably dry salt, concentrated brine, etc.) is contained in a time-delayed-opening container, preferably a water-soluble pouch. In an alternative preferred embodiment, water is added through electrolyte filter 164 ports after tank 115 is welded. After tank 115 is sealed, it preferably remains sealed at least until anode 132 is consumed, in order to prevent hydrogen gas 152 leakage.
  • [0109]
    Preferably, excess hydrogen gas 152 pressure from tank 115 is transferred into storage tank 215, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is taken from storage tank 215 as needed for use as fuel. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, etc., other kit components, such as usage meters, payment receivers, other hydrogen transfer hose or tube connections, insulation, radiators, additional stacks, monitoring equipment, voltage converters, anode depletion indicators, etc., may suffice.
  • [0110]
    FIG. 9 shows a side view illustrating small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, with optional water outlet 922. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises small galvanic hydrogen generator 910, as shown. Preferably, small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 comprises tank 915 and galvanic cell 930, as shown.
  • [0111]
    Preferably, tank 915 comprises a gas tank, preferably a stainless steel gas tank, preferably a 20-pound capacity propane tank, as shown. Preferably, tank 915 comprises gas outlet 116, pressure gauge 117, valve 118 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen gas release valve), filter 119, and support 920, as shown. Preferably, tank 915 further comprises water outlet 922 (which is optional), as shown. Preferably, filter 119 removes water vapor and/or other impurities from hydrogen gas 152. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, economics, etc., other tanks, such as conventional gas cylinders, other sizes of liquefied gas tanks, other types of high-pressure tanks, non-metal containers, etc., may suffice.
  • [0112]
    Preferably, galvanic cell 930 comprises anode 932 and cathode 936, as shown. Preferably, cathode 936 is more electropositive than anode 932. Preferably, anode 932 comprises magnesium and cathode 936 comprises iron (preferably stainless steel). Most preferably, cathode 936 comprises tank 915, as shown.
  • [0113]
    Preferably, galvanic cell 930 comprises electrolyte 140, as shown. Preferably, a sufficient volume of water with electrolyte 140 is present to prevent passivation of anode 932 by radiating away excess heat and by having sufficient volume to prevent the pH of electrolyte 140 from getting too high (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one container is adapted to hold at least one quantity of water sufficient (relative to the quantity of such at least one anode) to prevent overheating resulting in passivation of such at least one anode). Preferably, the pH of electrolyte 140 reaches a steady state during the galvanic reaction that is dependent primarily on the electrolyte 140 volume, the electrolyte 140 temperature, the anode 132 surface area, the cathode 936 surface area, and the concentration of electrolyte 140. Preferably, tank 915 is at least about half filled with electrolyte 140, as shown (preferably about two to three gallons of electrolyte 140 in the case of a 20-lb capacity propane tank using about five pounds of anode 132). Most preferably, a mass of water comprising at least about five times the mass of anode 932 is used (at least embodying herein wherein the mass of such at least one quantity of water comprises at least about five times the mass of such at least one anode). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, type of electrolyte, presence of a heat exchanger, etc., other quantities of electrolyte, such as the ocean, just enough electrolyte to cover the anodes, a larger quantity of electrolyte recirculating from a separate tank or heat exchanger, etc., may suffice.
  • [0114]
    Preferably, when anode 132 and electrolyte 140 are placed in tank 915, anode 932 rapidly galvanically corrodes, preferably producing magnesium hydroxide 150, while hydrogen gas 152 is evolved on cathode 936 (at least embodying herein wherein hydrogen gas is generated when such at least one quantity of water and such at least one galvanic charge are placed into such at least one container), as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 bubbles up into headspace 953 for storage, as shown. Preferably, a quantity of anode 132 is used that will produce a quantity of hydrogen gas 152 that is safely containable by headspace 953 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace is adapted to contain substantially all hydrogen gas generated by such at least one galvanic charge) in tank 915, even if anode 932 is completely consumed without releasing any hydrogen gas 152 from tank 915. Preferably, about five pounds of magnesium shot are used as anode 932 in the case of a 20-lb capacity propane tank, as shown. Preferably, anode 932 comprises small pellets of anode material (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode comprises at least one pellet), most preferably magnesium shot, as shown. Preferably, anode 932 comprises at least one portion of anode material fines having very large surface area (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode comprises at least one fines), as shown, preferably shavings, powder, fine wires, etc. Preferably, the anode material fines corrode very rapidly to quickly generate a useful pressure of hydrogen gas 152 in tank 915. Preferably, about one-fifth of anode 932 initially comprises anode material fines. Preferably, anode 932 is consumed within hours or days in this preferred arrangement.
  • [0115]
    Preferably, optional water outlet 922 is opened to release electrolyte 140 in order to stop hydrogen gas 152 generation by stopping the galvanic corrosion of anode 132. Preferably, support 920 supports anode 932 while permitting electrolyte 140 to flow freely through support 920, as shown. Preferably, support 920 comprises a cathodic metal screen, as shown, or a perforated plastic plate, etc. Preferably, anode 932 rests on support 920 which is preferably above water outlet 922, as shown, so that electrolyte 140 can drain entirely off of anode 932 and substantially stop the galvanic corrosion of anode 932. This arrangement also permits magnesium hydroxide 150 to settle to the bottom of tank 915 without covering up portions of anode 932, as shown. Any magnesium hydroxide that is released into the environment by draining electrolyte 140 is substantially environmentally harmless (magnesium hydroxide is milk of magnesia, a common antacid). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, safety regulations, etc., other reaction shut-down procedures, such as poisoning the electrolyte, passivating the electrodes, freezing the electrolyte, removing the cathodes, etc., may suffice.
  • [0116]
    FIG. 10 shows a side view illustrating small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 according to FIG. 9, with heat exchanger 1000. Preferably, small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 comprises heat exchanger 1000, as shown. Preferably, heat exchanger 1000 absorbs heat from tank 915 and transports that heat to heat sink 1005 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one heat-energy converter comprises at least one Stirling engine), as shown, which preferably comprises a Stirling engine, a thermocouple, a water heater, and/or a home heating system, etc. Preferably, heat exchanger 1000 at least comprises tubing 1010 and pump 1020, as shown. Preferably, pump 1020 pumps fluid (preferably water, oil, helium, etc.) through tubing 1010 as a heat carrier. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, rate of heat removal required to avoid passivation, etc., other heat exchanger arrangements, such as submerging the hydrogen generator in fluid, radiator fins on the tank, heat exchange tubes internal to the tank, exchanging heat directly from the electrodes, etc., may suffice.
  • [0117]
    FIG. 11 shows a side view illustrating small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 according to FIG. 9, with heat exchanger 1100 coupled to titanium cathode 1136. Preferably, small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 comprises heat exchanger 1100, as shown. Preferably, heat exchanger 1100 comprises at least one titanium cathode 1136, tubing 1110, and pump 1020, as shown. Preferably, pump 1020 pumps fluid (preferably water, oil, glycol, air, etc.) through tubing 1110 as a heat carrier. Preferably, heat is transferred directly off of titanium cathode 1136 which is preferably a rod partially inserted into tank 915, as shown. In an alternative preferred embodiment, titanium cathode 1136 is placed entirely into tank 915 and heat exchanger 1000 is used to remove the excess heat, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, desired reaction rate, etc., other cathode materials, such as graphite, platinum, silver, nickel, etc., may suffice.
  • [0118]
    Because titanium is substantially more electropositive than iron, using titanium cathode 1136 accelerates the rate of galvanic corrosion in small galvanic hydrogen generator 910. This causes more heat and hydrogen gas 152 to be produced per unit of time; small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 preferably operates at a steady state of about one hundred seventy five degrees Fahrenheit in this preferred arrangement. In order to prevent passivation of anode 932, this heat is preferably removed from small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 by using heat exchanger 1100 and/or by using heat exchanger 1000. This arrangement is useful where heat energy is preferred, and where extra-fast hydrogen gas 152 generation is needed. However, extra care must be taken to prevent passivation of anode 932.
  • [0119]
    Because iron is an anode to titanium, it is important to shut down the galvanic corrosion reaction before magnesium anode 932 is completely consumed so that steel tank 915 does not corrode and rupture when titanium cathode 1136 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one cathode comprises titanium) is being used.
  • [0120]
    Preferably, heat exchanger 1000, heat exchanger 1100, and heat sink 1005 are also used on large galvanic hydrogen generator 110. Preferably, kit 800 further comprises heat exchanger 1000, heat exchanger 1100, and/or heat sink 1005.
  • [0121]
    FIG. 12 shows a block diagram illustrating the types of energy available from hydrogen energy system 100. Preferably, excess heat generated by hydrogen energy system 100 can be converted into mechanical energy and/or electricity by Stirling engine, steam engine, etc. Preferably, excess heat can be converted into electricity by use of a thermoelectric materials, thermocouples, Peltier junctions, etc. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 generated by hydrogen energy system 100 is used as fuel in fuel cells, internal combustion engines, external combustion engines, etc. Preferably, electrical current generated by hydrogen energy system 100 can be harvested by placing a resistor between anode 132 and cathode 136, especially in the case of large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 which has a conveniently wired-together stack 131.
  • [0122]
    Heat, hydrogen, and electrical voltage are constantly produced by hydrogen energy system 100 as long as galvanic corrosion occurs. Essentially, the flow of electrons from the anode to the cathode, caused by the difference in electronegativity between the anode and the cathode, powers the chemical reaction of magnesium burning in water, which generates heat, hydrogen, and magnesium hydroxide, as shown.
  • [0123]
    Heat is a byproduct of the galvanic reaction, and may be removed from the system as long as enough heat remains to permit the galvanic reaction to occur at the desired rate (room temperature, etc.). Removing excess hydrogen gas 152 from the system has only a small increasing affect on the galvanic reaction rate, and the reaction is also substantially unimpeded by high hydrogen pressure in the system. Magnesium hydroxide may need to be removed from the system for the purposes of keeping the pH of the system in the corrosion range, but is otherwise not a significant factor in the reaction rate. The reaction rate is slowed by the coating of magnesium hydroxide 150 that forms on anodes 132, but this coating is continuously dissolved by chloride ions in electrolyte 140 as previously mentioned.
  • [0124]
    The current between anode 132 and cathode 136 has a large affect on the performance of the system. If a resistor is applied across the current between anode 132 and cathode 136, the production of hydrogen gas 152 by the system is slowed because electrons only slowly become available for the galvanic reaction. Further, if electrons flowing between anode 132 (at least embodying herein at least one anode) and cathode 136 (at least embodying herein at least one cathode) are diverted, for example into a separate hydrolysis cell, the hydrolysis performed by those electrons is at the expense of hydrogen gas 152 generation by the galvanic cell. By this same mechanism, the small amount of incidental hydrolysis that occurs in the galvanic cell is at the expense of hydrogen gas 152 production by the galvanic cell. Each electron flowing from anode to cathode can perform electrolysis or corrosion, but not both.
  • [0125]
    FIG. 13 shows a perspective view illustrating galvanic charge 1300 in water-permeable pouch 1303 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises galvanic charge 1300, as shown. Preferably, galvanic charge 1300 comprises anode 1332 and electrolyte compound 1340, as shown. Preferably, electrolyte compound 1340 dissolves in water to form electrolyte 140 (at least embodying herein at least one electrolyte comprising such at least one quantity of water), as shown. Preferably, galvanic charge 1300 comprises water-permeable pouch 1303, a pre-measured quantity of anode 1332 (preferably magnesium), and a pre-measured quantity of electrolyte compound 1340 (preferably sea-salt), as shown. Preferably, galvanic charge 1300 is added to a pre-measured quantity of water in a container with cathode 136 to generate a galvanic cell, as shown in FIG. 15. Preferably, galvanic charge 1300 is added to water in tank 915 (where tank 915 comprises cathode 136), as shown in FIG. 15.
  • [0126]
    Preferably, water-permeable pouch 1303 comprises water-permeable material capable of securely holding anode 1332 and electrolyte compound 1340, as shown. Preferably, water-permeable pouch 1303 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one galvanic charge further comprises at least one water-permeable container) comprises fabric, non-woven mesh, plastic screening, etc. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, etc., other water-permeable pouch materials, such as paper, pouring the anode and electrolyte into the tank with no pouch, etc., may suffice.
  • [0127]
    Preferably, anode 1332 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode comprises magnesium; and at least embodying herein at least one magnesium fines; and at least embodying herein at least one magnesium pellet) comprises anode material shot and anode material fines, preferably magnesium shot and magnesium fines, as shown. Preferably, the magnesium fines are consumed over the course of a few minutes or hours to generate a quick supply of hydrogen gas 152, while the magnesium shot is consumed over the course of a few days or weeks to provide a continuing supply of hydrogen gas 152.
  • [0128]
    FIG. 14 shows a perspective view illustrating galvanic charge 1400 comprising water-soluble pouch 1403 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, galvanic charge 1300 comprises galvanic charge 1400, as shown. Preferably, water-permeable pouch 1303 comprises water-soluble pouch 1403, as shown. Preferably, water-soluble pouch 1403 comprises water-soluble material capable of securely holding anode 1332 and electrolyte compound 1340 (at least embodying herein at least one electrolyte material), as shown. Preferably, water-soluble pouch 1403 (at least embodying herein at least one water-soluble container adapted to contain such at least one magnesium fines, such at least one magnesium pellet, and such at least one electrolyte material; and at least embodying herein wherein such at least one galvanic charge further comprises at least one water-soluble container) comprises water-soluble plastic (preferably polyvinyl alcohol film, as shown), paper, etc. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, etc., other water-soluble materials, such as anode foil, etc., may suffice.
  • [0129]
    FIG. 15 shows a diagram illustrating method 1500 of generating hydrogen gas 152 with galvanic charge 1300 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises method 1500, as shown.
  • [0130]
    Preferably, small galvanic hydrogen generators 910 are stored dry (with galvanic charges 1300 either stored inside tank 915 or stored separately) until hydrogen gas 152 is needed. Preferably, when hydrogen gas 152 is needed, water and galvanic charge 1300 are added to one or more small galvanic hydrogen generators 910, as shown.
  • [0131]
    Preferably, when anode 1332 has been consumed and the resulting hydrogen gas 152 has been emptied from tank 915, tank 915 is opened and emptied, is refilled with water 1505, a new galvanic charge 1300 (at least embodying herein at least one galvanic charge) is placed into tank 915, as shown, and tank 915 (at least embodying herein at least one container) is re-sealed. Preferably, tank 915 opens and closes with screw-type seal 916, as shown. Preferably, magnesium hydroxide 150 from the previous use is dried and recycled. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, etc., other steps, such as scheduled galvanic hydrogen generator replacement for users, scheduled galvanic hydrogen generator maintenance for users, galvanic hydrogen generator remote monitoring, providing galvanic hydrogen fuel stations, etc., may suffice.
  • [0132]
    FIG. 16 shows a side view illustrating a plurality of small galvanic hydrogen generators 910 serially feeding hydrogen gas 152 into storage tank 215. Preferably, small galvanic hydrogen generators 910 are used to fill storage tank 215, as shown. Preferably, small galvanic hydrogen generators 910 are serially connected to manifold 1610 which preferably directs hydrogen gas 152 into storage tank 215, as shown. Preferably, small galvanic hydrogen generators 910 are replaced or recharged when they are spent.
  • [0133]
    Preferably, storage tanks 215 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen storage tank) and small galvanic hydrogen generators 910 are utilized as home hydrogen fueling stations, portable hydrogen fueling stations, fleet hydrogen fueling stations, etc. Galvanic hydrogen fueling stations are safely portable and provide fast hydrogen generation on demand without a local source of electricity.
  • [0134]
    FIG. 17 shows a front view illustrating kit 1700 comprising small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 according to FIG. 9, galvanic charge 1300, and instructions 1705. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises kit 1700, as shown. Preferably, instructions 1705 (at least embodying herein at least one instruction for using such at least one galvanic cell to generate hydrogen gas; and at least embodying herein at least one instruction for using such at least one galvanic charge and such at least one container to generate hydrogen gas) instruct a user to (safely) generate hydrogen gas 152 by adding galvanic charge 1300 and water to small galvanic hydrogen generator 910, as shown in FIG. 15. Preferably, kit 1700 comprises multiple galvanic charges 1300. Preferably, kit 1700 comprises heat exchanger 1000 (at least embodying herein at least one heat exchanger), heat exchanger 1100, and/or heat sink 1105 (at least embodying herein at least one heat-energy converter). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, other kit components, such as safety monitors, voltage converters, pressure relief valves, replacement filters, etc., may suffice.
  • [0135]
    FIG. 18 shows a front view illustrating hydrogen intake manifold system 1800 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises hydrogen intake manifold system 1800, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold system 1800 comprises hydrogen intake manifold 1810, hydrogen delivery tubes 1820, hydrogen delivery nozzles 1830, and hydrogen supply line 1840 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen conduit adapted to conduct such hydrogen gas from such at least one hydrogen provider to such at least one hydrogen input manifold), as shown.
  • [0136]
    Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 1810 has about the same shape as the intake manifold gasket for the engine that hydrogen intake manifold 1810 is being installed on (a Honda four-cylinder engine hydrogen intake manifold was used to illustrate this particular embodiment), as shown. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 1810 comprises material durable enough to provide good service in an engine environment, preferably metal (preferably steel), gasket material, high-temperature plastics and/or composites, ceramics, etc. Most preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 1810 comprises aluminum, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 1810 is at least thick enough to accommodate the placement of hydrogen delivery nozzles 1830, as shown in the side view. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 1810 comprises bolt-holes 1816 for bolting hydrogen intake manifold 1810 between engine block 2015 and air intake manifold 2020 (as shown in FIG. 20). Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 1810 comprises plenums 1814 for passing gas between engine block 2015 and air intake manifold 2020 (as shown in FIG. 20). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other hydrogen intake manifold shapes, such as other numbers of plenums, other numbers of nozzles per plenum, separate hydrogen intake manifolds for each plenum, other plenum shapes, etc., may suffice.
  • [0137]
    Preferably, hydrogen delivery nozzles 1830 connect hydrogen delivery tubes 1820 to hydrogen intake manifold 1810 through hydrogen injection ports 1812 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen input manifold comprises at least one hydrogen port adapted to port such hydrogen gas from such at least one hydrogen conduit into such at least one plenum), as shown. Preferably, hydrogen delivery nozzles 1830 each provide free flow of hydrogen gas 152 into plenums 1814 (at least embodying herein wherein each of such at least one plenums passes gas between exactly one output port of such at least one input manifold and exactly one input port of such at least one cylinder head) of hydrogen intake manifold 1810 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen input manifold adapted to input hydrogen between at least one input manifold and at least one cylinder head of such at least one internal combustion engine), as shown. In an alternate preferred embodiment, hydrogen delivery nozzles 1830 shape, regulate, and/or distribute the flow of hydrogen gas 152 into plenums 1814 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen input manifold comprises at least one plenum adapted to pass gas between such at least one input manifold and such at least one cylinder head). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other arrangements, such as no nozzles where the delivery tubes go directly into the plenums, etc., may suffice.
  • [0138]
    Preferably, hydrogen delivery tubes 1820 are metal gas delivery tubes, preferably one-quarter inch steel tubing, as shown. Preferably, flammable-gas compatible fittings 1822 are used to connect hydrogen delivery tubes 1820 to hydrogen supply line 1840.
  • [0139]
    FIG. 19 shows a front view illustrating a modification of the hydrogen intake manifold 1800 according to FIG. 18 comprising tunable hydrogen supply tubes 1820. Preferably, hydrogen delivery tubes 1820 comprise approximately equal lengths of tubing each connected to hydrogen delivery manifold 1920 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen conduit comprises at least one gas manifold), as shown. Preferably, by having hydrogen delivery tubes 1820 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen conduit comprises at least one tuner adapted to assist tuning such flow of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port) comprise approximately equal lengths, approximately equal hydrogen gas 152 flow and pressure is delivered to each plenum 1814 (at least embodying herein at least one pressure regulator adapted to regulate pressure of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port), as shown. Also, this arrangement is more easily tunable to provide maximum engine performance. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other tunable arrangements, such as equal-length tubes without a manifold, adjustable flow controllers on each tube, etc., may suffice.
  • [0140]
    FIG. 20 shows a cross-sectional view illustrating hydrogen intake manifold 1810 according to FIG. 18 installed between engine block 2015 and air intake manifold 2020 of a typical Honda four-cylinder engine. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 1810 comprises hydrogen intake manifold 2010, as shown, wherein hydrogen delivery nozzles 1830 are installed at an angle in order to accommodate the shape of engine block 2015, as shown.
  • [0141]
    Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is stored in vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen provider comprises at least one hydrogen storage tank), as shown, preferably at about 300 psi when full (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen provider comprises at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to hold hydrogen gas compressed to about 300 pounds per square inch), more preferably at about 400 psi when full (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one hydrogen provider comprises at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to hold hydrogen gas compressed to about 400 pounds per square inch). Preferably, tank 2030 comprises a 20-gallon liquefied gas tank, preferably a propane tank, as shown.
  • [0142]
    Preferably, vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 comprises filling assembly 2032, as shown. Preferably, filing assembly 2032 comprises connector 2033, pressure gauge 2034, valve 2035, and safety valve 2036, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is added to vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 via filing assembly 2032. Preferably, vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 comprises distribution assembly 2037, as shown. Preferably, distribution assembly 2037 comprises pressure gauge 2038 (at least embodying herein at least one pressure gauge adapted to gauge hydrogen gas pressure provided by such at least one hydrogen provider), optional filter 2039, and valve 2041, as shown. Preferably, vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 is mounted in the trunk of the user's vehicle. Preferably, galvanically generated hydrogen gas 152 is used to fill vehicle hydrogen tank 2030. More preferably, hydrogen gas 152 that was generated by large galvanic hydrogen generator 110 and/or small galvanic hydrogen generator 910 is used to fill vehicle hydrogen tank 2030. Preferably, vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 holds between one and seven day's supply of hydrogen gas 152 for use as supplementary fuel in a gasoline or diesel engine. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other vehicle hydrogen tanks, such as compressed gas cylinders, other types of liquefied gas containers, metal hydride storage banks, electrolysis cells, etc., may suffice.
  • [0143]
    Preferably, hydrogen supply line 1840 connects vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 to hydrogen delivery tubes 1820, as shown. Preferably, the flow of hydrogen gas 152 through hydrogen supply line 1840 is controlled by solenoid valve 2040, as shown. Preferably, solenoid valve 2040 (at least embodying herein at least one flow regulator adapted to regulate flow of such hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen port) is switched on and off by dashboard switch 2050 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one flow regulator comprises at least one switch adapted to switch hydrogen gas flow through such at least one hydrogen conduit on and off), as shown, which is preferably mounted in the vehicle easily accessible to the vehicle driver (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one flow regulator comprises at least one switch accessible to at least one driver of such at least one vehicle while driving). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other hydrogen flow control methods, such a manual control, no control except for the tank valve, computerized flow control, other types of valves, etc., may suffice.
  • [0144]
    Preferably, optional idle sensor 2060 is switched on and off by dashboard switch 2050, as shown. Preferably, idle sensor 2060 senses when the engine is operating at idle speed and shuts off the vehicle (gasoline or diesel) fuel pump, allowing the engine to run exclusively on hydrogen fuel. Preferably, the flow of hydrogen gas 152 is tuned to provide the optimal amount of hydrogen gas 152 to run the engine at idle speed. Preferably, the flow of hydrogen gas 152 is driven by the gas pressure in vehicle hydrogen tank 2030 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen provider adapted to provide hydrogen gas). Preferably, gasoline is automatically added to the hydrogen fuel by the vehicle fuel injection system to achieve engine speeds above idle. Preferably, when hydrogen intake manifold 2010 is used, the engine is tuned to “top-dead-center” in order to accommodate the high speed of hydrogen gas 152 ignition. Preferably, idle sensor 2060 operates by physically sensing the position of throttle 2062, by optically sensing the position of throttle 2062, as shown, and/or by monitoring the existing vehicle throttle position sensor (especially in newer, computerized cars). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, type of vehicle, etc., other hydrogen and gasoline/diesel fuel control methods, such as hydrogen pumps, other types of throttle sensors, computerized hydrogen flow control, computerized hydrogen injectors, etc., may suffice.
  • [0145]
    Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold 2010 is bolted between engine block 2015 and air intake manifold 2020, as shown. Preferably, one intake manifold gasket 2011 is installed between hydrogen intake manifold 2010 and engine block 2015, as shown, and one intake manifold gasket 2011 is installed between hydrogen intake manifold 2010 and air intake manifold 2020, as shown.
  • [0146]
    FIG. 21 shows a front view illustrating hydrogen intake manifold kit 2100 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises hydrogen intake manifold kit 2100, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold kit 2100 comprises hydrogen intake manifold 1810, hydrogen supply line 1840, vehicle hydrogen tank 2030, solenoid valve 2040, dashboard switch 2050, idle sensor 2060, electrical wires 2105, instructions 2110, two intake manifold gaskets 2011 (at least embodying herein at least one seal adapted to seal between such at least one hydrogen input manifold and such at least one input manifold; and at least embodying herein at least one seal adapted to seal between such at least one hydrogen input manifold and such at least one cylinder head), and fasteners 2115, as shown. Preferably, fasteners 2115 (at least embodying herein at least one fastener adapted to fasten such at least one hydrogen input manifold between such at least one input manifold and such at least one cylinder head) comprise bolts 2116 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one fastener comprises at least one bolt), as shown. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold kits 2100 are customized for the type of engine in which they are to be installed. Preferably, instructions 2110 (at least embodying herein at least one instruction adapted to instruct at least one user to install and use such at least one hydrogen input manifold in at least one vehicle) comprise complete instructions for installing hydrogen intake manifold 1810 in a user's vehicle. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, vehicle type, safety regulations, etc., other kit components, such as tunable nozzles, flow controllers, computer interfaces, tools, hydrogen tank covers, pressure relief valves, tubing connectors, filters, etc., may suffice.
  • [0147]
    FIG. 22 shows a front view illustrating hydrogen intake manifold instructions kit 2200 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises hydrogen intake manifold instructions kit 2200, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen intake manifold instructions kit 2200 comprises instructions 2210, as shown. Preferably, instructions 2210 comprise hydrogen manifold plans 2220, parts list 2230, and installation instructions 2240, as shown.
  • [0148]
    Preferably, hydrogen manifold plans 2220 provide detailed specifications for making at least one hydrogen intake manifold (preferably hydrogen intake manifold 1810) adapted to fit a user's particular vehicle engine. Preferably, hydrogen manifold plans 2220 comprise drawings that can be used to fabricate a hydrogen intake manifold at a machine shop local to the user. Most preferably, hydrogen manifold plans 2220 comprise CAD drawings that can be used to automatically machine a hydrogen manifold on a CAD/CAM system at a machine shop local to the user. Preferably, instructions 2210, and particularly hydrogen manifold plans 2220 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen input manifold instruction adapted to instruct at least one user to construct at least one hydrogen input manifold adapted to fit between at least one input manifold and at least one cylinder head of at least one internal combustion engine), are also provided on electronic media, preferably on compact disc 2221, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, intended use, etc., other instructions media, such as internet downloads, memory sticks, other optical discs, paper-only, etc., may suffice.
  • [0149]
    Preferably, parts list 2230 provides at least one list of specific parts (tubing, bolts, hydrogen storage tank, pressure gauges, etc.) required by the user to install the hydrogen intake manifold made according to hydrogen manifold plans 2220.
  • [0150]
    Preferably, installation instructions 2240 (at least embodying herein at least one instruction adapted to instruct at least one user to install and use such at least one constructed hydrogen input manifold in such at least one vehicle) comprise complete instructions for installing the hydrogen intake manifold made according to hydrogen manifold plans 2220 using the parts listed in parts list 2230 (at least embodying herein at least one parts list adapted to list parts required to install such at least one hydrogen input manifold in such at least one internal combustion engine; and at least embodying herein at least one parts list adapted to list parts required to supply hydrogen gas to such at least one hydrogen input manifold).
  • [0151]
    FIG. 23 shows a diagram illustrating method 2300 of installing hydrogen intake manifold 1810. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises method 2300, as shown. Preferably, method 2300 comprises the steps of: installing (step 2310 (at least embodies herein the step of installing at least one hydrogen input manifold between at least one intake manifold and at least one cylinder head of at least one engine of at least one vehicle)) hydrogen input manifold 1810 between intake manifold 2020 and a cylinder head (engine block 2015) of an engine of a vehicle (or electrical generator); installing (step 2320 (at least embodies herein the step of installing at least one hydrogen storage tank in such at least one vehicle)) hydrogen storage tank 2030 in the vehicle (or electrical generator); installing (step 2330 (at least embodies herein the step of installing at least one conduit between such at least one hydrogen storage tank and such at least one hydrogen input manifold)) a tube (preferably hydrogen supply line 1840) between hydrogen storage tank 2030 and hydrogen intake manifold 1810; and installing (step 2340 (at least embodies herein the step of installing at least one shutoff between such at least one hydrogen storage tank and such at least one hydrogen input manifold)) a shutoff (preferably solenoid 2040) between hydrogen storage tank 2030 and hydrogen intake manifold 1810. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, type of vehicle, etc., other steps, such as performing safety tests, installing pressure relief valves, etc., may suffice.
  • [0152]
    Preferably, method 2300 comprises the step of filling (step 2350 (at least embodies herein the step of filling such at least one vehicle hydrogen storage tank with hydrogen gas)) storage tank 2030 with hydrogen gas 152.
  • [0153]
    Preferably, method 2300 comprises the step of injecting (step 2360 (at least embodies herein the step of injecting hydrogen gas from such at least one vehicle hydrogen storage tank into such at least one hydrogen input manifold while such at least one engine is running)) hydrogen gas 152 from storage tank 2030 into hydrogen intake manifold 1810 while the engine is running.
  • [0154]
    Preferably, method 2300 comprises the step of using (step 2370 (at least embodies herein the step of using galvanically generated hydrogen to fill such at least one vehicle hydrogen storage tank)) galvanically generated hydrogen gas 152 to fill storage tank 2030.
  • [0155]
    Preferably, method 2300 comprises the step of adapting (step 2380 (at least embodies herein the step of adapting such at least one vehicle to run exclusively on hydrogen when such at least one engine is operating at idle speed)) the vehicle to run exclusively on hydrogen gas 152 at idle speed. Preferably, idle sensor 2060 (at least embodying herein at least one idle sensor adapted to sense idling of such at least one vehicle) senses when the engine is operating at idle speed and shuts off the vehicle fuel pump, allowing the engine to run exclusively on hydrogen gas 152 for fuel.
  • [0156]
    FIG. 24 shows a front view illustrating galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises galvanic hydrogen generator 2410, as shown. Preferably, galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 comprises at least one container, preferably tank 2415, as shown. Preferably, galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 is adapted to hold a plurality of galvanic cells 2430, as shown.
  • [0157]
    Preferably, tank 2415 comprises a substantially gas-tight tank, preferably a stainless steel tank having a lid, preferably about a 5-gallon filter housing (for example, a modified Hayward Filtration Duoline filter housing, manufactured by Hayward Filtration, a Hayward Industries, Inc. company, of Elizabeth, N.J., U.S.), as shown. Preferably, tank 2415 comprises lid 2411, gas outlet 2416, pressure gauge 2417, valve 2418, and filter 2419, as shown. Preferably, tank 2415 further comprises water outlet 2422, as shown. Preferably, tank 2415 further comprises heat exchanger 2423, as shown. Preferably, tank 2415 comprises pressure relief valve 2421 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen gas release valve), as shown. Preferably, filter 2419 removes water vapor from hydrogen gas 152. Preferably, tank 2415 further comprises support 2420, as shown. Preferably, lid 2411 (at least embodying herein at least one lid) is held onto tank 2415 under pressure by connectors 2412, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other tanks, such as plastic tanks, no tank (open ocean), other tank accessories such as water filters, emergency shutdowns, etc., may suffice.
  • [0158]
    FIG. 25 shows a top view illustrating galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 according to FIG. 24. Preferably, heat exchanger 2423 comprises cold water inlet 2505 and hot water outlet 2510, as shown. Preferably, heat exchanger 2423 comprises three-quarters inch diameter copper pipe. Preferably, heat exchanger 2423 (at least embodying herein at least one heat exchanger adapted to move heat from inside such at least one container to outside of such at least one container) is attached, preferably brazed, to the interior of tank 2415. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, tank shape, etc., other heat exchangers, such as other pipe configurations, double-walled tank heat exchangers, etc., may suffice.
  • [0159]
    FIG. 26 shows section 26-26 of FIG. 24 illustrating the galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 according to FIG. 24. Preferably, galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 comprises electrolyte 2440, as shown. Preferably, electrolyte 2440 comprises at least one ionic compound, preferably at least one salt, preferably sea-salt. Most preferably, electrolyte 2440 (at least embodying herein at least one electrolyte comprising such at least one quantity of water) comprises an ionic compound, preferably sea-salt, preferably dissolved in water to form a twenty-percent solution by weight (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one electrolyte comprises at least one solution of about twenty percent sea salt in water, by weight). Preferably, tank 2415 is filled to substantially cover the coils of heat exchanger 2423, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other electrolyte solutions, such as sodium chloride from other sources, other ionic compounds, other salts, other salt percentages, semi-solid electrolytes, solid electrolytes, gaseous electrolytes, etc., may suffice.
  • [0160]
    Preferably, support 2420 supports galvanic cells 2430 while permitting magnesium hydroxide 150 to pass through and settle to the bottom of tank 2415, as shown. Preferably, support 2420 is a cathodic metal screen, as shown, or alternatively a strong perforated plastic plate. Preferably, galvanic cells 2430 rest on support 2420 which is preferably above water outlet 2422 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode is located above such at least one electrolyte drain; and at least embodying herein wherein such at least one container comprises at least one electrolyte drain), as shown, so that electrolyte 2440 can drain entirely off galvanic cells 2430, stopping the galvanic corrosion of anode 2432 in an emergency (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode, such at least one buffer, and such at least one cathode are electrically connected together by such at least one electrolyte). This arrangement also permits magnesium hydroxide 150 to settle to the bottom of tank 2415 without covering up portions of galvanic cells 2430 or heat exchanger 2423, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other arrangements, such as suspending the stack above the bottom of the tank, resting the stack on the bottom of the tank, other supports, other methods of stopping the galvanic reaction such as polarizing the electrodes, modifying the electrolyte pH, etc., may suffice.
  • [0161]
    FIG. 27 shows section 27-27 of FIG. 24 illustrating galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 according to FIG. 24.
  • [0162]
    FIG. 28 shows a front view illustrating another galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, tank 2415 comprises tank 2815, as shown. Preferably, tank 2815 holds about fifty-five gallons of electrolyte 2440 and about sixty pounds of galvanic cells 2430.
  • [0163]
    FIG. 29 shows a top view illustrating galvanic hydrogen generator 2410 according to FIG. 28, with cover 2811 shown swung open. Preferably, tank 2815 comprises multiple chambers 2905, as shown. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, heat output required, hydrogen output required, etc., other lidded tanks, such as lidded reaction vessels, steel barrels, other lidded industrial tanks, plastic tanks with iron-containing cathodes added, etc., may suffice.
  • [0164]
    FIG. 30 shows a front view of galvanic hydrogen cell 2430 according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. Preferably, galvanic cells 2430 are used in galvanic hydrogen generator 2410, as shown in FIGS. 24-27. Preferably, galvanic cell 2430 comprises anode 2432, buffer 2434, and connectors 2435, as shown. Preferably, connectors 2435 comprise steel. Preferably, tank 2415 comprises cathode 2436 (at least embodying herein at least one cathode), as shown in FIG. 26. Preferably, cathode 2436 is more electropositive than anode 2432. Preferably, buffer 2434 is between anode 2432 and cathode 2436 in electronegative potential. Preferably, anode 2432 comprises magnesium. Preferably, buffer 2434 (at least embodying herein at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between such at least one anode and such at least one cathode) comprises aluminum. Preferably, cathode 2436 comprises iron, preferably stainless steel. Preferably, buffer 2434 is riveted to anode 2432 with connectors 2435, as shown. Preferably, connectors 2435 comprise cathodes 2436. Preferably, buffer 2434 is curved, as shown in FIG. 31, to permit electrolyte 2440 to pass between anode 2432 and buffer 2434. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other galvanic cell arrangements, such as other metals, no buffer, a straight but offset buffer, membrane buffers, other anode shapes, other buffer shapes, integral cathodes, other surface area ratios, etc., may suffice.
  • [0165]
    Preferably, when galvanic cell 2430 and electrolyte 2440 are placed in tank 2415, anode 2432 rapidly galvanically corrodes, preferably producing magnesium hydroxide 150, while hydrogen gas 152 is evolved on cathode 2436 and to a lesser extent on buffer 2434 (which also slowly galvanically corrodes to form aluminum hydroxide), as shown in FIG. 26. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 bubbles up into headspace 2453 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace) for storage, as shown in FIG. 26. Preferably, this galvanic corrosion reaction continues until substantially all of anode 2432 has been consumed.
  • [0166]
    Preferably, tank 2415 (at least embodying herein at least one container, adapted to contain such at least one anode, comprising volume in excess of three gallons) holds about fifteen new galvanic cells 2430 (five are shown in FIG. 26). Preferably, tank 2815 holds about sixty new galvanic cells 2430. Preferably, galvanic cells 2430 are replaced when the galvanic reaction slows inconveniently or stops. Preferably, galvanic cells 2430 are replaced about weekly (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode is substantially consumed within about one week). Preferably, used buffers 2434 and connectors 2435 are removed from tank 2415 from the top while magnesium hydroxide 150 and electrolyte 2440 are drained through water outlet 2422.
  • [0167]
    FIG. 31 shows a side view of galvanic hydrogen cell 2430 according to FIG. 30. Preferably, anode 2432 (at least embodying herein at least one anode) is about three inches wide by about twelve inches long by about one-quarter inches thick. Preferably, anode 2432 weighs more than about one half pound (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one anode initially weighs at least about one-half pound). Preferably, buffer 2434 is about three inches wide by about twelve inches long by about one-sixteenth inches thick. Preferably, anode 2432 weighs about one pound. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other galvanic cell shapes, sizes, and surface area to volume ratios may suffice.
  • [0168]
    FIG. 32 shows a block diagram illustrating galvanic energy system 3200 adapted to provide heated water and hydrogen gas 152 to users. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises galvanic energy system 3200, as shown. Preferably, galvanic energy system 3200 comprises galvanic reactor 3210 and water tank 3220, as shown. Preferably, galvanic energy system 3200 further comprises hydrogen tank 3230, as shown. Preferably, galvanic energy system 3200 further comprises boiler 3240, as shown. Preferably, galvanic energy system 3200 further comprises sensors 3245 and monitoring system 3250, as shown.
  • [0169]
    Preferably, galvanic reactor 3210 comprises large galvanic hydrogen generator 110. Preferably, galvanic reactor 3210 comprises small galvanic hydrogen generator 910. Most preferably, galvanic reactor 3210 comprises galvanic hydrogen generator 2410.
  • [0170]
    Preferably, galvanic energy system 3200 further comprises galvanic recirculator 3260, as shown. Preferably, galvanic recirculator 3260 circulates heat between galvanic reactor 3210 and water tank 3220. Preferably, galvanic recirculator 3260 circulates heat by pumping water between galvanic reactor 3210 and water tank 3220 through cold pipe 3261 and hot pipe 3262 with pump 3263 and/or pump 3264, as shown. Preferably, water is pumped from water tank 3220, through galvanic reactor 3210 (where heat is picked up through heat exchanger 2423), and back to water tank 3220, as shown. Preferably, water is recirculated through galvanic recirculator 3260 substantially constantly. Preferably, the water in galvanic recirculator 3260 is at atmospheric pressure. Preferably, constant circulation of water through heat exchanger 2423 assists in keeping the temperature of galvanic reactor 3210 low enough to prevent significant passivation of anodes 2432.
  • [0171]
    Preferably, hydrogen tank 3230 comprises at least one tank adapted to hold pressurized hydrogen gas 152, as shown. More preferably, hydrogen tank 3230 comprises at least one twenty-gallon propane tank. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 generated in galvanic reactor 3210 is transferred to hydrogen tank 3230 through gas tube 3231, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is stored in hydrogen tank 3230 until needed. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is stored in hydrogen tank 3230 at under two hundred pounds per square inch.
  • [0172]
    Preferably, boiler 3240 burns gaseous fuel to heat water. Preferably, boiler 3240 comprises at least one natural-gas burning boiler. Preferably, boiler 3240 comprises at least one natural-gas burning water heater. Preferably, boiler 3240 is supplied with natural gas from gas supply 3242 through gas meter 3244, as shown. Preferably, flow of natural gas to boiler 3240 is regulated by regulator 3245, as shown. In practice, regulator 3245 and gas meter 3244 are commonly a single piece of equipment. Preferably, boiler 3240 is lit in response to the temperature reading of temperature sensor 3222 attached to water tank 3220. Preferably, if water usage causes the water in water tank 3220 to go below a threshold temperature (preferably 115 degrees Fahrenheit) despite the heat input from galvanic reactor 3210, then boiler 3240 is lit to provide additional heat. Preferably, galvanic energy system 3200 further comprises boiler recirculator 3270, as shown. Preferably, boiler recirculator 3270 circulates water from water tank 3220 through the heat exchanger in boiler 3240, as shown. Typically, galvanic recirculator 3260 and boiler recirculator 3270 share pump 3271 and piping adjacent water tank 3220, as shown.
  • [0173]
    Preferably, regulator 3245 receives hydrogen gas from hydrogen tank 3230 through gas tube 3232 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen supply tube adapted to supply hydrogen from such at least one container to such at least one gas-burning water heater), as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is mixed with natural gas in regulator 3245 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen gas regulator adapted to regulate flow of hydrogen gas through such at least one hydrogen supply tube), as shown. Preferably, the mixture of hydrogen 152 and natural gas is burned by boiler 3240 (at least embodying herein at least one gas-burning water heater) to heat water, as shown. Preferably, the mixture of hydrogen 152 and natural gas is piped to other gas-heated appliances 3246, as shown. Most natural gas burning appliances can use hydrogen 152 and natural gas mixtures, at a lower flow rate, without modification of the appliance. Most natural gas burning appliances can use pure hydrogen 152, at a lower flow rate, with modification to the gas burner.
  • [0174]
    Preferably, water is added to water tank 3220 from water source 3280, as shown. Preferably, water source 3280 comprises at least one municipal water system. Preferably, water is withdrawn from water tank 3220 (at least embodying herein at least one water tank adapted to receive heat from such at least one heat exchanger) and sent to end use 3290, as shown. Preferably, end use 3290 comprises industrial process heating (for example, heating air for clothes dryers). Preferably, end use 3290 comprises hot water use (for example, hot water for clothes washing machines).
  • [0175]
    Preferably, sensors 3240 and monitoring system 3250 allow a user to collect status data relating to galvanic energy system 3200. Preferably, sensors 3240 sense the hydrogen pressure in galvanic reactor 3210. Preferably, sensors 3240 sense the hydrogen pressure in hydrogen tank 3230 (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen pressure sensor). Preferably, sensors 3240 sense the temperature in water tank 3220. Preferably, sensors 3240 sense the operational status of pump 3263 and/or pump 3264. Preferably, sensors 3240 sense the rate of gas flow through regulator 3245. Preferably, sensors 3240 sense the rate of gas flow through hydrogen flow meter 3233. Preferably, sensors 3240 sense hydrogen gas 152 leaking into the atmosphere (at least embodying herein at least one hydrogen leak sensor). Preferably, monitoring system 3250 (at least embodying herein at least one remote monitoring system) allows a user to inspect the output of sensors 3240 via a readout local to the system. Preferably, monitoring system 3250 allows a user to inspect the output of sensors 3240 via a data readout remote to the system. Preferably, sensors 3240 transmit data to monitoring system 3250 wirelessly. In another preferred embodiment, sensors 3240 transmit data to monitoring system 3250 through wire connections. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, regulatory requirements, etc., other sensors, such as sensors attached to alarms, sensors attached to emergency shutoffs, anode life sensors, pH sensors, etc., may suffice.
  • [0176]
    FIG. 33 shows a block diagram illustrating galvanic energy appliance 3300 adapted to provide heated water and hydrogen gas 152 to users. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises galvanic energy appliance 3300, as shown. Preferably, galvanic energy appliance 3300 comprises galvanic reactor 3310 and hydrogen tank 3330, as shown. Preferably, galvanic energy appliance 3300 further comprises sensors 3340 and monitoring system 3350, as shown.
  • [0177]
    Preferably, galvanic reactor 3310 comprises large galvanic hydrogen generator 110. Preferably, galvanic reactor 3310 comprises small galvanic hydrogen generator 910. Most preferably, galvanic reactor 3310 comprises galvanic hydrogen generator 2410. Preferably, galvanic reactor 3310 is sized to provide for a particular requirement for heat and/or hydrogen gas 152 production. Preferably, titanium cathode 1136 may also be used with galvanic reactor 3310.
  • [0178]
    Preferably, galvanic energy appliance 3300 further comprises galvanic recirculator 3360, as shown. Preferably, galvanic recirculator 3360 circulates heat between galvanic reactor 3310 and an external heat sink (such as, for example, water tank 3220, an industrial process, a Stirling engine, etc.), as shown. Preferably, galvanic recirculator 3360 circulates heat by pumping water between galvanic reactor 3310 and the external heat sink through cold pipe 3361 and hot pipe 3362 with pump 3363, as shown. Preferably, water is pumped from the external heat sink (or water source), through galvanic reactor 3310 (where heat is picked up through heat exchanger 2423), and back out to the external heat sink (or end use), as shown. Preferably, water is recirculated through galvanic recirculator 3360 as heat is needed by the external heat sink. Preferably, water is recirculated through galvanic recirculator 3360 substantially constantly. Preferably, the water in galvanic recirculator 3360 is at atmospheric pressure. Preferably, especially where galvanic energy appliance 3300 is used as an on-demand water heater, the water in galvanic recirculator 3360 is at municipal water pressure.
  • [0179]
    Preferably, hydrogen tank 3330 comprises at least one tank adapted to hold pressurized hydrogen gas 152, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 generated in galvanic reactor 3310 is transferred to hydrogen tank 3330 through gas tube 3331, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is stored in hydrogen tank 3330 until needed. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 is stored in hydrogen tank 3330 at under two hundred psi.
  • [0180]
    Preferably, flow meter 3345 receives hydrogen gas 152 from hydrogen tank 3330 through gas tube 3332, as shown. Preferably, hydrogen gas 152 piped to hydrogen-using appliances (such as, for example, fuel cells, hydrogen stoves, automobiles, etc.), hydrogen-using chemical processes, or to larger storage tanks.
  • [0181]
    Preferably, sensors 3340 and monitoring system 3350 allow a user to collect status data relating to galvanic energy appliance 3300. Preferably, sensors 3340 sense the hydrogen gas 152 pressure in galvanic reactor 3310. Preferably, sensors 3340 sense the hydrogen gas 152 pressure in hydrogen tank 3330. Preferably, sensors 3340 sense the temperature in galvanic reactor 3310. Preferably, sensors 3340 sense the temperature of water in hot pipe 3362. Preferably, sensors 3340 sense the status of pump 3363. Preferably, sensors 3340 sense the rate of gas flow through hydrogen flow meter 3333. Preferably, sensors 3340 sense hydrogen gas 152 leaking into the atmosphere. Preferably, monitoring system 3350 allows a user to inspect the output of sensors 3340. Preferably, monitoring system 3350 is battery powered. Preferably, monitoring system 3350 is powered by an electrical outlet. Preferably, monitoring system 3350 is adapted to provide remotely accessible data, such as, for example, Internet accessible data. Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other monitoring system power sources, such as an on-board fuel cell, solar power, etc., may suffice.
  • [0182]
    Preferably, galvanic energy appliance 3300 is a freestanding appliance, as shown, with standard gas and/or water connections. Preferably, galvanic energy appliance 3300 is adapted to assist safe and easy replacement of anodes 132. Preferably, galvanic energy appliance 3300 (at least embodying herein wherein such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator system comprises at least one Underwriters Laboratories listed appliance) is inspected and listed (approved) by Underwriters Laboratories.
  • [0183]
    FIG. 34 shows a block diagram illustrating method 3400 of using galvanic reactor 3310 to provide heated water and hydrogen gas 152 to commercial laundry equipment. Preferably, hydrogen energy system 100 comprises method 3400, as shown.
  • [0184]
    Preferably, method 3400 comprises the steps of: operating (step 3410) at least one galvanic hydrogen generator (preferably galvanic reactor 3310); transferring heat (step 3420) from such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator (preferably galvanic reactor 3310) to at least one quantity of water contained in at least one tank (preferably water tank 3220); transferring heated water (step 3430) from such at least one tank (preferably water tank 3220) to at least one clothes washing machine; and replacing (step 3440) at least one old magnesium-containing anode 132 of such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator with at least one new magnesium-containing anode 132, as shown (at least embodying herein the step of operating at least one galvanic hydrogen generator; and at least embodying herein the step of transferring heat from such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator to at least one quantity of water contained in at least one tank; and at least embodying herein the step of transferring heated water from such at least one tank to at least one clothes washing machine; and at least embodying herein the step of replacing at least one old magnesium-containing anode of such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator with at least one new magnesium-containing anode).
  • [0185]
    Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of burning hydrogen (step 3450), as shown (at least embodying herein the step of burning hydrogen). Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of burning hydrogen in at least one water heater (preferably boiler 3240) (at least embodying herein the step of burning hydrogen in at least one water heater). Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of co-burning hydrogen in at least one natural gas water heater (preferably boiler 3240) (at least embodying herein the step of co-burning hydrogen in at least one natural gas water heater). Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of burning hydrogen in at least one fuel cell (at least embodying herein the step of burning hydrogen in at least one fuel cell). Upon reading the teachings of this specification, those with ordinary skill in the art will now understand that, under appropriate circumstances, considering such issues as advances in technology, user preference, etc., other hydrogen burning steps, such as burning hydrogen in a barbecue grill, in a vehicle engine, in an air heater, and/or in a gas-heated dryer, etc., may suffice.
  • [0186]
    Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of collecting hydrogen (step 3460) in at least one storage tank (preferably hydrogen tank 3230), as shown (at least embodying herein the step of collecting hydrogen in at least one storage tank). Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of selling (step 3462) such collected hydrogen (at least embodying herein the step of selling such collected hydrogen).
  • [0187]
    Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of remotely monitoring (step 3470) such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator (preferably galvanic reactor 3310), as shown (at least embodying herein the step of remotely monitoring such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator). Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of remotely monitoring at least one hydrogen leak sensor 3340 (at least embodying herein the step of remotely monitoring at least one hydrogen leak sensor). Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of remotely monitoring at least one hydrogen pressure sensor 3340 (at least embodying herein the step of remotely monitoring at least one hydrogen pressure sensor). Preferably, method 3400 further comprises the step of remotely monitoring at least one water temperature sensor 3340 (at least embodying herein the step of remotely monitoring at least one water temperature sensor).
  • [0188]
    Preferably, such step of transferring heated water (step 3430) from such at least one tank (preferably water tank 3220) to at least one clothes washing machine comprises the step of transferring heated water from such at least one tank (preferably water tank 3220) to at least one commercial clothes washing machine (at least embodying herein wherein the step of transferring heated water from such at least one tank to at least one clothes washing machine comprises the step of transferring heated water from such at least one tank to at least one commercial clothes washing machine). Preferably, such at least one tank comprises at least one water heater tank (preferably integral to boiler 3240). Preferably, such at least one tank comprises at least one water storage tank (preferably water tank 3220).
  • [0189]
    Preferably, such step of operating (step 3410) at least one galvanic hydrogen generator (preferably galvanic reactor 3310) comprises the step of operating (step 3412) at least one Underwriters Laboratories listed galvanic hydrogen generator (preferably galvanic energy appliance 3300) (at least embodying herein wherein such step of operating at least one galvanic hydrogen generator comprises the step of operating at least one Underwriters Laboratories listed galvanic hydrogen generator). Preferably, users will benefit from using a UL listed galvanic energy appliance 3300 because users will not be required to obtain additional regulatory approval to install and use galvanic energy appliance 3300 at their home or business.
  • [0190]
    Although applicant has described applicant's preferred embodiments of this invention, it will be understood that the broadest scope of this invention includes modifications such as diverse shapes, sizes, and materials. Such scope is limited only by the below claims as read in connection with the above specification. Further, many other advantages of applicant's invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the above descriptions and the below claims.

Claims (23)

  1. 1) A galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising:
    a) at least one galvanic cell, comprising
    i) at least one anode;
    ii) at least one cathode; and
    iii) at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between said at least one anode and said at least one cathode;
    b) at least one container, adapted to contain said at least one galvanic cell, comprising
    i) volume in excess of five gallons,
    ii) at least one construction seam,
    iii) at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace, and
    iv) at least one hydrogen gas release valve;
    c) wherein said at least one construction seam is substantially permanently sealed;
    d) wherein said at least one anode initially weighs at least about seven pounds; and
    e) wherein said at least one container is adapted to hold at least one quantity of water sufficient relative to the quantity of said at least one anode to prevent overheating resulting in passivation of said at least one anode.
  2. 2) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 1, further comprising at least one electrolyte comprising such at least one quantity of water.
  3. 3) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 2, wherein said at least one electrolyte comprises at least one solution of about twenty percent sea salt in water, by weight.
  4. 4) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 2, wherein said at least one anode, said at least one buffer, and said at least one cathode are electrically connected together by said at least one electrolyte.
  5. 5) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 1, wherein said at least one container comprises said at least one cathode.
  6. 6) A galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising:
    a) at least one galvanic hydrogen generator, comprising:
    i) at least one anode;
    ii) at least one container, adapted to contain said at least one anode, comprising
    (1) volume in excess of three gallons,
    (2) at least one cathode;
    (3) at least one lid,
    (4) at least one hydrogen gas storage headspace, and
    (5) at least one hydrogen gas release valve;
    iii) at least one buffer having an electrochemical potential between said at least one anode and said at least one cathode;
    iv) at least one heat exchanger adapted to move heat from inside said at least one container to outside of said at least one container;
    v) wherein said at least one anode initially weighs at least about one half pound;
    b) at least one water tank adapted to receive heat from said at least one heat exchanger.
  7. 7) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, further comprising at least one gas-burning water heater.
  8. 8) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 7, further comprising at least one hydrogen supply tube adapted to supply hydrogen from said at least one container to said at least one gas-burning water heater.
  9. 9) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 8, further comprising at least one hydrogen gas regulator adapted to regulate flow of hydrogen gas through said at least one hydrogen supply tube.
  10. 10) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, further comprising at least one electrolyte comprising such at least one quantity of water.
  11. 11) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 10, wherein said at least one electrolyte comprises at least one solution of about twenty percent sea salt in water, by weight.
  12. 12) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 10, wherein said at least one anode, said at least one buffer, and said at least one cathode are electrically connected together by said at least one electrolyte.
  13. 13) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, wherein said at least one container comprises at least one electrolyte drain.
  14. 14) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 13, wherein said at least one anode is located above said at least one electrolyte drain.
  15. 15) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, wherein said at least one anode comprises magnesium.
  16. 16) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, wherein said at least one buffer comprises aluminum.
  17. 17) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, wherein said at least one cathode comprises iron.
  18. 18) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, wherein said at least one anode is substantially consumed within about one week.
  19. 19) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, further comprising at least one hydrogen storage tank adapted to store hydrogen gas at pressures under about 400 pounds per square inch.
  20. 20) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 6, further comprising at least one hydrogen leak sensor.
  21. 21) A galvanic hydrogen generator system, relating to generating hydrogen gas from water, comprising the steps of:
    a) operating at least one galvanic hydrogen generator;
    b) transferring heat from such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator to at least one quantity of water contained in at least one tank;
    c) transferring heated water from such at least one tank to at least one clothes washing machine; and
    d) replacing at least one old magnesium-containing anode of such at least one galvanic hydrogen generator with at least one new magnesium-containing anode.
  22. 22) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 21, further comprising the step of burning hydrogen.
  23. 23) The galvanic hydrogen generator system, according to claim 22, further comprising the step of burning hydrogen in at least one water heater.
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