US20070080071A1 - Internal combustion apparatus and method utilizing electrolysis cell - Google Patents

Internal combustion apparatus and method utilizing electrolysis cell Download PDF

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US20070080071A1
US20070080071A1 US11544370 US54437006A US2007080071A1 US 20070080071 A1 US20070080071 A1 US 20070080071A1 US 11544370 US11544370 US 11544370 US 54437006 A US54437006 A US 54437006A US 2007080071 A1 US2007080071 A1 US 2007080071A1
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anode
chamber
cathode
electrolytic
electrolytic liquid
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Robert Perry
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Go Green Fuel Na Lp
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All My Relations Inc
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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C25ELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25BELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF COMPOUNDS OR NON-METALS; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25B1/00Electrolytic production of inorganic compounds or non-metals
    • C25B1/02Electrolytic production of inorganic compounds or non-metals of hydrogen or oxygen
    • C25B1/04Electrolytic production of inorganic compounds or non-metals of hydrogen or oxygen by electrolysis of water
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C25ELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25BELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF COMPOUNDS OR NON-METALS; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25B1/00Electrolytic production of inorganic compounds or non-metals
    • C25B1/02Electrolytic production of inorganic compounds or non-metals of hydrogen or oxygen
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C25ELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25BELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF COMPOUNDS OR NON-METALS; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25B11/00Electrodes; Manufacture thereof not otherwise provided for
    • C25B11/04Electrodes; Manufacture thereof not otherwise provided for characterised by the material
    • C25B11/0442Electrodes; Manufacture thereof not otherwise provided for characterised by the material characterised by the material of the coating
    • C25B11/0478Coatings consisting of two or more components
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C25ELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25BELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF COMPOUNDS OR NON-METALS; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25B15/00Operating or servicing of cells
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C25ELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25BELECTROLYTIC OR ELECTROPHORETIC PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF COMPOUNDS OR NON-METALS; APPARATUS THEREFOR
    • C25B9/00Cells or assemblies of cells; Constructional parts of cells; Assemblies of constructional parts, e.g. electrode-diaphragm assemblies
    • C25B9/06Cells comprising dimensionally-stable non-movable electrodes; Assemblies of constructional parts thereof
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02DCONTROLLING COMBUSTION ENGINES
    • F02D19/00Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures
    • F02D19/06Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures peculiar to engines working with pluralities of fuels, e.g. alternatively with light and heavy fuel oil, other than engines indifferent to the fuel consumed
    • F02D19/0639Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures peculiar to engines working with pluralities of fuels, e.g. alternatively with light and heavy fuel oil, other than engines indifferent to the fuel consumed characterised by the type of fuels
    • F02D19/0642Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures peculiar to engines working with pluralities of fuels, e.g. alternatively with light and heavy fuel oil, other than engines indifferent to the fuel consumed characterised by the type of fuels at least one fuel being gaseous, the other fuels being gaseous or liquid at standard conditions
    • F02D19/0644Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures peculiar to engines working with pluralities of fuels, e.g. alternatively with light and heavy fuel oil, other than engines indifferent to the fuel consumed characterised by the type of fuels at least one fuel being gaseous, the other fuels being gaseous or liquid at standard conditions the gaseous fuel being hydrogen, ammonia or carbon monoxide
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02DCONTROLLING COMBUSTION ENGINES
    • F02D19/00Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures
    • F02D19/06Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures peculiar to engines working with pluralities of fuels, e.g. alternatively with light and heavy fuel oil, other than engines indifferent to the fuel consumed
    • F02D19/0663Details on the fuel supply system, e.g. tanks, valves, pipes, pumps, rails, injectors or mixers
    • F02D19/0668Treating or cleaning means; Fuel filters
    • F02D19/0671Means to generate or modify a fuel, e.g. reformers, electrolytic cells or membranes
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02MSUPPLYING COMBUSTION ENGINES IN GENERAL, WITH COMBUSTIBLE MIXTURES OR CONSTITUENTS THEREOF
    • F02M25/00Engine-pertinent apparatus for adding non-fuel substances or small quantities of secondary fuel to combustion-air, main fuel, or fuel-air mixture
    • F02M25/10Engine-pertinent apparatus for adding non-fuel substances or small quantities of secondary fuel to combustion-air, main fuel, or fuel-air mixture adding acetylene, non-waterborne hydrogen, non-airborne oxygen, or ozone
    • F02M25/12Engine-pertinent apparatus for adding non-fuel substances or small quantities of secondary fuel to combustion-air, main fuel, or fuel-air mixture adding acetylene, non-waterborne hydrogen, non-airborne oxygen, or ozone the apparatus having means for generating such gases
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02DCONTROLLING COMBUSTION ENGINES
    • F02D19/00Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures
    • F02D19/06Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures peculiar to engines working with pluralities of fuels, e.g. alternatively with light and heavy fuel oil, other than engines indifferent to the fuel consumed
    • F02D19/08Controlling engines characterised by their use of non-liquid fuels, pluralities of fuels, or non-fuel substances added to the combustible mixtures peculiar to engines working with pluralities of fuels, e.g. alternatively with light and heavy fuel oil, other than engines indifferent to the fuel consumed simultaneously using pluralities of fuels
    • F02D19/081Adjusting the fuel composition or mixing ratio; Transitioning from one fuel to the other
    • 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
    • Y02E60/366Hydrogen production from non-carbon containing sources by electrolysis of water
    • 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
    • Y02TCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
    • Y02T10/00Road transport of goods or passengers
    • Y02T10/10Internal combustion engine [ICE] based vehicles
    • Y02T10/12Technologies for the improvement of indicated efficiency of a conventional ICE
    • Y02T10/121Adding non fuel substances or small quantities of secondary fuel to fuel, air or fuel/air mixture
    • 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
    • Y02TCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
    • Y02T10/00Road transport of goods or passengers
    • Y02T10/10Internal combustion engine [ICE] based vehicles
    • Y02T10/30Use of alternative fuels
    • Y02T10/36Multiple fuels, e.g. multi fuel engines

Abstract

The present disclosure relates generally to the production of hydrogen and oxygen within an electrolysis cell having a coated anode such that these gases can be added to the fuel source (fossil fuel and/or alternative fuels) of a combustion engine system as a supplement for said fuel source(s) for increased performance.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Nos. 60/726,049, filed Oct. 12, 2005, 60/819,293, filed Jul. 7, 2006, and 60/844,997, filed Sep. 15, 2006, each of which is incorporated herein in their entirety by reference thereto.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The present disclosure relates generally to the production of hydrogen and oxygen within an electrolysis cell such that these can be used in combination with a fuel source in a combustion engine system. The present disclosure can be best understood and appreciated by undertaking a brief review of the problems facing the world with respect to the operation of the millions of automobiles, trucks, buses, and other internal combustion engines utilizing hydrocarbon or fossil fuel as its energy source.
  • One of the major problems facing the world is the atmospheric pollution caused by the noxious gases that are produced as combustion by-products from internal combustion engines. Some of these pollutants include carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (NO), unburned hydrocarbons and sulfur dioxide (SO2). During at least the past 35 years, substantial resources have been expended by both the federal government and private industry to develop and commercialize engine and fuel technologies that result in the emission of less toxic pollutants.
  • Another major problem facing the world is the increasing shortage of fossil fuels on which vehicles and other engines operate. Yet over about 97% of the United States' transportation energy is from fossil fuel. The limited supply of fossil fuel is decreasing while the world-wide demand continues to increase at an unprecedented rate, thereby creating an economic burden on consumers and the national economies. To illustrate, from 2004-2006, average gasoline prices have tended to increase more than two-fold, from $1.30 per gallon to $3.00 per gallon. The shortage of the availability of fossil fuels has been a prolonged problem going back at least over 30 years to shortages in the 1970s. In that the United States and many other countries are highly dependent upon foreign fossil fuels, the pressing need for affordable, safe technologies that assist in the better use of fossil fuel or alternative fuel types have existed for many years.
  • As an alternative to hydrocarbon or fossil fuels, hydrogen gas has been explored as a power source. Hydrogen gas has been generally proposed as a potential burning fuel or in other fuel cells. When hydrogen gas is burned, substantially more energy (approximately three times) may be released as compared to some fossil fuels. In such systems, the hydrogen may be combusted in the presence of oxygen to release energy. Moreover, under the right conditions, hydrogen gas reacts with oxygen very cleanly, basically producing pure water as the by-product.
  • Despite these benefits, neither hydrogen gas nor oxygen gas are being rapidly deployed as an alternative fuel source for several reasons including of significant technical and economic difficulties. For instance, according to some U.S. governmental reports, hydrogen gas storage systems for vehicles are inadequate to meet consumer driving range expectations without intrusion into vehicle cargo or passenger space. They can be very dangerous and environmentally unsafe when stored in bulk due to the explosive volatility of collected hydrogen gas. Also, hydrogen gas is currently three to four times as expensive as gasoline and diesel fuels. The fuel cells are about five times more expensive than internal combustion engines and do not maintain performance over the full useful life of the vehicle. In addition, the investment risk of developing a hydrogen gas delivery infrastructure is understood to be too great given technology status.
  • Introducing hydrogen gas, stored on board a vehicle, into engine also burning fossil fuels has been considered. However, on-board storage of hydrogen gas in a large tank presents tremendous and most likely insurmountable safety challenges as these systems are subject to the same difficulties as engines or fuel cells operating only on hydrogen. Thus, such systems are similarly subject to the same deficiencies as other hydrogen gas cells and engines.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,231,954 to Gene Stowe attempted to avoid the storage problem associated with such hydrogen systems by offering an alternative. The patent was entitled “Hydrogen/Oxygen fuel cell” and was stated as relating generally to the production of hydrogen and oxygen in a closed electrolytic chamber, filled with an aqueous electrolyte solution, and working with electrodes connected to a source of electrical potential. Others developed disclosures in the field such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,105,773 to Cunningham et al. entitled “Method and apparatus for enhancing combustion in an internal combustion engine through electrolysis.” The Cunningham et al. patent disclosed a system which was said to include an electrolyzer device designed for use in automobiles or other vehicles that produces the requisite amounts of hydrogen and oxygen through the variation of surface area and orientation of the electrolytic anodes and cathodes. U.S. Pat. No. 6,896,789 to Ross related to an electrolysis cell and internal combustion engine kit comprising the same. U.S. Pat. No. 5,452,688 to Rose was said to disclose a method and apparatus for enhancing combustion in internal combustion engines. These prior disclosures are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety as background to this disclosure.
  • Despite the disclosures and efforts of others in the field, these disclosures and the art as a whole have failed to provide a device like the one disclosed herein which has overcome the problems in the art. The prior art systems were not sufficiently environmentally safe and stable. The chemicals used in the devices were often toxic or otherwise unsafe due to the dangerous accumulation or pressurization of the explosively volatile gases of hydrogen and oxygen. The disclosures, with the interdependency of the various operating parameters, were unstable leading to dependence on various additional machinery that cause further unreliability and instability. The prior art failed to solve the problem of overheating that occurred in such electrolysis chambers. The prior art has similarly failed to solve the problems associated with the prolonged supply of hydrogen and oxygen to the combustion chamber of the internal combustion engine. The prior art also focused on using hydrogen and oxygen as a combustible material. Many of the prior art disclosures involved pressurized hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, which led to a much more unstable and potentially dangerous system. The prior art devices were prone to fluctuations and lack of control over the production and accumulation of explosive gases in chambers within the devices. Some devices were subject to explosion due to uncontrolled heating, failure to dissipate gas, failure to control the pressure of the combustible gases, and other instabilities in the system.
  • Still further, the prior art failed to provide a device that had the ability to provide stable reliable efficiencies in the operation of the combustion engine. The prior devices failed to offer designs that compactly provided controlled benefits of hydrogen and oxygen gases. There was no efficient design for the electrolytic chamber where non-toxic substances could be employed without causing heightened safety risks. The art often had complicated constructions wherein the chambers were constructed with the anodes and cathodes in such a manner that the thermal dynamics of the systems were not adequately controlled. Similarly, such systems failed to recognize and address such parameters while also controlling the proper production of hydrogen. The orientation of the prior art chambers was subject to electrical field deficiencies, failure to provide optimum electrolysis, failure to provide control, as well as failure to provide proper aqueous and conductor thermal dynamics while maintaining compact size and simple construction. Such prior art systems were also unable to provide a system that was stable enough to be useful to normal consumers which are often called upon to monitor parameters of an engine (e.g., coolant, oil, etc.), but will not conduct such maintenance on a impermissibly short interval.
  • The failure to adequately control these dynamic conditions and provide for a non-toxic, easy to employ system has made prior devices impractical from the stand point of cost, complexity, usability, safety and the like. For instance, if heat is not properly controlled on the cell, the resistivity and conductivity of the electrolyte solution may change and thereby deteriorate or adversely affect such parameters as thermal dynamics, liquid dispersion of heat, production of gases, stability of component parts and the like. If the parameters cannot be controlled, the operating parameters of the device may be required to be toxic or dangerous. The instability of the prior systems led some to disclose purported systems that dynamically changed the system. However, such systems were similarly inherently unstable, impractical, unsafe and toxic. For example, some devices in prior systems utilized solutions that were of high pH causing them to be toxic to users in order to be able to provide the necessary hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. Indeed, the failure to adequately provide for stable and controlled systems can lead to deterioration of the cell and leaking or other disastrous conditions.
  • What has been absent until the present disclosure, and what the industry long has sought, is a device which can avoid such problems providing for a reliable and streamlined system which is not toxic, is more reliable, requires less direct and indirect maintenance, has increased life expectancy, has safer operations, requires less space, has environmentally friendlier operations, has higher mileage efficiency when operated, allows use of poorer quality fuels in combustion engines, and has improved economics for consumer performance use such as eighteen wheel trucks and Sports Utility Vehicles, among other beneficial parameters that are apparent from the disclosure of the preferred embodiments herein.
  • It is, therefore, an object of the present disclosure to provide through the preferred embodiments an improved internal combustion system utilizing a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell and apparatus and method involving same that can require less maintenance.
  • It is a further object of the present disclosure to provide through the preferred embodiments an improved internal combustion system utilizing a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell and apparatus and method involving same that can have a longer life.
  • It is a further object of the present disclosure to provide through the preferred embodiments an improved internal combustion system utilizing a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell and apparatus and method involving same that can operate more safely.
  • It is a further object of the present disclosure to provide through the preferred embodiments an improved internal combustion system utilizing a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell and apparatus and method involving same that can be environmentally friendlier, including providing higher mileage efficiency as well as allowing use of poorer quality fuels from diverse sources.
  • It is a further object of the present disclosure to provide through the preferred embodiments an improved internal combustion system utilizing a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell and apparatus and method involving same that is not toxic.
  • It is further object of the present disclosure to provide through the preferred embodiments an improved internal combustion system utilizing a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell and apparatus and method involving same that is cost-effective and affordable, readily installed and maintained, and that includes simple mechanisms for eliminating the hazard for explosion.
  • It is another object of the present disclosure to provide through the preferred embodiments an improved internal combustion system for various types of performance vehicles that provides better mileage efficiency and achieves improved results even with lower effective rate motor octane gasoline or diesel fuels, which in some instances can include alternative components like oxygenates or ethanol or MTBE or other non-fossil fuels like biofuels, or even blends such as Flex Fuels (having low RONC hydrocarbons along with oxygenates), including E85 fuel.
  • It will become apparent to one skilled in the art that the claimed subject matter as a whole, including the structure of the system, and the cooperation of the elements of the system, combine to result in the unexpected advantages and utilities of the present disclosure. The advantages and objects of the present disclosure and features of such improved hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell with the combustion engine system will become apparent to those skilled in the art when read in conjunction with the accompanying description, drawing figures, and appended claims. The disclosure herein is not limited to the particular words or phrases used as such words and phrases are used to describe the preferred embodiments which are examples of the inventions disclosed herein. This disclosure does not place special limitations on words unless the disclosure specifically states that it “defines” a word to mean something specific, especially as this disclosure is written for those skilled in the art.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present disclosure comprises an improved internal combustion system utilizing a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell and apparatus and methods involving same. The disclosure provides for different aspects and modifications of the system that is highly advantageous over the prior disclosures. The disclosure is not limited to any particular embodiment or the best mode which is disclosed, but encompasses the contribution to the science that the disclosure provides.
  • Among the various aspects of the disclosure, there are systems, methods and technology disclosed which relate accomplishing such objects as less maintenance, longer life, more safety, greater environmentally friendliness of a system, non-toxicity, among other aspects. The disclosure includes aspects relating to the production and implementation of an internal combustion system utilizing hydrogen and oxygen gases where the system operates substantially at ambient or slightly above ambient pressure or not under significant pressure relative to the generation of the hydrogen and oxygen gases. There is disclosure relating to the configuration and placement of the anode and the cathode as part of the electrolytic chamber, including novel and advantageous size ratios. There is disclosure of apparatus and methods to control thermal dynamic stability. There are configurations disclosed which provide for controlled release of hydrogen and oxygen gases over time. There is disclosure of increased performance with poorer quality fuels for better overall consumer economics.
  • In addition, there are disclosures of systems, methods and technology providing a robust system which is capable of controlling the energy provided to the production of hydrogen and oxygen gases. There are disclosures relating to maximizing the efficiency of providing the gases generated through electrolysis. There are also disclosures providing a stable system that is reliable and of low maintenance providing significant improvements to the internal combustion engine and exhaust systems, as well as related direct and indirect components. There are disclosures of feedback systems, control systems, safety systems and the like. There are configurations disclosed that provide increased performance (both improved power and decreased engine wear and/or knocking), increased mileage, and/or a combination thereof from lower rated fuels that optionally include ethanol and/or lower motor octane or equivalent cetane ratings in various applications, including non-fossil fuels or fuels with non-fossil content above about 10%.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)
  • Preferred embodiments may take physical form in certain parts and arrangement of parts. For a more complete understanding of embodiments, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic with parts of a combustion engine cylinder along with piston, associated fuel, crankshaft and other connections, including an electrolysis cell supplying hydrogen and oxygen;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a cross sectional view of a preferred electrolysis cell with component parts;
  • FIG. 2 a illustrates an anode;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a cut-away sectional view of a preferred anode used in an electrolysis cell;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic view of a preferred electrolysis cell liquid level arrangement and associated piping to the engine and atmosphere;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates an enlarged view of a preferred electrolysis cell as shown in FIG. 4;
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an even more enlarged view of a preferred electrolysis cell liquid level as shown in FIG. 4 and contains dimensioning for the liquid level and the gas production dimensions;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a preferred predominant or significant water flow patterns through the liquid shown in FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a schematic view of a preferred predominant or significant water flow patterns through an anode;
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a location of water addition to a preferred electrolysis cell as shown in FIG. 5;
  • FIG. 10 illustrates an electrical schematic representing a power controller of an electrolysis cell;
  • FIG. 11 illustrates a circuit design for a controller as shown in FIG. 10; and
  • FIG. 12 illustrates a preferred injector used to deliver hydrogen gas from an electrolysis cell to a combustion engine.
  • FIG. 13 illustrates an exploded perspective side view of a preferred electrolysis cell, showing top separated from the main body, and indicating the locations of electrodes, gas delivery line, and the like.
  • FIG. 14 illustrates a schematic combination view of an electrolysis cell with an internal combustion engine connected with a preferred nozzle.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The following discussion is presented to enable a person skilled in the art to make and use the disclosure. The general principles described herein may be applied to embodiments and applications other than those detailed below without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure as defined by the appended claims. The present disclosure is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and features disclosed herein.
  • An internal combustion engine is generally based on the release of energy from one or more combustion chambers. The engines operate as including within them or in association with them systems for providing fuel and oxygen gas. In most instances the oxygen gas is provided through the inclusion of air which is rich in nitrogen. The internal combustion engine in a preferred embodiment includes the production of hydrogen and oxygen gases through electrolysis. The released hydrogen and oxygen gases are typically provided with the air as a mixture. However, it is possible to provide other mixes of gases. For example, it is possible to provide only hydrogen and oxygen gases and not utilize substantial air. In a preferred embodiment, the gases and the fuel are brought together so that they are present in the combustion chamber at the same time. The fuel may be provided with the hydrogen and/or oxygen gases as in a typical carburetor arrangement. The fuels may also be provided directly to the chamber as in fuel injection. Furthermore, the ignition of the aggregate of the materials may occur as the result of the ignition of a spark plug or through other methods such as pressure ignition, etc.
  • The combustion results in the reaction of the fuel to produce by-products. In some instances, fuels have not been completely burned. In a preferred embodiment and as a result of the inclusion of the hydrogen and/or oxygen gases, supplied in proper amounts, the production of noxious gases by the combustion is reduced. The fuel burns more completely further leading to less toxic substances leaving the vehicle. As such, a preferred embodiment provides that a catalytic converter may not be required to meet the standard emissions required for some combustion engines. A preferred embodiment also provides that preferred embodiments may be employed to further reduce toxins present in an engine employing a catalytic converter.
  • The hydrogen and oxygen gases of a preferred embodiment are provided in an electrolysis chamber which is substantially at ambient or slightly above ambient pressure. Such slightly above ambient conditions include those experienced both above and below sea level as well as a small amount increased thereof, which in preferred embodiments is less than three atmosphere equivalents above ambient, and in even more preferred embodiments is less than about one atmosphere equivalent above ambient and possibly about 3 psi above ambient pressure. The hydrogen and oxygen gases may then be communicated to the combustion chamber by any method. For example, the hydrogen and oxygen gases may be included into the air transfer passages that typically are used in present combustion engines. A nozzle may be utilized in a preferred embodiment that permits the hydrogen and/or oxygen gases to be more fully dispersed into the passage. A preferred nozzle includes a larger conduit with the supply of hydrogen and oxygen gasses and small orifice or series of orifices for release of the hydrogen and oxygen gases into the passages leading to the combustion chamber as a preferred configuration. Such nozzle which may operate at substantially ambient or near ambient or slightly above ambient pressure under low pressure differentials converts the flow of hydrogen and/or oxygen gases into a dispersed mixture of hydrogen and/or oxygen molecules in the passage leading to the combustion chamber. A preferred embodiment provides that the dispersion of the hydrogen and/or oxygen provides for surprising benefits as to the performance and reduction of toxic substances.
  • While the preferred embodiment is utilized where the hydrogen and oxygen gases are provided together based on the production of the gases by the preferred embodiment of electrolysis, the gases could be separated into substantially only hydrogen gas. A preferred embodiment includes the control of the system based on the production and introduction of hydrogen gas. A preferred embodiment surprisingly found that the production of the hydrogen gas should be controlled to better control the performance of combustion. In such instances, the production of the hydrogen gas may be controlled by the design and energy provided to the unit.
  • In a preferred embodiment, electrolysis is accomplished through the powering of an anode and a cathode in the presence of an electrolytic liquid. The preferred electrolyte is potassium hydroxide (KOH) provided in deionized, distilled or otherwise similarly processed water. The electrolyte could include equivalent forms and other chemicals known in the field, such as sodium hydroxide or other alkaline substances, mixtures with other non-alkaline substances, or the like. The pH of the liquid in the presence of the KOH is preferred to operate in the range of about 7 to 14 pH which is substantially non-toxic. Other preferred pH ranges are from substantially about 9 to about 14, and substantially about 10 to about 13. The molar concentrations of the KOH are preferred to be in substantially the range of about 0.001 to 0.2 on a molarity (or mol/L) basis, or more preferred in substantially the range of about 0.005 to about 0.1 on a molarity basis. Preferably, the electrolyte comprises between about 0.05 to about 3% of the total solution. In preferred embodiments, about 1 to about 25 grams of KOH is added per one gallon of water.
  • In a preferred embodiment, an electrolytic chamber is filled with water in the presence of a predetermined amount of KOH or other electrolyte. The chamber includes an anode which is conductive so as to energize the electrolytic liquid while being constructed to avoid decomposition and corrosion. The preferred anode is provided by CerAnode Technologies International (Dayton, Ohio). Preferred anodes may be formed of a substrate metal (or combination of metals) such as a noble metal, valve metal, precious metal, metal alloy and any of the like, coated by a protective conductor that is resistant to corrosion and decomposition as available in the art. Coatings may be comprised of precious metals, conductive metal oxides, mixed metal oxides, conductive polymers, cermet, ceramics and any of the like as are available in the art. Such anodes may be made from any known available materials including such as, by way of example, disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,138,510;785 4,297,421; 4,468,416; 4,486,288; 4,946,570; 5,055,169; and 6,217,729: each patent of which is expressly incorporated in its entirety herein by reference thereto. The anode may be passivated, stabilized and/or corrosion protected in any known manner. Preferred anodes are characterized with having no undesirable electrode dissolution, no production of undesired by-products, no need for frequent purging of the chamber, and no need for frequent anode replacement. Anodes made with full or semi-conductive coatings applied to substrates, such as valve metal substrates, typically provide durable, dimensionally stable, compact anodes having a sufficient service life of 10 years or longer based on accelerated testing. A preferred valve metal base material is titanium, but also may be tungsten, tantalum, niobium, aluminum, or zirconium or alloys of two or more of them, or a base material may also include in addition to the foregoing valve metal(s) another metal (or metals) having low overvoltage such as cobalt, nickel, palladium, vanadium, molybdenum or mixtures thereof. A typical ceramic coating is a multi phase rutile mixture of iridium oxide, tantalum oxide, and titanium oxide, and while the exact coating can vary, it will generally comprise a mixed metal oxide film incorporating Ta3O5 and IrO2, with or without doping. When the coating is doped, typically a metal oxide with a valence of less than +4 is used to increase the catalytic activity for oxygen evolution without adversely affecting coating mechanical properties. The doping metal oxide may be present from about 0.1 to about 5 wt %, preferably about 1.5 to about 3.0 wt % of the coating. Suitable doping metal oxides include, but are not limited to, alkaline earth metals such as calcium, magnesium, barium, and members of Groups VIII, VI B, and VII B of the periodic table such as cobalt, iron, nickel, chromium, molybdenum, manganese, etc. Typically a metal coating is deposited on a substrate by any suitable process such as plating, cladding, or extruding; typically a mixed metal oxide coating or a cermet coating is deposited on a substrate by any suitable process such as plasma spray or thermal decomposition. In a preferred embodiment, the anode comprises an electroconductive base of titanium with a conductive coating over at least a portion of its outer surface, the coating comprising at least one material selected from the group consisting of precious metals, precious metal oxides, valve metal oxides, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the conductive coating comprises at least one oxide selected form iridium oxide, tantalum oxide, titanium oxide, or combinations thereof. Preferably, the electroconductive base comprises at least one valve metal, and more preferably comprises an alloy of at least one valve metal with at least one of the platinum group metals, and even more preferably comprises an alloy of titanium containing up to 0.2 wt % of palladium.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the container holding the water and electrolyte is itself the cathode. Such preferred cathode and container is constructed of stainless steel. In a preferred embodiment, the cathode acts as a heat sink to transfer thermal energy to the atmosphere outside of the electrolysis cell. Thermal energy is generated within the electrolysis cell. In a preferred embodiment, such thermal energy is first distributed to the electrolytic liquid and to the entirety of the cell. The electrolytic liquid is circulated throughout the volume to disperse heat from the areas of heat production. The thermal energy may be substantially removed through the cathode or wall of the cell container. The cathodic container may include heat sinks, fans or other structures to facilitate the transfer of thermal energy to the surrounding atmosphere or other system such as a fan may be provided. In a preferred embodiment, the anode is closely placed to the cathode and there is significant volume of liquid so that the system may efficiently transfer and dissipate thermal energy.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the compartment where the electrolysis occurs includes substantial water that is not needed to maintain electrolytic liquid between the anode and cathode. The electrolytic liquid, by virtue of the release of the hydrogen and oxygen gas, provides for circulation of the electrolytic liquid. In a preferred embodiment, the circulation tempers the generation of temperature gradients and hot spots as the temperature is more equally distributed throughout the electrolytic liquid. The anode is constructed with openings therein so that the electrolytic liquid may circulate through the anode and transfer thermal energy generated in the region of the anode and cathode interface to other parts of the electrolytic liquid. In an embodiment, such region includes the region where the anode and cathode are separated substantially by a distance d over the length of the anode. The circulation of the electrolytic liquid and the thermal energy is controlled and moved by the release of the hydrogen or oxygen gases. Such gas release causes thermal cooling electrolytic liquid to pass through openings in the anode to provide for a temperature gradient that it substantially uniform and does not include significant hot spots where the liquid could boil or otherwise degrade or malfunction. In a preferred embodiment, predominant, salient or significant flow patterns of electrolytic solution flow radially inwardly in a plane substantially perpendicular to the axis of the rotor and/or the cathode. Such flow may also include vector currents in directions which are not substantially perpendicular to the axis of the rotor and/or the cathode. As such, in a preferred embodiment, the vectors of fluid flow along the surface of the anode include a substantial vector flowing inwardly along the radial line. Such flow patterns are advantageously and surprisingly utilized to permit the placement of the anode so that it may substantially close to the cathode while permitting for efficient thermal transfer of energy to the larger electrolytic system.
  • When the chamber is full of electrolytic liquid, the anode is completely submerged and there is significant liquid above the anode, especially where the anode is closest to the cathode. As the hydrogen and oxygen gases are released, the electrolytic liquid level or volume becomes less. As the level or volume becomes less, the concentration of KOH and the pH of the remaining electrolytic liquid increases. In a preferred embodiment, the current applied to the cathode and the anode is maintained substantially constant. It was surprisingly found that the production of hydrogen and/or oxygen gases could be controlled to be substantially constant by the substantially constant current even though the nature of the electrolytic liquid changed. In a preferred embodiment, the level or volume of the electrolytic liquid does not have to be maintained constant. The level or volume of the electrolytic liquid is permitted to be reduced as hydrogen and oxygen gases are released while maintaining a substantially uniform production of hydrogen and oxygen gases. As the level or volume of the electrolytic liquid is reduced, the effective resistivity of the electrolytic liquid changes which is reflected in a related signal to a control unit. Such signals may be monitored as change in the effective voltage across the anode and cathode. In a preferred embodiment, the effective voltage is utilized to provide control signals to other parts of the vehicle and to the user. Among the various signals, the user may be informed when it is necessary to add water to the electrolytic chamber. In addition, in a preferred embodiment, the potential difference across the anode and cathode under substantially constant current is utilized to determine a cut-off threshold where the power to the anode and cathode is discontinued. The voltage drop can be measured effectively through other parameters such as resistivity, wattage, conductivity, capacitance, or other electrical phenomenon.
  • In an embodiment, the hydrogen and oxygen gases are used to combine with non-fossil fuels such as bio-fuels, ethanol, and others including mixtures of fuels where the mixture of non-fossil fuels to fossil fuels is increased. For instance, in an embodiment, the hydrogen and oxygen gases are combined in the burning of fuel where the ethanol content is above 10%. It was surprisingly found that higher content of non-fossil fuels could be made to burn more efficiently and thereby provide further alternatives to higher grades of fossil fuels. Thus, in some embodiments, alternative fuel sources may be utilized such as fuels with a non-fossil fuel content above 10% as is the standard for some ethanol containing fuels presently on the market. Other oxygenates may be advantageously used, including branched ethers and other alcohols. In another embodiment, bio fuels or blends (like Flex Fuels or other types of mixes with components selected from the group consisting of bio-materials, hydrocarbons, oxygenates and mixtures thereof) may be utilized with the addition of the hydrogen and/or oxygen gases provided by the electrolysis cell.
  • Various embodiments will now be described in more detail with reference to the drawings. FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic showing main parts of a combustion engine including an electrolysis cell 1, an engine cylinder block 2 (also representing an engine itself in some embodiments), a piston 3, a connecting rod 4, and a crankshaft 5. The schematic also shows a power source 6. In a preferred embodiment, the power source 6 provides a substantially constant current where the current is maintained at about 30 amps. Accordingly, hydrogen and oxygen gases that are produced upon application of an electric current to a cell 1 travel to a block 2 via a conduit or passage 7 that may also allow entrance of other gases such as air via passage 12. The aforesaid gases enter engine cylinder block 2 via an intake port 8 where they combine with fuel supplied by fuel port 9. Upon combustion of the fuel mixture, the piston is driven in the well known means to operating combustion engines by those skilled in the art. Products of the combustion exit via exhaust port 10.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of an electrolysis cell 1 along with related component parts, including the following components:(a) an electrolysis chamber 101 that is connected to a tubing 102 (such as thermally stable nylon tubing); (b) a control unit (CU) 118; (c) a portion of a wiring harness that connects (i) the chamber 101 to the control unit 118, (ii) the control unit 118 to the electrical system separator 507 to the electrical potential source (e.g. a typical vehicle battery or vehicle electrical system (not shown)), and (iii) the control unit 118 to a display unit, if applicable (e.g. a light emitting diode or LED 529); (d) a water trap/spark arrestor 106 located on the tubing 102; and/or (e) such other device so located to diffuse sparking from combustion engine backfire should it occur and also to prevent any electrolyte solution from accidentally getting into the line and into the engine in the event of an accident where the cell 1 is turned the wrong way. Some or all of the components can be contained within a box 108, which can help facilitate the installation and insulation of the embodiment. A typical control unit may be supplied from Neuron Technology.
  • The box 108 can be constructed from aluminum and can comprise a front wall (not shown) that can be opened, an adjustable draft vent 109 that may be located on a rear wall (not shown) of the box 108, a fan 111 mounted on the interior or exterior side of the chamber 101) and a heater 113 mounted on the interior side of a bottom wall 114. The heater 113 typically is generally encased in a stainless steel housing from which an electrical wire and plug are extended and may have a setting control and a temperature sensor. It will be understood by one skilled in the art, however, that although the illustrated embodiment depicts the box 108 having a rectangularish shape, the box 108 may be constructed in any geometrical shape, as is true for other geometries disclosed herein. It will also be understood by one skilled in the art, that the box 108 may be constructed of other materials besides aluminum, including plastics and metals, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. It will also be understood by one skilled in the art that the components within the box 108 may be installed on a vehicle or other equipment using an internal combustion engine 508 without the box 108, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. (For the purposes of illustration of an embodiment of the present disclosure, this embodiment has been described showing the box 108. The scope of the disclosure of this Application is not intended to be limited by such description or any other preferred embodiment). The box 108 or other various components can be mounted to a vehicle's frame (not shown), inside the vehicle, or mounted near the combustion engine system to which the disclosure is to be utilized (also not shown).
  • The box 108 can comprise a front wall (not shown) that is solidly hinged across the bottom, a lock loop 115 at a distal end and a latch 116 (such as a butterfly snap latch) on each side. It will be understood by one skilled in the art, however, that although this embodiment uses such an opening and locking system, any opening and locking system may be used, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. The draft vent 109 generally comprises at least one opening allowing air flow to enter and cool the electrolysis chamber 101 to provide for assisted air flow for transferring thermal energy from the electrolysis chamber 101 to the air flow through the box 108. A heater 113, such as a typical coiled heater or another any type, may also be included for heating the chamber 101 without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. The heater 113 typically is generally encased in a stainless steel housing from which an electrical wire and plug are extended and may have a setting control and a temperature sensor(not shown). A portion of the electrolysis cell 1 is shown in cut-away sectional view in FIG. 2 to reveal an anode 204. The electrolysis chamber 101 comprises a cathode 201 defining a volume (which is generally equivalent to the cylindrical volume of the wall of chamber 101 in preferred embodiments); a power connection 199 is also illustrated, a temperature sensor 202 attached to the cathode 201 or the chamber for the cooling fan control unit, a refill orifice 203 that can be screwed or clamped to the top of the cathode 201, the tubing 102 (such as nylon tubing) securely attached to the lid 120, an anode 204 located within the volume but not in contact with the cathode 201, and an electrolyte solution 13 (also shown in, e.g., FIG. 4) located within the volume and in contact with the cathode 201 and the anode 204. Additionally, an oaring (not shown) can be installed between the lid 120 and the top of the cathode 201, thereby creating a seal to prevent the escape of gases and electrolyte solution. The size of the electrolysis cell 1 may vary according to the size of the combustion engine 2 to which it is attached or incorporated.
  • As seen in FIG. 2, the cathode 201 can have a cylindrical shape. The lid of the cathode 201 may be typically constructed with a lipped threaded orifice with a screw on lid, which allows for refilling the cathode cylinder with deionized or distilled water as applicable. The cathode 201 also has an orifice from which the tip of the anode 204 can protrude (e.g. as illustrated at the bottom of chamber 101 in FIG. 2), and a smaller lipped orifice (e.g. as illustrated at the top of chamber 101 in FIG. 2) into which the tubing 102 is inserted that transports the hydrogen and oxygen gases to the combustion engine compartment. In preferred embodiments, the cathode 201 is typically constructed from stainless steel. It will be understood by one skilled in the art, however, that although the shown embodiment depicts the cathode 201 having a cylindrical shape, the cathode 201 may be constructed in any geometrical shape, including, but not limited to, spherical shapes, rectangular shapes, hexagonal shapes, triangular shapes or custom fitted depending upon spatial requirements, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. It will also be understood by one skilled in the art, that although this embodiment describes the cathode 201 being constructed from stainless steel, any material capable of being used as a cathode 201 for the production of hydrogen may be used, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure, including by way of example the material used in connection with the anode.
  • The electrolysis cell 1 further comprises a temperature sensor 202, as shown in FIG. 2, which can be placed on the outer wall of the cathode 201 and can be in communication with the control unit 118, the cooling fan 111 and/or the heater 113, and in preferred embodiments is connected directly with the cooling fan 111 as shown in FIG. 2. In an embodiment, the temperature sensor 202 can be digital. In preferred embodiments, the sensor 202 signals the fan 111 to become operational when the temperature on bottom of the cathode reaches 130 F.
  • Also shown in FIGS. 2, 2 a and 3, the anode 204 is secured within the electrolysis cell 101 in the volume defined by the cathode 201, such that the anode 204 and the cathode 201 are not in contact. In a preferred embodiment, disks 119 are utilized as securing spacers to keep the anode and the cathode optimally spaced, such disks comprising polytetrafloroethylene. FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a portion of an embodiment of the disclosure to show features of the anode 204. The anode 204 is constructed such that it permits easy contact with electrolyte solution 13, typically by constructing it with a mesh-like pattern, as reflected in FIGS. 2 and 2 a, thereby exposing more free spaces around the anode 204 to the electrolyte solution 13 as well as promoting the ability of electrolyte solution 13 to more freely circulate there through as shown in FIG. 7. The surface of anode 204 is generally coated with a protective material that will increase the life expectancy of the anode and that will decrease possible corrosion that could be caused by the electrolyte solution during the normal operation of the electrolysis cell. It will be understood by one skilled in the art, that although this embodiment shows the anode 204 being an anode manufactured by CerAnode Technologies International, any material and coating being used as an anode 204 for the production of hydrogen and oxygen that are non-corrosive during alkaline electrolysis may be used, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. It will also be understood by one skilled in the art, however, that although FIGS. 1-2 depict the anode 204 having a cylindrical shape, the anode 204 may be constructed in any geometrical shape, including, but not limited to, spherical shapes, rectangular shapes, hexagonal shapes, triangular shapes or custom shapes, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure.
  • The rod 207 of the anode 204 can exit the cathode 201 canister through an orifice in the bottom of the chamber 101. The anode rod 207 can be separated from the cathode 201 by a Teflon bushing that is flat on both sides. The anode rod 207 can be held in place by hardware securing the anode 204 to the bottom of the cathode 201. The tip of the anode 204 may be connected to an electrical wire.
  • The electrolyte solution 13 as shown in FIG. 4 is filled in the electrolysis cell 101 to an electrolyte solution level, wherein the electrolyte solution fills a majority of the electrolysis chamber 101 (and coordinately the cathode 201). It will be understood by one skilled in the art that the electrolyte solution level may be higher or lower without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. In the shown embodiment, the electrolyte solution used is a potassium hydroxide solution, of a strength which is environmentally friendly. It will be understood by one skilled in the art, that although this embodiment shows the electrolyte solution being a potassium hydroxide solution, any electrolyte solution capable of producing hydrogen may be used, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure.
  • The electrolyte solution can communicate electrically between the cathode 201 and the anode 204. When current is applied and passes through the anode 204 to the electrolyte solution, the water in the electrolyte solution can decompose, in that the anode 204 forms oxygen while the cathode 201 forms hydrogen, both of which gases rise into a gas accumulation zone (such as a de minimus gas accumulation zone), located between the electrolyte solution level and the top of the cap of the cathode 201 or electrolysis chamber 101. The hydrogen and oxygen are instantly drawn from the gas accumulation zone via the tubing 102.
  • The electrolyte solution 13 utilized in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 comprises a small amount of electrolyte generally in de-ionized water or distilled water. In this embodiment, an electrolyte solution typically can be used wherein the amount of potassium hydroxide ranges between about 1.5 grams to about 12, to about 25 grams per gallon of water, and in preferred embodiments the amount of potassium hydroxide is typically about 37.5 grams to one and one half gallon of water or substantially similar molarity sufficient to stay within an acceptable range as discussed in greater detail above.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic view of electrolyte solution level 13 in between cathode 201 and anode 204, along with a water trap/spark arrestor 106 (discussed in more detail below) and with an injector 117 (also discussed in more detail below), altogether to deliver the hydrogen and oxygen gases to the combustion engine 2. Thus arranged, at ambient or slightly above ambient conditions a pH range of about 7 to about 14 and above can easily be tolerated, as well as a range of electrolyte concentration and liquid levels such that a constant current applied electrolytically results in surprisingly constant hydrogen and oxygen gas evolution. Also, FIG. 5 illustrates an enlarged view of the electrolyte solution 13, cathode 201, and anode 204 to show how bubbles of gas are continuously formed above the anode 204. Furthermore, FIG. 6 illustrates an even more enlarged view of the electrolyte solution 13, wherein the dimensional spacing can be clearly marked and understood, such that even as the resistance changes as liquid level D drops with consumption of water through electrolysis and concentration of electrolyte increases, the spacing d between cathode 201 and anode 204 permits generally constant gas evolution based on the preferred relationship constituting generally high ratios of large D to small d. Such a ratio of D:d is generally at least about 10:1 and preferably is even greater such as to be at least about 50:1, and is most preferably designed so that the anode 204 remains fully submerged in electrolyte solution throughout use in order to obtain constant hydrogen evolution. In addition, the ratio of the diameter (Dia.) to the spacing d is quite large at about 50 to 1 and may also preferably be anywhere in the range of about 500 to 1 to about 1 to 1. In a preferred embodiment, the ratio of diameter (Dia.) to d is about 100 to 1 to about 20 to 1. The volume of electrolytic liquid indicated by level D is substantially more in a preferred embodiment, than the volume indicated by h which generally reflects the height of the anode 204 along the area where such anode is in close proximity to the cathode 201. The volume demarked generally by the parameters d and h around the circumference of the anode related generally to the area where principle production of thermal energy is generated. Such ratio of Dia. to d permits for efficient thermal transfer and dissipation according to a preferred embodiment. In addition, the ratio of diameter (Dia.) to the height of electrolytic solution (D) is such that it forms a varying ratio of about 3:1 to about 1:1. Since the height of the anode is preferred to be about half of the diameter (Dia.) in an embodiment, as the volume of the electrolyte solution decreases, the anode is not exposed and a constant substantially electrically effective surface area or Gaussian area is maintained. In such a preferred embodiment, the Gaussian area of the electrolysis is maintained substantially constant while the effective concentration of the electrolyte is varied. Such configuration permits the resistivity across the distance d to be substantially lessened relative to the volume of electrolytic solution relatively indicated by the level D of the electrolyte liquid available in the volume including the dimension of the diameter.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment showing the flow of electrolyte solution 13 between the cathode 201 and the anode 204 and into the volume of the electrolyte solution 13. FIGS. 5, 6, and 9 depict the progression as the cell 1 (shown, e.g. in FIG. 1) produces hydrogen and oxygen gases which are generally depicted as bubbles. In FIG. 5, the volume of electrolytic liquid 13, which may be generally reflected depth D as shown in FIG. 6, is greater than the volume of electrolytic liquid 13 depicted in FIG. 9 and substantially greater than the volume generally reflected by the height h of the anode 204 in the area where said anode and cathode 201 are in close proximity as indicated by distance d. The concentration of electrolyte in FIG. 9 is greater than the concentration in FIG. 5. Through the lessening of the volume of electrolytic solution 13 as generally reflected in a decrease in depth D, the production of hydrogen and oxygen gases is maintained relatively constant. When the volume of electrolytic solution is reduced as in FIG. 9 the user may add water 15 to the cell. The cycle of addition of water relative to the number of miles of operation is over 10,000 miles. In a preferred embodiment, water 15 may be added once every approximately 20,000 miles. Thus, the performance cycle for the cell 1 relative to the miles driven is preferably approximately 20,000 wherein the cell is closed and water (in combination with electrolyte) is maintained in a given volume, such volume being maintained at substantially ambient or slightly above ambient pressure. As depicted in FIG. 9, a user may pour water 15 directly into an electrolysis chamber 101 (depicted as a cathode 201), even while the chamber 101 is in operation. Such use of water 15 generally permits operation of the cell 1 in an engine 2 for over 20,000 miles.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates the predominate vector of water and gaseous flow in an embodiment. As shown there is a significant and predominate vector of gaseous hydrogen and oxygen production that moves in the radially inwardly direction. The anode 204 (not depicted in FIG. 8) is configured to be spaced from the cathode such that the flow vectors in the radially inward direction are provided. The close distance (d) as explained in connection with other drawings (e.g. FIG. 6) facilitates such operation. FIG. 8 also demonstrates that the configuration of the anode, including openings, facilitates the flow from the region of the insubstantial distance (d) into the larger volume within the anode and above the anode. As such the substantial flow vector in the radially inwardly direction provides for increased heat transfer and reduces sharp temperature gradients which might otherwise lead to degradation and volatility. Such substantial vector is readily observed by lowering the depth D of the electrolytic liquid to the height h of the anode so that the top of the electrolytic liquid 13 may be observed as the electrolysis is conducted.
  • The control unit 118 shown in FIG. 10 and FIG. 11 can also be contained within the box 108 (but like other components does not necessarily have to be within an box 108). The control unit 118 can be remotely connected to a display unit via a two-wire serial network, wireless connection or a fiber optic connection. The control unit 118 may monitor data and compile it before sending the information to the display unit; thus, providing a user with indication (which may be visual) that the system is operating either properly or improperly. The display unit may be LED 529, LCD or any other type of display unit.
  • The control unit 118 illustrated in FIG. 2 can control the on/off operation of the entire system and can ensure that the hydrogen and oxygen gases are generated only when the engine is running. The control unit 118 typically maintains a constant current output of about 30 amps, by allowing voltage to vary as the resistance of the electrolyte solution changes such that voltage can vary between 5.8 and 3.8 volts with a cutoff at 3.8 and other signals to indicate refill conditions in a preferred embodiment. The control unit 118 may also adjust and/or determine input voltage range, output voltage, amperes, current ripple, input polarity protection, output short circuit protection, temperature control of the electrolyte solution, LED indicators for operating conditions, automatic on/off function relative to engine operation and a rocker switch to control on/off function manually.
  • Further referring to FIG. 10 and FIG. 2, on the output side of the control unit 118, the wire 508 is connected to the positive terminal block connection of the cell 101 which is connected to the anode. The control unit 118 is connected with wire 515 to the output side of battery or electrical system separator 507 which is in turn connected to the positive pole of the electrical potential power source 6 with wire 501. Wire 502 connected to the battery negative post 504 is connected to control unit 118 negative input port 516. The battery or electrical system separator is not shown in FIG. 10. Wire 507 is connected to the negative output of control unit 118 and to ground post 119. Wire 520 is connected to the output side of the battery or electrical system separator 507 and to cooling fan 111 and/or cooling control unit 230. Temperature sensor 202 is connected to cooling fan 111 and/or cooling control unit 230.
  • When the ignition switch is in the “on” or “auxiliary” position, and when the engine 2 is running, generally most vehicle batteries provide about 12 volts running, but about 13.5 volts are typically used to start the engine 2. The battery separator contains the 12 volts until the engine 2 alternator (not shown) connected to the power source and the engine starter (also not shown) pulls about 13.5 volts from the power source to start the engine. The 13.5 volts parameter is designed as a safety device to prevent the hydrogen gas from forming from the cell 1 unless and until the engine is operating.
  • The system's operation is straight-forward and operates on basic principles. Electrical current can be supplied to the electrolysis cell 1 by turning the internal combustion engine ignition switch to start the combustion engine 2 or by a separate toggle switch located in the vehicle cockpit or the toggle switch located on the control unit 118. The vehicle battery (not shown) then can provide the electrical current to the anode 204. The cathode 201 is grounded to the negative pole of the battery or other area suitable for grounding purposes. When current is applied to the anode 204 and passes through to the electrolyte solution, the water in the electrolyte solution is decomposed in that the anode 204 forms oxygen while the cathode 201 forms hydrogen, which rises into the gas accumulation zone, located between the electrolyte solution level and the top cap. The hydrogen and oxygen can be instantly drawn from the gas accumulation zone to the combustion engine intake via the tubing 102. The combustion engine intake is where the fuel mixes with the hydrogen and oxygen gases, and undergoes combustion. Hydrogen and oxygen can be generated as long as the combustion engine 2 is running. When the key is turned to the off position, the motor stops, and the control unit 118 turns the system off. As the unit operates over time, the electrolyte solution becomes more concentrated with electrolytes because the de-ionized water or the distilled water has been dissipating and thus an increase in operating temperature resulting in a drop in compliance voltage triggering the display 529 to indicate that the water level is low. The connection between control unit 118 and display 529 may be serial or otherwise. Further, control unit 118 may be integrated into the vehicle's central or auxiliary processing units (not shown).
  • The control unit 118 can further control the operation of the electrolysis cell 1 so that the operation is safer and there is little maintenance involved. If the temperature of the outer wall of the cathode 201 reaches 42° F., a temperature sensor 202 activates the heater 113, which is connected to an electrical potential source (such as a vehicle battery (not shown)) to maintain that ambient temperature within the box 108 until the electrolysis cell 1 is operational and the temperature of the electrolyte solution increases.
  • Depending on operating conditions and criteria, including, for example, the system's power source, the hydrogen output desired, and/or spatial issues (such as those that would limit the size of the electrolysis cell 1 or box 108), the number of electrolysis cells 1 to be used in a system will vary.
  • FIG. 11 further depicts an embodiment of the control unit 118. A microprocessor 806 is provided with memory 803, a central processing unit 804 and an input/output interface 805. This configuration may be implemented in any number of manners such as through PLCs, computers, etc. A typical PLC is commercially available from TriPLC. The memory provides storage of parameters for proper control of the systems from interval to interval. The memory may be in the form of RAM, ROM, EEROM, etc. The parameters stored therein may be used to provide other parameters and control variables for directing the operation of peripheral devices such as the Heat/cooling units 800. The parameters may also be employed to set or calculate the operation of a power source 801, such as to control a substantially constant current of 30A. The I/O interface may communicate with peripheral devices in any known manner such as serially, in parallel, digitally or in analog. Thus a simple programmable controller could be used to limit the electrolysis current and/or temperature to prevent electrolyte from becoming undesirably too hot and/or boiling away.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the electrical system 6 of the vehicle is connected to the battery or electrical system separator 507 (not shown in FIGS. 10 and 11) which is connected to power source 801 which is connected further through the I/O 805, which may be a bus connection within a PLC logic unit. The microprocessor 806 sends control signals to the power source 801 such that the power source provides a substantially constant current to chamber 101 based on the power provided by electrical system 6. A voltage sensor 802 is also provided which generates a signal that is fed back to the I/O 805. As explained, depending on the volume of electrolytic solution and the concentration of the electrolyte in the liquid within the chamber 101, the apparent voltage drop across the chamber 101 will vary. A signal depicting such changes may be directed to the I/O interface 805 for further processing and potential generation of other signals. For example, at a given signal, the current provided by power source 801 to the chamber 101 may be terminated. At another given signal, the user interface 50 could be sent a signal by the I/O interface 805 to indicate to the user the level of the electrolytic solution in the chamber 101 and that water needed to be added.
  • In a preferred embodiment, a temperature sensor 202 is provided to sense the temperature of the electrolytic liquid within the chamber 101. The temperature sensor 202 may provide a signal to the I/O interface 805 reflecting the temperature of the electrolytic liquid where the microprocessor 806 may generate other control signals that are provided through the I/O interface 805. Such provided signals can control the heat/cooling units 800 to provide either heat or cooling to the chamber 101. In another preferred embodiment, as shown in FIG. 2, the temperature sensor 202 can be connected directly to the heat/cooling units 800 as shown by connection to fan 111, which may be operated independently of the control unit 118. In an embodiment, sensor 202 is connected to fan 111 directly.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the water trap/spark arrestor 106, as shown in FIG. 4, is located on the tubing 102, which supplies hydrogen and oxygen to the combustion engine intake via the injector 117. When a box 108 is used, the water trap/spark arrestor 106 can be located within or outside the box 108, without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. The water trap/spark arrestor 106 serves a dual purpose. First, the water trap/spark arrestor 106 prevents water from traveling from the combustion engine intake to the electrolysis cell 1. Second, the water trap/spark arrestor 106 prevents combustion engine backfire from reaching the electrolysis cell 1, which would be an explosion hazard.
  • The injector 117 is used to deliver the hydrogen gas to the internal combustion engine 2 in a constant, slightly diffused stream that is consistent and uninterrupted. In the embodiment of FIG. 4 (and as isolated in FIG. 12), the injector 117 can be a single unit milled from a solid block of aluminum that is 1¼ inches in length by ¾ inches at its widest point and ¼ inch in width at its narrowest point. The injector 117 does not have to be of the same scale and further may be constructed of any material that can be precision milled and does not adversely react to the gas being injected. A 0.032 inch injecting orifice can be drilled in the top center of the distal end of the injector 117 such that the injecting orifice continues through the entirety of the injector 117. The injecting orifice is threaded so as to be able to receive a slip-fitting locked onto the end of the plastic tubing. The miniscule size of the injecting orifice can be utilized to create a slight backpressure, which causes the hydrogen supply stream to be uninterrupted and consistent. In a preferred embodiment the stream is characterized as having laminar flow. The injector 117 utilizes a venturi effect to disperse the gas from the inlet to the air intake passage to the combustion chamber. The velocity of flow of the gas increases as it passes through the injector 117 and there is a pressure drop.
  • The top half of the injector 117 can be rectangular and larger than the bottom half so as to serve as a secure connector housing between the slip fitting of the tubing 102 and the injecting orifice, thereby eliminating the risk the low density gas may escape. The bottom half of the injector 117 can be a rounded cantilevered shape and can be partially threaded on its exterior so as to provide a secure fitting at the point where the injector 117 is attached to the combustion engine intake or the turbine housing (not shown). The size of the injector 117 and the injecting orifice may be adjusted to fit the size of the internal combustion engine 2 for which the present disclosure is used. The injector 117 may be used in instances where the hydrogen is delivered by a free-flow method or with the assistance of a pumping mechanism.
  • The tubing 102 from the electrolysis cell 1 is generally snap-lock fitted and can connect to either the low pressure side of a combustion engine intake via the injector 117 (if the hydrogen and oxygen is to be delivered via the free-flow method) or the high pressure side of the combustion engine intake via the injector 117 (if the hydrogen and oxygen is delivered via the pump-flow method). The vehicle type along with other determinates can determine the flow method. For example, the pump-flow method can be used if the combustion engine 2 is operated in primarily sub-freezing temperatures during winter months or if the combustion engine 2 has been retrofitted with an exhaust gas recirculation device (not shown). The installation is typically simple and does not require modifications to the existing system. In preferred embodiments a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system (not shown) of the engine 2 typically acts with a vacuum or negative pressure effect to assist the flow of hydrogen and oxygen gases.
  • An embodiment is illustrated in FIG. 13, showing an electrolysis canister 28 which is formed of stainless steel or other chemically compatible metal. As shown in FIG. 13, canister 28 has a bottom 29 and a canister head 31 with integral o-ring seal 32 and threaded lock ring 33 which secures and seals the canister head 31 to the canister cylinder 30, but allows easy removal for servicing. The canister cylinder 30 of canister 28 also serves as the cathode. Located within the canister 28 is anode 34 secured concentrically by means of connection rod 35 which is electrically connected to anode 34 at one end via titanium bracket (not shown) and the other end becomes an electrical terminal 36 for an electrical wire. Rod 35 is insulated from contact with canister head 31 by means of centralizer 38A and o-ring seal 38B. Anode 34 is insulated from canister cylinder 30 with spacers at each end of anode 34. Anode 34 is best configured as an open mesh or perforated solid (not illustrated in FIG. 13).
  • An embodiment is illustrated in FIG. 14, which illustrates an embodiment of the electrolysis cell of the invention as used connected with a vehicle combustion engine 508. The battery is shown as 505, which acts a source of electric potential. Tubing 102 is illustrated connecting the chamber 101 to the engine 508 via the injector 117. If the hydrogen and/or oxygen gas is to be delivered via a free flow method, then typically the connection may be to the low pressure side of the engine 505 air intake. If the hydrogen and/or oxygen gas is to be delivered via a pump flow method, then typically the connection may be to the high pressure side of the engine 505 air intake. Generally vehicle type and use will determine the best method for delivery. For example, the pump flow method typically is used if the engine 508 is operated primarily in sub-freezing temperatures during winter months or if the engine has been fitted with an exhaust gas recirculation device (not shown). Generally the method that is typically used is the simplest one that does not require modifications to the existing system.
  • Depending on operating conditions and criteria, including for example, the system's power source, the hydrogen output desired, and/or spatial issues such as those that might limit the size of the chamber 101, the number of chambers 101 to be used in a system typically may vary.
  • Some of the advantages of the present disclosure include its safety aspects, economic benefits and environmental benefits. For instance, burning the conditioned mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gases produces high temperature steam; accordingly, the exhaust gases from the engine typically may be steam cleaned and may have substantially lower concentrations of combustible particles.
  • The elegance of the design decreases the necessity for maintenance other than for the occasional addition of deionized or distilled water to the cathode 201 container. The environmentally friendly electrolyte solution is safe for the user and will not cause harm in the event of an accidental spill from the cathode 201 container. The simplicity of the present design allows for an economically viable product which can be used in applications, including all combustion engines used in automobiles, trucks, agricultural equipment, construction equipment, trains, power generators, motorcycles, mining equipment, and in non-combustion engine fossil fuel burning applications including coal fired power plants. The present disclosure is designed so as to eliminate any moving parts which results in higher durability and longer life expectancy.
  • Some of the safety feature of the present disclosure include the use of a water trap/spark arrestor 106 in the tubing 102, the top cap being securely attached to the cathode 201, the control unit 118 ensuring that the present disclosure is not operational unless the engine is running, a display unit to allow the user to determine that the system is operating properly, and the control unit 118 controlling the present disclosure's operation (i.e., turning the system off and on in accordance with electrolytic liquid level and controlling the electrical current applied to the anode 204.) The trap/spark arrestor 106 also acts as a backflash arrestor and prevents accidental ignition of hydrogen and oxygen gases in the event of engine backfire.
  • Use of the present disclosure effectively addresses the major problems currently facing the nation with respect to combustion engines operating on fossil fuels. The mixture of hydrogen and/or oxygen, when added as a supplement to other hydrocarbon fuels, causes the unburned portions of that fuel to burn more completely, thereby effecting a substantial reduction in the concentration of noxious gases and/or particulate matter in the emissions. Moreover, poorer quality fuels with lower octane or cetane values are advantageously used in the engine 2 due to the increased efficiency. Correspondingly, equivalent quality fuels are used to obtain better vehicle mileage and/or power performance. For instance, alternative and non-fossil fuels such as ethanol, bio-diesel, synthetic diesel, and other alternative fuels may be used to improve economics by utilizing various of the embodiments described herein.
  • Another expected advantage of the present invention is less indirect maintenance on the engine 2 due to improved efficiency such that the exhaust system requires less maintenance due to decreased corrosion, engine oil levels require less frequent inspection due to easier running conditions, engine oil stays cleaner, and other aspects of vehicle maintenance repair are expected improved by use of the cell 1.
  • Some embodiments of the disclosure are expected to have an approximate 25% reduction in NOx emissions, while simultaneously not increasing the percentage of NO2 emissions. The NO2 emissions, according to some current regulations, must be 20% or less of the total emissions. Further, there is a substantial improvement in fuel mileage obtained, which results in less fuel being used and less environmental pollution that is added to the atmosphere. Also, dilute potassium hydroxide, which is environmentally friendlier than many alternatives, is used in the electrolyte solution within the electrolysis cell. These are just some of the advantages of the present disclosure.
  • The following examples further illustrate the advantages of some embodiments but, of course, should not be construed as in any way limiting its scope.
  • EXAMPLE 1
  • The following experimental data shows an embodiment of the present disclosure operating with an increased efficiency, a lower NOx emissions while simultaneously not increasing NO2 emissions. The experimental data also illustrates a comparison of mileage increases between the present disclosures' operation and the hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell data disclosed and published in the Stowe Patent. The electrolysis cell used in the following experiments was based on a coated anode system (commercially available from CerAnode) having a mixed oxide coating believed to comprise a dual rutile phase of tantalum oxide and iridium oxide applied to a substrate comprising titanium alloy with less than 0.2 wt % palladium. These tests show some advantages that may be obtained under some conditions. Obviously, results may vary depending on a multitude of conditions including the condition of the engine, environmental conditions, fuel being used, etc. such that improvements are not seen in every instance.
  • The following mileage and fuel consumption tests were conducted using a 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 with an 8 cylinder, 5.9L HO Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, 136-ampere alternator, 750-ampere battery, and 35 gal capacity fuel tank. A fuel cell configuration employed in these examples included a cathode container, an anode separated from the cathode as essentially described herein, a battery separator, and a hydrogen injector as described.
  • In the first test, baseline mileage and fuel consumption was established based on using a full fuel tank as a volumetric manual reference between test events. In the later tests, mileage and fuel consumption were similarly determined utilizing the electrolysis cell of the present disclosure with the coated anode system described above using three different electrolyte solutions. The electrolysis cell providing hydrogen enrichment was installed together with the combustion engine functioning under similar field conditions to those used as in the baseline. As much as feasibly possible, field conditions were maintained the same way for each test such as driving the same routes and filling the tank the same way. The results of this testing are reflecting in Table 1:
    TABLE 1
    Start End Fuel %
    Date Odom Odom Miles added MPG Change
    BASE LINE FUEL & MILEAGE DATA WITHOUT HYDROGEN ENRICHMENT
    5/17/2006 10,472.0 10,559.0 87.0 9.562 9.0985
    FUEL & MILEAGE DATA WITH HYDROGEN ENRICHMENT
    USING THE PRESENT DISCLOSURE
    (0.12M KOH electrolyte solution)
    5/18/2006 10,602.0 10,689.0 87.0 6.227 13.9714 53.6%
    (0.06M KOH electrolyte solution)
    5/22/2006 10,838.0 10,925.0 87.0 6.500 13.3846 47.1%
    (0.04 M KOH electrolyte solution)
    6/1/2006 11,436.0 11,523.0 87.0 6.392 13.6108 49.6%
  • The Stowe patent disclosure publication asserted increases in miles per gallon ranging between 22.8% and 34.8%. Hence in comparison, the present disclosure delivers approximately a maximum of about 30% more miles per gallon and/or a minimum of about 10% more miles per gallon than the published Stowe Disclosure. Such an improvement over the art was clearly considered to be significant even under any possible variations in normal field testing conditions. Accordingly, an embodiment of the present disclosure was found to have increased the miles per gallon of fuel of the combustion engine by at least about 40 percent on an absolute basis in compassion to baseline testing without any electrolysis cell, and in one instance the cell increased the miles per gallon of fuel of the combustion engine by at least about 50% or more.
  • EXAMPLE 2
  • The following emission tests were conducted using the same 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 with an 8 cylinder, 5.9L HO Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, 136-ampere alternator, 750-ampere battery, and 35 gal capacity fuel tank as used in the previously discussed testing. Baseline emissions readings were taken as an overall average for three tests based on each test using a five minute sampling period with a commercially available ECOM-AC Portable Emissions Analyzer. Emissions reading with the electrolysis cell of Example 1 operating were taken over extended thirty minute time periods in order to ensure that the cell had sufficient time to reach steady state conditions. Regardless of sampling time, each sampling event was conducted with the engine idling for about 1 hour at about 800 RPM (rotations per minute). The analyzer measured gases and calculated in PPM (parts per million) combustion parameters. The AC incorporated a high flow pump, a radiant gas cooler and self-draining moisture trap to properly cool the gas samples. The results of this testing with the engine operating under substantially constant and similar conditions in all instances is reflected in Table 2:
    TABLE 2
    CO NOx
    BASELINE EMISSION TEST DATA WITHOUT
    ELECTROLYSIS CELL:
    Overall Average for three (3), 134 173
    Five 5 Minute Emissions Tests
    EMISSION TEST DATA WITH ELECTROLYSIS
    CELL OF EXAMPLE 1:
    Overall Average for one (1), 103 129
    Thirty 30 Minute Emissions Tests
  • The electrolysis cell decreased the CO emission by about 23% and the NOx by about 25% when applied within an internal combustion engine using the above testing methods. Therefore, such an electrolysis cell decreases both NOx and CO emissions by at least about 20% as compared to test data without use of an electrolysis cell in the combustion engine. As with Example 1, these tests show some advantages that may be obtained under some conditions. Obviously, results may vary depending on a multitude of conditions including the condition of the engine, environmental conditions, fuel being used, etc. such that improvements are not seen in every instance.
  • EXAMPLE 3
  • This example demonstrates how various coated and uncoated anodes were evaluated to determine suitable anodes for long term use in potassium hydroxide electrolyte solutions in order to find materials that would have sufficient longevity of a vehicle, or approximately five to ten years. Accordingly, conventional accelerated testing conditions were determined based on using slightly concentrated potassium hydroxide at temperatures slightly above ambient and under electrolysis conditions of slightly increased current application.
  • Materials tested included 316 L stainless steel, 304 stainless steel, and 400 stainless steel, all of which disassociated producing rust resulting in contamination when used with any strength potassium hydroxide solution. Titanium metal reacted to reduce its conductivity when connected as an anode in any strength of potassium hydroxide. Nickel plate corroded, dissolved and left an undesirable black electrolyte. Copper metal turned green when used with potassium hydroxide, and it corroded and dissolved. Magnesium corroded and disassembled (fragmented) when used with potassium hydroxide, creating a possibly noxious, unpleasant odor. When aluminum was used as the anode, it burned off, creating aluminum compounds. While these anodes were useful, a titanium anode coated with a ceramic coating that was electrically conductive and resistant to decomposition was advantageous.
  • A coated material was used for testing which was believed to comprise a titanium substrate alloyed with less than 0.2 wt % palladium coated with a dual rutile phase of tantalum oxide and iridium oxide commercially available from CerAnode. Under similar testing conditions used above for the uncoated materials, the coated anode was stable, undissolved, and gave good performance while also not contaminating the electrolyte solution.
  • EXAMPLE 4
  • In order to determine the decreased fuel demand on another type of engine, a stationary generator was used to examine fuel consumption with and without an embodiment of the electrolysis cell. The cell used was substantially similar to the cell used in Examples 1 and 2.
  • The following tests were conducted using a commercially available John Deer 6 Cylinder, 6.8 L, 4 cycle, 200 HP, 1800 RPM Engine. This diesel generator has a fuel capacity of 214 gallons. Three different load levels were used corresponding to idle and to two different kW power generation as reflected in Table 3:
    TABLE 3
    Base Date With Date of
    Line of Added Test
    Fuel Test Hydrogen With Dif- % of
    Load in Base Fuel in Added ference Decrease
    Level Liters Line Liters Hydrogen in Fuel in Fuel
    Idle 18 13-Apr-06 14 17-Apr-06 4 22.2%
    25 KW 25 13-Apr-06 20.25 18-Apr-06 4.75 19.0%
    50 KW 38 14-Apr-06 31.25 18-Apr-06 6.75 17.8%
  • The results indicated that on average about a 20 vol % decrease in fuel consumption was observed with the addition of hydrogen using an embodiment the present disclosure.
  • Although the disclosure has been described with reference to specific embodiments, these descriptions are not meant to be construed in a limiting sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the disclosure will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the disclosure. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conception and the specific embodiment disclosed may be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present disclosure. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the disclosure as set forth in the appended claims. It is therefore, contemplated that the claims will cover any such modifications or embodiments that fall within the true scope of the disclosure.
  • All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.
  • The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the disclosure and do not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.
  • Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.

Claims (117)

  1. 1. A method utilizing a coated anode for providing hydrogen to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine, said method utilizing a coated anode comprising:
    (i) providing a source of electric potential;
    (ii) providing an electrolytic chamber to retain an electrolytic liquid within a substantially confined space;
    (iii) providing a cathode and connecting said provided cathode to said provided source of electric potential;
    (iv) coating an anode comprising a metal base substrate compound with a coating material comprising a coating compound that is electrically conductive and resistant to oxidation to form a coated anode;
    (v) placing and securing said coated anode in relation to said cathode within said electrolytic chamber, such that said coated anode and cathode are near one another, and connecting said anode to said source of electric potential;
    (vi) combining an amount of an electrolyte with water thereby forming an electrolytic liquid which is added to said electrolytic chamber, said amount of said electrolyte being sufficient to submerge at least partially said coated anode and energizing under the electric potential across said coated anode and said cathode said electrolytic liquid so that water releases oxygen and hydrogen gases; and;
    (vii) delivering hydrogen gas to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine while oxygen generated from said release of oxygen and hydrogen is prevented from substantially decomposing said coated anode due to said electrically conductive ceramic coating on said anode.
  2. 2. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said metal base substrate compound further comprises a valve metal compound selected from the group consisting of titanium, tungsten, tantalum, niobium, aluminum, zirconium, and combinations thereof.
  3. 3. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said metal base substrate compound further comprises titanium.
  4. 4. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said metal base substrate compound further comprises a platinum group metal.
  5. 5. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said metal base substrate compound further comprises a titanium alloyed with less than about 0.2 wt % palladium.
  6. 6. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said metal base substrate compound further comprises at least one material selected from the group consisting of precious metals, precious metal oxides, valve metal oxides, and combinations thereof.
  7. 7. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said coating material compound further comprises a ceramic coating material compound.
  8. 8. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 7 wherein said ceramic coating material compound further comprises at least one oxide selected from iridium oxide, tantalum oxide, titanium oxide, or combinations thereof.
  9. 9. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 7 wherein said ceramic coating material compound further comprises a doping metal oxide compound comprising alkaline earth metals and/or metals of Groups VIII, VI B, and VII B of the periodic table.
  10. 10. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 7 wherein said ceramic coating material compound further comprises a doping metal oxide compound selected from the group consisting of cobalt, iron, nickel, chromium, molybdenum, manganese, calcium, magnesium, barium, and combinations thereof.
  11. 11. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 7 wherein said ceramic coating material compound further comprises a doping metal oxide added in an amount of from about 0.1 to about 5 wt % of said coating material compound.
  12. 12. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said step of coating said metal base substrate comprises applying said coating material compound by plating, cladding, extruding, plasma spray and/or thermal decomposition.
  13. 13. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said metal base substrate compound further comprises titanium and said coating material compound further comprises a ceramic coating material compound.
  14. 14. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 1 wherein said cathode is integral with said chamber.
  15. 15. An electrolysis chamber apparatus including an anode coated with an electrically conductive and corrosive resistant surface material, the electrolysis chamber providing hydrogen to an internal combustion chamber to improve the efficiency of the internal combustion chamber, said electrolysis chamber apparatus comprising:
    (i) a source of electric potential;
    (ii) an electrolytic liquid comprised of water and an amount of electrolyte;
    (iii) an electrolytic chamber to hold said electrolytic liquid;
    (iv) a cathode connected to said source of electric potential;
    (v) a coated anode comprised of a metal base substrate compound that is coated with a coating material compound that is electrically conductive and resistant to degradation when operated in the electrolysis of water, said coated anode being secured in place in relation to said cathode within said electrolytic chamber, such that said coated anode and cathode are near one another, said coated anode being connected to said source of electric potential and being at least partially submerged in said electrolytic liquid and energized under said electric potential so as to generate an electric potential with said cathode capable of generating oxygen gas and hydrogen gas, said oxygen generated from said release of oxygen gas and hydrogen gas being prevented from substantially degrading said coated anode due to said electrically conductive coating material compound on said anode; and;
    (vi) a supplying means connected to said chamber for supplying said generated hydrogen gas to said combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine, said supplying means comprising a passageway for communicating with an intake of said combustion chamber.
  16. 16. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 15 wherein said metal base substrate compound of said coated anode further comprises a valve metal selected from the group consisting of titanium, tungsten, tantalum, niobium, aluminum, zirconium, and combinations thereof.
  17. 17. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 15 wherein said metal base substrate compound of said coated anode further comprises titanium.
  18. 18. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 15 wherein said ceramic coating material compound of said coated anode further comprises a platinum group metal.
  19. 19. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 15 wherein said coating material compound of said coated anode further comprises a ceramic coating material compound.
  20. 20. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 19 wherein said ceramic coating material compound of said coated anode further comprises a compound that is selected from the group consisting of precious metals, precious metal oxides, valve metal oxides, and combinations thereof.
  21. 21. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 19 wherein said ceramic coating material compound is at least one oxide selected form iridium oxide, tantalum oxide, titanium oxide, or combinations thereof.
  22. 22. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 19 wherein said ceramic coating material compound further comprises a doping metal oxide compound comprising alkaline earth metals and/or metals of Groups VIII, VI B, and VII B of the periodic table.
  23. 23. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 19 wherein said ceramic coating material compound further comprises a doping metal oxide compound selected from the group consisting of cobalt, iron, nickel, chromium, molybdenum, manganese, calcium, magnesium, barium, and combinations thereof.
  24. 24. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 19 wherein said ceramic coating material compound further comprises a doping metal oxide present in an amount of from about 0.1 to about 5 wt % of the coating material compound.
  25. 25. The electrolysis chamber apparatus of claim 15 wherein said metal base substrate compound further comprises titanium and said coating material compound further comprises a ceramic coating material compound.
  26. 26. The method utilizing a coated anode of claim 15 wherein said cathode is integral with said chamber.
  27. 27. A control method for facilitating the operation of an electrolysis chamber for supplying a hydrogen gas to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine, said control method comprising:
    (i) combining an electrolyte with water thereby forming an electrolytic liquid with a water content and an electrolyte content;
    (ii) providing an electrolytic chamber for containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (iii) providing a source of electric potential;
    (iv) providing a cathode, which optionally is formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) placing and securing an anode in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said anode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (vi) adding said electrolytic liquid to said electrolytic chamber, thereby submerging at least part of said anode and said cathode in said electrolytic liquid;
    (vii) diminishing said water content from said electrolytic liquid in the course of generating hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, said hydrogen gas being supplied to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine to improve the operation of said internal combustion engine relative to said internal combustion engine running without the use of said supplied hydrogen gas;
    (viii) sensing said electrolytic liquid for properties relating to resistivity of such electrolytic liquid as said water content is diminished, and generating a first signal indicative of said resistivity; and,
    (ix) generating a second signal based on said first signal relating to said resistivity of said electrolytic liquid, said second signal indicating when water should be added to said electrolysis chamber.
  28. 28. The control method of claim 27 wherein said step of sensing further comprises sensing an electrical parameter across said anode and said cathode including any one of voltage drop, resistivity, conductivity, capacitance, or combinations thereof.
  29. 29. The control method of claim 27 wherein said step of sensing further comprises sensing an effective voltage drop across said anode and said cathode.
  30. 30. The control method of claim 27 wherein said step of sensing further comprises sensing an effective voltage drop across said anode and said cathode on a continuous basis, a periodic basis, or a combination thereof.
  31. 31. The control method of claim 27 wherein said control method further comprises generating a third signal based on said first signal relating to said resistivity of said electrolytic liquid, said third signal indicating that said anode and said cathode should be de-energized and being utilized to de-energize said cathode and said anode.
  32. 32. The control method of claim 27 wherein said second signal further comprises an indication that said anode and said cathode should be de-energized, said indication being utilized to de-energize said cathode and said anode.
  33. 33. The control method of claim 27 wherein said control method further comprises sensing a parameter indicative of a temperature of said electrolytic liquid and generating a temperature signal for facilitating control of said temperature of said electrolytic liquid by triggering a heater and/or a cooling fan to effectively adjust said temperature of said electrolytic liquid.
  34. 34. The control method of claim 27 wherein said control method further comprises sensing a parameter indicative of a temperature of said electrolytic liquid by a separate control circuitry and generating a temperature signal for facilitating control of said temperature of said electrolytic liquid by triggering a heater to effectively adjust said temperature of said electrolytic liquid.
  35. 35. The control method of claim 27 wherein said control method further comprises sensing a parameter indicative of a temperature of said electrolytic liquid by a separate control circuitry and generating a temperature signal for facilitating control of said temperature of said electrolytic liquid by triggering a cooling fan to effectively adjust said temperature of said electrolytic liquid.
  36. 36. The control method of claim 27 wherein said control method further comprises sensing said electrolytic liquid for properties relating to resistivity and temperature by a single control circuitry.
  37. 37. An electrolysis system including a control unit facilitating the operation of an electrolysis chamber for supplying a hydrogen gas to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine, said electrolysis system comprising:
    (i) electrolytic liquid comprising a water content and an electrolyte content;
    (ii) an electrolytic chamber defining a space for containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (iii) a source of electric potential;
    (iv) a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) an anode secured in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said electrolytic liquid in said electrolytic chamber submerging at least part of said anode and said cathode, said anode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (vi) a control unit including a sensing signal derived by sensing said electrolytic liquid for properties relating to resistivity of such electrolytic liquid as said water content is diminished, said sensing signal being indicative of said resistivity of said electrolytic liquid, and an indicating signal generated by said control unit and based on said sensing signal, said indicating signal indicating when water should be added to said electrolysis chamber.
  38. 38. The electrolysis system of claim 37 wherein said sensing signal is derived from an electrical parameter across said anode and said cathode including any one of voltage drop, resistivity, conductivity, capacitance, or combinations thereof.
  39. 39. The electrolysis system of claim 37 wherein said sensing signal is derived by sensing an effective voltage drop across said anode and said cathode.
  40. 40. The electrolysis system of claim 37 wherein said sensing signal is derived by sensing an effective voltage drop across said anode and said cathode on a continuous basis, a periodic basis, or a combination thereof.
  41. 41. The electrolysis system of claim 37 wherein said control unit further comprises a de-energizing signal based on said sensing signal derived by sensing said electrolytic liquid for properties relating to resistivity of said electrolytic liquid, said de-energizing signal indicating that said anode and said cathode should be de-energized and being utilized to de-energize said cathode and said anode.
  42. 42. The electrolysis system of claim 37, wherein said indicating signal further comprises an indication that said anode and said cathode should be de-energized, said indication being utilized to de-energize said cathode and said anode.
  43. 43. The electrolysis system of claim 37, wherein said control unit further comprises and temperature sensing signal indicative of a temperature of said electrolytic liquid and a temperature indicating signal for facilitating control of said temperature of said electrolytic liquid by triggering a heater and/or cooling fan to effectively adjust said temperature of said electrolytic liquid.
  44. 44. The electrolysis system of claim 37, wherein said electrolysis system further comprises a cooling unit separate from said control unit, said cooling unit including a heat sensing signal indicative of a temperature of said electrolytic liquid and a heat indicating signal for facilitating control of said temperature of said electrolytic liquid by triggering a cooling fan to effectively adjust said temperature of said electrolytic liquid.
  45. 45. The electrolysis system of claim 37, wherein said electrolysis system further comprises a heating unit separate from said control unit, said heating unit including a cold sensing signal indicative of a temperature of said electrolytic liquid and a cold indicating signal for facilitating control of said temperature of said electrolytic liquid by triggering a heater to effectively adjust said temperature of said electrolytic liquid.
  46. 46. A method where hydrogen gas is generated within an electrolysis chamber at substantially ambient pressure for providing the hydrogen gas to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine, said method comprising:
    (i) combining an amount of electrolyte with an amount of water and forming an electrolytic liquid;
    (ii) providing an electrolytic chamber for containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (iii) providing a source of electric potential;
    (iv) providing a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) placing and securing an anode in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said anode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (vi) adding said electrolytic liquid to said electrolytic chamber, thereby submerging at least part of said anode and said cathode in said electrolytic liquid;
    (vii) energizing said cathode and said anode in the presence of said electrolytic liquid, generating hydrogen and oxygen gases which are released from said anode and said cathode, said hydrogen gas being maintained at substantially ambient pressure and supplied to an inlet of a nozzle; and,
    (viii) generating a slight pressure differential across said nozzle between said inlet where said hydrogen gas is supplied and an outlet of said nozzle which is in communication with an air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine, and spraying said hydrogen gas under said slight pressure differential into said air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine so that said hydrogen gas is effectively dispersed among the air being supplied to said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine, said dispersion increasing the performance of said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine relative to said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine running without said supplied hydrogen gas.
  47. 47. The method of claim 46 wherein said slight pressure differential across said nozzle further comprises less than one atmosphere of difference between pressure present at said inlet and pressure present at said outlet.
  48. 48. The method of claim 46 wherein said substantially ambient pressure comprises less than one atmosphere of difference between said hydrogen gas supplied to said inlet of said nozzle and ambient pressure.
  49. 49. The method of claim 46 wherein said method further comprises supplying said hydrogen gas to said air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine in a substantially free flow manner.
  50. 50. The method of claim 46 wherein said method further comprises supplying said hydrogen gas to said air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine in a substantially laminar flow manner.
  51. 51. The method of claim 46 wherein said method further comprises supplying said hydrogen gas to said inlet of said nozzle under pressure augmented by a pumping mechanism.
  52. 52. The method of claim 46 wherein said method further comprises generating a venturi effect through the nozzle due at least in part to the restricted size of orifices at the outlet of said nozzle.
  53. 53. The method of claim 46 wherein said method further comprises generating an increased velocity of flow of said hydrogen gas as said hydrogen gas exits said nozzle while restricting the amount of flow of said hydrogen gas leaving said nozzle.
  54. 54. A vehicle including an internal combustion engine and an electrolysis chamber operated at substantially ambient pressure for generating hydrogen gas for use in improving the efficiency of said vehicle, said vehicle comprising:
    (i) electrolytic liquid comprising water and an electrolyte;
    (ii) an electrolytic chamber defining a space for containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (iii) a source of electric potential;
    (iv) a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) an anode secured in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said electrolytic liquid in said electrolytic chamber thereby submerging at least part of said anode and said cathode, said anode being connected to said source of electrical potential so that said anode and said cathode generate hydrogen gas and oxygen gas which are released from said anode and said cathode, said hydrogen gas being maintained at substantially ambient pressure; and,
    (vi) a nozzle including an inlet and an outlet capable of generating a slight pressure differential across said inlet where said hydrogen gas is supplied from said electrolytic chamber and said outlet in communication with an air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine, said nozzle including orifices at said outlet capable of spraying said hydrogen gas into said passage under said slight pressure differential so that said hydrogen gas is effectively dispersed among the air being supplied to said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine thereby increasing the performance of said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine relative to said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine running without said supplied hydrogen gas.
  55. 55. The vehicle of claim 54 wherein said slight pressure differential across said nozzle further comprises less than one atmosphere of difference between pressure present at said inlet and pressure present at said outlet.
  56. 56. The vehicle of claim 54 wherein said substantially ambient pressure comprises less than one atmosphere of difference between said hydrogen gas supplied to said inlet of said nozzle and ambient pressure.
  57. 57. The vehicle of claim 54 wherein said hydrogen gas is supplied to said air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine in a substantially free flow manner.
  58. 58. The vehicle of claim 54 wherein said nozzle further comprises that said hydrogen gas is provided to said air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine in a substantially laminar flow manner.
  59. 59. The vehicle of claim 54 wherein said nozzle further comprises that said hydrogen gas is provided to said inlet of said nozzle under pressure augmented by a pumping mechanism.
  60. 60. The vehicle of claim 54 further comprising wherein said nozzle is characterized by having at least one effectively small orifice to provide said small pressure differential.
  61. 61. The internal combustion engine of claim 54 further comprising wherein said nozzle is a single unit milled from aluminum, drilled axially through the center, and threaded on both ends to provide suitable connection to lines connecting to said electrolysis chamber and to said air intake or turbine housing passage of said internal combustion engine.
  62. 62. A heat-transfer method for efficiently dispersing thermal energy generated in an electrolysis chamber as hydrogen gas is liberated from water and supplied to an internal combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine, said heat-transfer method comprising:
    (i) combining an amount of electrolyte with an amount of water and forming an electrolytic liquid with an effective electrolyte concentration;
    (ii) providing an electrolytic chamber for containing said electrolytic liquid;
    (iii) providing a source of electric potential;
    (iv) providing a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) placing and securing an anode in said electrolytic chamber so that at least a portion of said cathode and said anode are substantially in close proximity to one another, said anode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (vi) adding a volume of said electrolytic liquid to said electrolytic chamber generally indicated by a depth (D) in relation to said electrolytic chamber, said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by depth (D ) of said electrolytic liquid being greater than a minimum volume of electrolytic liquid that is necessary to provide electrolytic liquid between said anode and said cathode, said minimum volume generally indicated by a dept (h);
    (vii) energizing said anode and cathode in the presence of said electrolytic liquid so as to produce hydrogen gas and oxygen gas that pass through at least a portion of said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by depth (D), said hydrogen gas being supplied to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine; and,
    (viii) circulating said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by depth (D) so that thermal energy generated in the production of hydrogen gas and oxygen gas by said anode and said cathode is substantially transferred and dispersed to said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by depth (D), such volume generally indicated by dept (D) being greater than the volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by dept (h) that is necessary to provide electrolytic liquid between said anode and said cathode.
  63. 63. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 further comprising transferring thermal energy to said cathode formed integrally with said chamber and to external atmosphere to transfer thermal energy from said electrolyte liquid via conduction through said cathode to said atmosphere.
  64. 64. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 further comprising transferring thermal energy to said electrolytic chamber and to external atmosphere to transfer thermal energy from said electrolyte liquid via conduction through said electrolytic chamber to said atmosphere.
  65. 65. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 wherein said placing and securing of said anode further comprises orienting an cylindrical portion of said anode inside said cathode so that said portion is in close proximity along a distance relating to said dept (h).
  66. 66. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 wherein said circulating step further comprises generating substantial flow vectors within said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by dept (h) which are oriented in an inward direction from said anode in close proximity with said cathode.
  67. 67. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 wherein said circulating step further comprises generating substantial flow vectors through a mesh-like portion of said anode in an inward direction.
  68. 68. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 further comprising wherein the close proximity of the cathode and anode is characterized with a distance (d), and the cylindrical diameter is characterized with a diameter (Dia.) such that the ratio of Dia.:d is in the range of about 100:1 to about 20:1, thus assisting circulating said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by dept (D).
  69. 69. The heat-transfer method of claim 68 further comprising wherein the ratio of D:d is at least about 10:1.
  70. 70. The heat-transfer method of claim 68 further comprising wherein the ratio of D:d is at least about 50:1.
  71. 71. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 further comprising wherein the cylindrical diameter is characterized with a diameter “Dia.”, such that the ratio of Dia.:D ranges from about 3:1 to about 1:1.
  72. 72. The heat-transfer method of claim 62 wherein said anode remains completely submerged in said electrolyte solution during said energizing step.
  73. 73. An electrolysis chamber including electrolytic liquid which acts to transport thermal energy away from heat generating areas to dissipate such thermal energy thereby providing for more stable operation and generation of hydrogen gas for use in an internal combustion chamber, said electrolysis chamber comprising:
    (i) electrolytic liquid comprising water and an electrolyte;
    (ii) an electrolytic chamber for defining a space containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (iii) a source of electric potential;
    (iv) a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) an anode secured in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said electrolytic liquid in said electrolytic chamber being of a volume generally indicated by depth (D) in relation to said space defined by said electrolytic chamber, said volume of electrolytic liquid indicated by depth (D) of said electrolytic liquid being greater than a volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by dept (h) necessary to provide electrolytic liquid between said anode and said cathode where said cathode and said anode are substantially in close proximity with one another;
    (vi) at least one gas generated by an electric potential between said anode and said cathode in the presence of said electrolytic liquid, said at least one gas passing through at least a portion of said volume of electrolytic liquid indicated by depth (h), said at least one gas being supplied to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine; and,
    (vii) thermal energy generated in the production of said at least one gas in an area where said cathode and said anode are substantially in close proximity with one another, at least some of said thermal energy being substantially transferred and dispersed to said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by depth (D), such volume being greater than said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by dept (h) necessary to provide electrolytic liquid between said anode and said cathode where said cathode and said anode are substantially in close proximity with one another.
  74. 74. The electrolysis chamber of claim 73 wherein said cathode is formed integrally with said chamber and said cathode contacts an external atmosphere to release thermal energy from said electrolyte liquid via conduction to said external atmosphere.
  75. 75. The electrolysis chamber of claim 73 wherein said volume of water generally indicated by dept (D) further comprises a substantial flow vector in the radially inward direction, such flow vector transferring and dispersing thermal energy to said volume of electrolytic liquid generally indicated by dept (D).
  76. 76. The electrolysis chamber of claim 73 wherein said anode further comprises a mesh portion which permits a substantial flow vector to pass through said anode.
  77. 77. The electrolysis chamber of claim 73 further comprising wherein the close proximity of said cathode and said anode is characterized with a distance (d), and the cylindrical diameter is characterized with a diameter (Dia.) such that the ratio of Dia.:d is in the range of about 100:1 to about 20:1.
  78. 78. The electrolysis chamber of claim 77 further comprising wherein the ratio of D:d is at least about 10:1.
  79. 79. The electrolysis chamber of claim 77 further comprising wherein the ratio of D:d is at least about 50:1.
  80. 80. The electrolysis chamber of claim 73 further comprising wherein the cylindrical diameter is characterized with a diameter “Dia.”, such that the ratio of Dia.:D ranges from about 3:1 to about 1:1.
  81. 81. The electrolysis chamber of claim 71 wherein said anode remains substantially submerged in said electrolyte solution during operation of said electrolysis chamber.
  82. 82. A method for providing a substantially consistent production of hydrogen gas as generated by an electrolysis chamber on-board a vehicle for supply to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine, said method comprising:
    (i) combining electrolyte with water thereby forming an electrolytic liquid with an effective concentration of electrolyte;
    (ii) providing an electrolytic chamber defining a substantially closed space for containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (iii) providing a source of electric potential;
    (iv) providing a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) placing and securing an anode in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said anode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (vi) adding said electrolytic liquid to said electrolytic chamber, thereby submerging at least part of said anode and said cathode in said electrolytic liquid;
    (vii) permitting water to be removed from said electrolytic liquid in the course of generating hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, said hydrogen gas being supplied to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine to improve the operation of said internal combustion engine relative to the engine running without the use of said supplied hydrogen gas;
    (viii) permitting the effective concentration of electrolyte within the electrolytic liquid to change as water is removed thereby changing the resistivity of said electrolytic liquid; and,
    (ix) maintaining a substantially constant electric current flow between said anode and said cathode as said resistivity of said electrolytic liquid is permitted to change, thereby providing a substantially consistent production rate of hydrogen gas as said resistivity of said electrolytic liquid changes.
  83. 83. The method of claim 82 further comprising the step of providing a substantially laminar flow of hydrogen gas to an air intake passage connected to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine.
  84. 84. The method of claim 82 further comprising the step of completely submerging said anode in said electrolytic liquid.
  85. 85. The method of claim 82 further comprising the step of adding water to said electrolytic liquid which is only required after operation of said internal combustion engine for an effective mileage period substantially equivalent to at least about 10,000 miles.
  86. 86. The method of claim 82 wherein the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide.
  87. 87. The method of claim 82 wherein the electrolytic liquid is at a pH from about 11 to about 13.
  88. 88. The method of claim 82 wherein said step of combining said water and electrolyte further comprises making a concentration of said electrolyte in said water at a molarity range of from about 0.001 to about 0.2 mol/L.
  89. 89. The method of claim 82 wherein said step of combining said water and electrolyte further comprises making a concentration of said electrolyte in said water at a molarity range of from about 0.005 to about 0.1 mol/L.
  90. 90. The method of claim 82 further comprising the step of maintaining said electrolytic liquid at a temperature sufficient to avoid boiling during said substantially constant electric current flow.
  91. 91. An electrolysis chamber including an electrolytic liquid exhibiting differing concentrations of electrolyte during operation and exhibiting differing resistivity while the electrolysis chamber maintains a substantially constant gas production, said electrolysis chamber comprising:
    (i) electrolytic liquid comprising water and an electrolyte, said electrolytic liquid having an effective concentration of electrolyte;
    (ii) an electrolytic chamber for defining a space containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (iii) a source of electric potential;
    (iv) a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (v) an anode secured in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said electrolytic liquid at least partially submerging said anode and said cathode where said cathode and said anode are substantially in close proximity with one another, said water of said electrolytic liquid being removed from said electrolytic liquid in the course of operation thereby changing said effective concentration of said electrolyte, said electrolytic liquid changing its resistivity as said water is removed; and,
    (vi) at least one gas generated by said anode and said cathode in the presence of said electrolytic liquid, said anode and said cathode being provided a substantially constant electric current by said source of electric potential as said resistivity of said electrolytic liquid changes during operation, said at least one gas being generated at a substantially consistent production rate as said resistivity of said electrolytic liquid changes, said at least one gas being supplied to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine to improve the operation of said internal combustion engine relative to the engine running without the use of said supplied at least one gas.
  92. 92. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said at least one gas comprises at least hydrogen gas.
  93. 93. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said source of electric potential further comprises varying an effective voltage drop across said anode and said cathode as water is removed from said electrolytic liquid.
  94. 94. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said source of electric potential further comprises a substantially constant current of about 30 amps and a variable voltage.
  95. 95. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said anode is completely submerged in said electrolytic liquid.
  96. 96. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said electrolyte is potassium hydroxide.
  97. 97. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said electrolytic solution further comprises a pH from about 11 to about 13.
  98. 98. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said electrolytic solution further comprises a concentration of electrolyte in a molarity range of from about 0.001 to about 0.2 mol/L relative to said water.
  99. 99. The electrolysis chamber of claim 91 wherein said electrolytic solution further comprises a concentration of electrolyte in a molarity range of from about 0.005 to about 0.1 mol/L relative to said water.
  100. 100. A method of combusting alternate fuels in a vehicle wherein said alternate fuel is provided to an internal combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine in the presence of hydrogen gas generated by an on-board electrolysis cell, said method of combusting alternate fuels comprising:
    (i) providing a combustion chamber in an internal combustion engine as part of a vehicle;
    (ii) supplying to said combustion chamber an amount of alternate fuel selected from the group consisting essentially of oxygenates, MTBE, E85, ethanol, biofuel, ethanol and hydrocarbon mixtures with ethanol constituting more that 10%, bio-diesel, synthetic diesel, and combinations thereof;
    (iii) combining an amount of an electrolyte with water thereby forming an electrolytic liquid;
    (iv) providing an electrolytic chamber on-board said vehicle defining a substantially closed space for containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (v) providing a source of electric potential;
    (vi) providing a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (vii) placing and securing an anode in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said anode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (viii) adding said electrolytic liquid to said electrolytic chamber, thereby submerging at least part of said anode and said cathode in said electrolytic liquid;
    (ix) generating hydrogen gas on-board said vehicle within said electrolytic chamber and supplying said hydrogen gas to said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine;
    (x) mixing said generated hydrogen gas with said alternate fuel and providing ignition of said alternate fuel within said combustion chamber, wherein the combustion of said alternate fuel is improved over combustion without the addition of hydrogen gas generated on-board by an electrolysis chamber.
  101. 101. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises oxygenates.
  102. 102. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises E85.
  103. 103. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises MTBE.
  104. 104. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises biofuel.
  105. 105. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises ethanol and hydrocarbon compounds.
  106. 106. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises bio-diesel.
  107. 107. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises a non-fossil fuel content is greater than about 10 wt %.
  108. 108. The method of combustion of claim 100 wherein said alternate fuel comprises synthetic diesel.
  109. 109. A vehicle provided with an internal combustion engine and an electrolysis chamber so that said electrolysis chamber provides substantial hydrogen thereby providing a new fuel mixture for said vehicle, said vehicle comprising:
    (i) a combustion chamber in an internal combustion engine securely mounted in relation to a vehicle;
    (ii) an amount of alternate fuel supplied to said combustion chamber, said alternate fuel selected from the group consisting essentially of oxygenates, MTBE, E85, ethanol, biofuel, ethanol and hydrocarbon mixtures with ethanol constituting more that 10%, bio-diesel, synthetic diesel, and combinations thereof;
    (iii) an electrolytic liquid comprising water and an electrolyte;
    (iv) an electrolytic chamber for defining a space containing said electrolytic liquid,
    (v) a source of electric potential;
    (vi) a cathode, which may be formed integrally with said electrolytic chamber, said cathode being connected to said source of electrical potential;
    (vii) an anode secured in said electrolytic chamber in proximity to said cathode, said electrolytic liquid at least partially submerging said anode and said cathode where said cathode and said anode are substantially in close proximity with one another, said anode being connected to said source of electric potential;
    (viii) at least one gas generated by said anode and said cathode in the presence of said electrolytic liquid on-board said vehicle within said electrolytic chamber, said at least one gas being supplied to a combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine; and,
    (ix) a mixture of said alternate fuel and said at least one gas, said mixture being present within said combustion chamber of said internal combustion engine such that said alternate fuel is combusted and improves the operation of said internal combustion engine relative to the engine running without the use of said supplied at least one gas.
  110. 110. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises oxygenates.
  111. 111. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises E85.
  112. 112. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises MTBE.
  113. 113. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises biofuel.
  114. 114. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises ethanol and hydrocarbon compounds.
  115. 115. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises bio-diesel.
  116. 116. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises a non-fossil fuel content is greater than about 10 wt %.
  117. 117. The vehicle of claim 109 wherein said alternate fuel comprises synthetic diesel.
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EP1949481A4 (en) 2009-10-28 application
WO2007047182A3 (en) 2007-11-22 application

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