WO2013032496A1 - Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines - Google Patents

Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2013032496A1
WO2013032496A1 PCT/US2011/054289 US2011054289W WO2013032496A1 WO 2013032496 A1 WO2013032496 A1 WO 2013032496A1 US 2011054289 W US2011054289 W US 2011054289W WO 2013032496 A1 WO2013032496 A1 WO 2013032496A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
hydrogen
fuel cell
water
water tank
gas
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2011/054289
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Donald Wade Owens
Original Assignee
Donald Wade Owens
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US13/225,340 priority Critical
Priority to US13/225,329 priority patent/US8449733B2/en
Priority to US13/224,338 priority patent/US8449754B2/en
Priority to US13/224,338 priority
Priority to US13/225,340 priority patent/US8449734B2/en
Priority to US13/225,329 priority
Application filed by Donald Wade Owens filed Critical Donald Wade Owens
Publication of WO2013032496A1 publication Critical patent/WO2013032496A1/en

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Classifications

    • 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
    • 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
    • C25B1/06Electrolytic production of inorganic compounds or non-metals of hydrogen or oxygen by electrolysis of water in cells with flat or platelike electrodes
    • 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
    • C25B9/08Cells comprising dimensionally-stable non-movable electrodes; Assemblies of constructional parts thereof with diaphragms
    • C25B9/10Cells comprising dimensionally-stable non-movable electrodes; Assemblies of constructional parts thereof with diaphragms including an ion-exchange membrane in or on which electrode material is embedded
    • 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
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E70/00Other energy conversion or management systems reducing GHG emissions
    • Y02E70/10Hydrogen from electrolysis with energy of non-fossil origin, e.g. PV, wind power, nuclear
    • 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
    • Y02E70/00Other energy conversion or management systems reducing GHG emissions
    • Y02E70/20Systems combining fuel cells with production of fuel of non-fossil origin
    • 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
    • Y02PCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRODUCTION OR PROCESSING OF GOODS
    • Y02P20/00Technologies relating to chemical industry
    • Y02P20/10General improvement of production processes causing greenhouse gases [GHG] emissions
    • Y02P20/12Energy input
    • Y02P20/129Energy recovery
    • 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
    • Y02PCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRODUCTION OR PROCESSING OF GOODS
    • Y02P20/00Technologies relating to chemical industry
    • Y02P20/10General improvement of production processes causing greenhouse gases [GHG] emissions
    • Y02P20/12Energy input
    • Y02P20/133Renewable energy sources
    • Y02P20/134Sunlight
    • 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
    • Y02T10/16Energy recuperation from low temperature heat sources of the ICE to produce additional power

Abstract

A portable, on-demand hydrogen generation system (l) is provided for producing hydrogen and injecting the hydrogen as a fuel supplement into the air intake of internal combustion engines (32), more particularly to vehicles (31). Hydrogen and oxygen is produced with a fuel cell (5) at low temperatures and pressure from water in a supply tank (6). The hydrogen and oxygen is passed back through the supply tank (6) for distribution and water preservation. The gases are kept separate by a divider (17) in the tank (6) and the water level in the tank 6). In the case of gasoline engines (32), the hydrogen is directed to the air intake (38) of the engine (32) while the oxygen is vented to the atmosphere. The device (1) is optionally powered by the vehicle battery (33), a stand alone battery, waste heat of the internal combustion engine (32) or solar energy. The system (1) utilizes a vacuum switch (35) or other engine sensor that permits power to the device (1) and therefore hydrogen production only when the engine (32) is in operation. Therefore, as the hydrogen is produced it is immediately consumed by the engine (32). No hydrogen is stored on, in or around the vehicle (31).

Description

HYDROGEN SUPPLEMENTAL SYSTEM FOR ON-DEMAND HYDROGEN GENERATION FOR INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINES

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to hydrogen generation devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to a hydrogen supplemental system that can be used with internal combustion engines for increased fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.

2. Description of the related art.

There are a number of devices on the market that create HHO gas, otherwise known as Brown's gas, which is used as a supplement to gasoline and diesel engines. HHO gas consists of two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen. These devices typically comprise an electrolyzer which decomposes water into hydrogen and oxygen. An example is patent # 4,023,405. These electrolyzers typically use an electrolyte, most notably KOH, Potassium hydroxide, or baking soda. A voltage is placed across the device to produce the HHO gas.

The main problem with most of these devices is that the energy required to produce the hydrogen creates a substantial load on the electrical system of the vehicle. Similar to running the air conditioner in any vehicle, the additional electrical load causes the miles per gallons to be reduced. Even though the hydrogen typically boosts the efficiency and miles per gallon of the vehicle, the additional electrical load on the vehicle to create the hydrogen is usually great enough to minimize or in many cases negate most or all of mileage gains of the vehicle.

Also, most HHO systems produce the hydrogen and oxygen in a combined gas stream. The hydrogen and oxygen gases are not generally separated from each other. In the case of modern gasoline powered vehicles, this extra oxygen is detected by the vehicle's oxygen sensors which

communicate this extra oxygen level to an on-board computer, namely and Electronic Control Unit ECU of the vehicle. When the ECU detects this extra oxygen, it is a signal that the engine is running lean and the ECU adds more gasoline to the engine. This also negates most of the fuel efficiency gains.

Furthermore, HHO systems generally use either baking soda or

Potassium Hydroxide KOH. KOH is generally preferred over baking soda because of its stability and because it causes less deterioration of stainless steel plates or other plates used in the electrolyzer. However, KOH has to be handled with care because it is caustic, and the crystals can be dangerous if not handled properly. The electrolyte normally has to be inserted into the unit at the proper proportions for optimum operation of the electrolyzer. Extreme care must be taken when using it. It is not the type of product you would generally like to put in the hands of an inexperienced consumer.

Complex installation is another issue with typical HHO systems. Space usually has to be found somewhere in the engine compartment or outside the vehicle. Since all vehicles are different, finding a suitable spot under the hood to install the device in many vehicles is next to impossible. Also, the systems are typically connected into the electrical systems of the vehicles which can cause blown fuses and a host of other problems if not installed properly. Hydrogen is only needed when the vehicle is actually running, not when the ignition is turned on. During the installation, care must be observed to make sure the electrical power is provided to the device only when the engine is running. Otherwise there can be hydrogen accumulation in the air intake. This further complicates the installation of these systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a portable and compact, on-demand hydrogen supplemental system for producing hydrogen gas and injecting the hydrogen gas into the air intake of internal combustion engines, particularly for vehicles. Hydrogen and oxygen is produced by a fuel cell at low temperatures and pressure from water in a supply tank. The hydrogen gas and oxygen gas is passed back thru the supply tank for distribution and water preservation. The gases are kept separate by a divider in the tank and the water level in the tank. In the case of gasoline engines, the hydrogen gas is directed to the air intake of the engine while the oxygen gas is optionally vented to the atmosphere. The device can be powered by the vehicles alternator, a stand alone battery, waste heat or solar energy. The system utilizes a vacuum switch or other engine sensor that regulates power to the system and therefore hydrogen production for the engine only occurs when the engine is running. Therefore as the hydrogen is produced it is immediately consumed by the engine. No hydrogen is stored on, in or around the vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and a better understanding of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of example

embodiments and the claims when read in connection with the accompanying drawings, all forming a part of the disclosure of this invention. While the foregoing and following written and illustrated disclosure focuses on disclosing example embodiments of the invention, it should be clearly understood that the same is by way of illustration and example only and the invention is not limited thereto, wherein in the following brief description of the drawings:

Fig. 1 is a detailed drawing of a portable hydrogen supplemental system showing a water tank and housing design according to the present invention.

Fig. 2 is a schematic showing a portable hydrogen supplemental system installed in a typical vehicle according to the present invention.

Fig. 3 is a diagram illustrating the operation and details of a PEM electrolyzer according to the present invention.

Fig. 4 is a diagram of another embodiment of the water tank 6 according to the present invention.

Figs. 5A-B are diagrams of another embodiment of a mounting bracket 3 according to the present invention.

Fig. 6 is a diagram of an embodiment of the control circuit 50 according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention as will be described in greater detail below provides an apparatus, method and system, particularly, for example, a hydrogen supplemental system used to increase the fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions for internal combustion engines. The present invention provides various embodiments as described below. However it should be noted that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described herein, but could extend to other embodiments as would be known or as would become known to those skilled in the art.

The present invention as shown in Fig. 1 provides a portable hydrogen supplemental system 1 which includes a housing unit 2 that can be secured in the trunk or other flat surface of a vehicle by mounting bracket 3 and fastening units 4. Inside the housing unit 2 are a fuel cell 5 and a water tank 6 positioned above the fuel cell 5 arranged in such a manner as to supply water 7 to the fuel cell by gravity. The water tank 6 is supported in the housing unit 2 above the fuel cell by supporting means 8. The housing unit 2 is designed to be readily removable from the mounting bracket 3.

The water tank 6 includes a water supply fitting 9 positioned on the underside thereof connected to a tube or other supply meanslO that is in turn connected to water inlet fitting 11 on the fuel cell 5. Water is supplied to the fuel cell 5 by the supply means 10. The fuel cell 5 also includes hydrogen gas outlet fittings 12 and oxygen gas outlet fitting 13 which are connected by tubes or additional supply means 14 and 15 to gas inlet fittings 16 on the underside of the water tank 6. The water tank 6 includes at least one divider 17 that divides the tank 6 into at least two sections, a hydrogen section 18 and an oxygen section 19. The divider 17 is formed along the inner wall of the tank 6 and extends to approximately ¼" from the bottom surface 20 of the tank 6. The tank 6 includes a fill spout 21 which permits the tank to be filled with water. As water is placed into the tank 6, the tank fills evenly on both sides of the divider 17.

The fuel cell 5, which is commonly known to produce electricity, is operated in reverse to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases. Water fills the fuel cell from the water tank and when a voltage is placed across the cell, hydrogen and oxygen gases are produced.

According to the invention the fuel cell 5 can, for example, be a proton exchange membrane or polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyzer. A PEM electrolyzer includes a semipermeable membrane generally made from ionomers and designed to conduct protons while being impermeable to gases such as oxygen or hydrogen. This is their essential function when incorporated into a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell or of a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer: separation of reactants and transport of protons.

As known an electrolyzer is a device that generates hydrogen and oxygen from water through the application of electricity and includes a series of plates through which water flows while low voltage direct current is applied.

Electrolyzers split the water into hydrogen and oxygen gases by the passage of electricity, normally by breaking down compounds into elements or simpler products.

A PEM electrolyzer is shown in Fig. 3. The PEM electrolyzer includes a plurality of layers including external electrodes 41 disposed opposite to each other one of which is the anode 41a and the other of which is the cathode 41b, electrocatalysts 42a and 42b disposed respectively on the anode 41a and the cathode 41 , and a membrane 43 disposed between the electrocatalysts 42a and 42b. The PEM electrolyzer further includes an external circuit 44 which applies electrical power to the anode 41a and the cathode 41b in a manner such that electricity power in the form of electrons flow from the anode 41a, along the external circuit 44, to the cathode 41b and protons are caused to flow through the membrane 43 from the anode 41a to the cathode 41b.

The efficiency of a PEM electrolyzer is a function primarily of its membrane and electro-catalyst performance. The membrane 43 includes a solid fluoropolymer which has been chemically altered in part to contain sulphonic acid groups, SO3H, which easily release their hydrogen as positively-charged atoms or protons H+: S03H -> S03 " + H+

These ionic or charged forms allow water to penetrate into the membrane structure but not the product gases, namely molecular hydrogen H2 and oxygen O2. The resulting hydrated proton, hbO"1", is free to move whereas the sulphonate ion SO3" remains fixed to the polymer side-chain. Thus, when an electric field is applied across the membrane 43 the hydrated protons are attracted to the negatively charged electrode, known as the cathode 41b. Since a moving charge is identical with electric current, the membrane 43 acts as a conductor of electricity. It is said to be a proton ic conductor.

A typical membrane material that is used is called "nafion". Nafion is a perfluorinated polymer that contains small proportions of sulfonic or carboxylic ionic functional groups.

Accordingly, as shown in Fig. 3, water, H20, enters the cell and is split at the surface of the membrane 43 to form protons, electrons and gaseous oxygen. The gaseous oxygen leaves the cell while the protons move through the membrane 43 under the influence of the applied electric field and electrons move through the external circuit 44. The protons and electrons combine at the opposite surface, namely the negatively charged electrode, known as the cathode 41b, to form pure gaseous hydrogen.

During operation of the fuel cell 5, a small amount of water, hydrogen gas bubbles 22 and oxygen gas bubbles 23 emerge from the hydrogen outlet 12 and oxygen outlet 13, respectively, of the fuel cell 5, and flow into the hydrogen side 18 and oxygen side 19 of the tank 6. The bubbles rise thru the water to upper air cavities 24 formed by the water level in the tank and the tank divider 17. The hydrogen and oxygen gas are kept separate from each other in the upper cavities 24 by the divider 17 and water level in the tank. As the hydrogen gas and oxygen gas fill their respective upper cavities 24, the gas flows out of the upper cavities thru fittings 25 in the case of hydrogen, and fitting 26, in the case of oxygen on the upper side of the tank. The hydrogen gas flows thru tube 27 connected to hydrogen fitting 28 of the housing unit 2. The oxygen flows thru tube 29 connected to fitting 30 of the housing unit 2.

As shown in Fig. 2, a vehicle 31 powered by a gasoline or diesel engine 32 is equipped with the portable hydrogen supplemental system 1. Power is supplied to the portable hydrogen supplemental system 1 by a vehicle battery 33 connected to electrical wires 34. The electrical circuit to the Hydrogen

supplemental system includes a vacuum switch 35, or other engine sensor and an operator controlled switch 36 which completes the electrical circuit to the portable hydrogen generator system 1 when the engine is running. Once power is supplied to the portable hydrogen supplemental system 1, hydrogen gas flows thru hydrogen outlet tube 37 connected to hydrogen fitting 28 of the housing unit 2 to an air intake 38 of the vehicle's engine 32. Oxygen gas flows thru oxygen outlet tube 39 and, in the case of gasoline engines with oxygen sensors, is vented to the atmosphere. The two gasses can optionally be combined for diesel engine vehicles or other internal combustion engines without oxygen sensors.

An alternative embodiment of the water tank 6 is illustrated in Fig. 4. As per the water tank 6 as shown in Fig. 4 dividers 17a and 17b are provided at opposite ends of the tank so as to divide the tank 6 into a hydrogen section 18 and an oxygen section 19. Each divider 17a,b is formed along the inner wall of the tank 6 and extends to approximately ¼" from the bottom surface 20 of the tank 6. As water is placed into the tank 6, the tank fills evenly on both sides of each of the dividers 17a and 17b.

As described above according to the invention as the hydrogen gas and oxygen gas fill their respective upper cavities 24, the gas flows out of the upper cavities thru fitting 25 in the case of hydrogen, and fitting 26, in the case of oxygen on the upper side of the tank. Alternatively the fittings 25 and 26 can be replaced by gas collectors 45 and 46. Each gas collector 45, 46 is constructed to contain baffles 47a and 47b that serve to prevent water from splashing into or entering the tubes 27 and 29. Each baffle 47a,b is configured to extend perpendicularly from an inner surface of the gas collectors 45 and 46.

Particularly, baffle 47a is configured to extend from a portion of the inner surface of a gas collector 45, 46 opposite to another portion of the inner surface of the gas collector 45, 46 from which baffle 47b extends.

An alternative embodiment of the mounting bracket 3 is illustrated in Figs. 5A-B. The mounting bracket 3 has formed therein oblong holes 48 positioned near the corners of the mounting bracket 3 for receiving screws/studs disposed on the undersigned of the housing unit 2. The oblong holes 48 upon receiving the screws/studs disposed on the undersigned of the housing unit 2 allows for the housing unit 2 to be removably attached to the mounting bracket 3. The housing unit 2 being removable from the mounting bracket 3 permits the user to remove the apparatus for servicing including adding water, performing repairs, exchanging parts, and the like.

The electrical circuit can, for example, be provided by a control circuit 50 as illustrated in Fig. 6 for controlling the Hydrogen supplemental system. The control circuit 50 includes a vacuum switch 35, or other engine sensor, that provides a positive output when the engine is operating, an operator controlled switch 36 which provides the positive output from the vacuum switch 35 when the operator controlled switch 36 is moved to the on position, a global positioning system (GPS) 51 which provides a positive output when the speed of the automobile exceeds a predetermined level, AND gate 52, or other such circuitry, that provides a positive output when both the operator controlled switch 36 and the GPS 51 outputs are positive, and a switch 53 which switches electrical power to the fuel cell 5 when the AND gate 52 supplies a positive output, thereby causing the fuel cell 5 to operate when the engine is operating and the speed of the automobile exceeds a predetermined level.

The Hydrogen supplemental system operates optimally in a gasoline powered engine when the load on the engine does not exceed a predetermined level and the amount of hydrogen produced by the Hydrogen supplemental system and supplied to the gasoline powered engine falls within a preset range.

In a gasoline powered engine the electrical power used by the Hydrogen supplemental system is supplied by the engine alternator. As described above the electrical power is only supplied when the engine is operating and the speed of the automobile exceeds a predetermined level. Thus, the load placed on the engine by the Hydrogen supplemental system is related to the amount of electrical power drawn from the alternator as measured in amps. Optimally the Hydrogen supplemental system works best on a gasoline powered engine when the load on the engine does not exceed a current of 4 amps being drawn from the alternator, or if measured another way of 56 watts. It should be noted that the amount of amps or watts is dependent upon the size of the engine and alternator (four, six or eight cylinders, etc.). It should also be noted that diesel engines have a different optimal load setting. Further, in a gasoline powered engine the optimal amount of hydrogen produced by the Hydrogen supplemental system and supplied to the gasoline powered engine falls within a preset range of 0.10 - 0.25 liters per minute.

Based on the above a gasoline powered automobile achieves the highest level of fuel efficiency measured in miles/gallon of gas when the load on the engine does not exceed 4 amps, or if measured another way of 56 watts, and the amount of hydrogen produced and supplied to the gasoline powered engine falls within a preset range of 0.10 - 0.25 liters per minute.

While the invention has been described in terms of its preferred embodiments, it should be understood that numerous modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It is intended that all such modifications fall within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A portable hydrogen supplemental system for supplying hydrogen gas to an internal combustion engine comprising:
a housing unit;
a fuel cell mounted inside the housing unit that converts water into hydrogen and oxygen gas;
a water tank mounted inside the housing unit and positioned to supply water to the fuel cell;
a power supply for supplying electrical power to the fuel cell;
an engine sensor for detecting operation of the internal combustion engine and;
an operator control switch,
wherein the water tank includes at least one tank divider which separates the water tank into at least two sections that are both filled with water when water is placed into the water tank;
wherein the water tank includes at least first and second gas collection cavities at a top portion thereof for collecting hydrogen and oxygen gas respectively, the gas collection cavities being formed by a top surface of the water tank, the tank divider and the water level in the water tank;
wherein each gas collection cavity includes a fitting at the top thereof for distributing one of the hydrogen and oxygen gas out of the water tank;
wherein the power supply supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation and the operator control switch is activated; wherein the fuel cell, when supplied with electrical power, produces hydrogen and oxygen gases from the water being supplied to the fuel cell, said hydrogen and oxygen gases being directed through the water tank into the respective gas collection cavities at the top thereof for proper distribution of the gases such that the hydrogen gas is supplied to the internal combustion engine for combustion therein;
wherein said fuel cell is a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer; and
wherein said PEM electrolyzer includes:
a plurality of layers which include external electrodes disposed opposite to each other, one of which being an anode and the other of being a cathode, electrocatalysts disposed respectively on the anode and the cathode, and a membrane disposed between the electrocatalysts, and
an external circuit which applies the electrical power to the anode and the cathode in a manner such that electricity power in the form of electrons flow from the anode, along the external circuit, to the cathode and protons are caused to flow through the membrane from the anode to the cathode.
2. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 1 , further comprising:
a mounting bracket which mounts the portable hydrogen supplemental system to a surface of the vehicle which includes the internal combustion engine.
3. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 1 , wherein the water tank is positioned above the fuel cell.
4. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 1 , further comprising:
a control electrical circuit, having a switch, which supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation.
5. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 1 , wherein said fuel cell comprises:
a plurality of layers, and
wherein the electrical power is applied to opposing layers of said fuel cell in a manner to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases.
6. A method of supplying hydrogen gas to an internal combustion engine comprising:
converting, by a fuel cell mounted inside a housing unit, water into hydrogen and oxygen gas;
supplying, by a water tank mounted inside the housing unit, water to the fuel cell;
detecting, by an engine sensor, operation of the internal combustion engine; supplying, by a power supply, electrical power to the fuel cell upon detecting that the internal combustion engine is in operation and an operator control switch is activated;
producing, by the fuel cell, when supplied with the electrical power, hydrogen and oxygen gases from the water being supplied to the fuel cell, said hydrogen and oxygen gases being directed through the water tank into respective gas collection cavities at the top of the water tank for proper distribution of the gases; and
supplying the hydrogen gas to the internal combustion engine for combustion therein,
wherein the water tank includes at least one tank divider which separates the water tank into at least two sections that are both filled with water when water is placed into the water tank,
wherein each gas collection cavity includes a fitting at the top thereof for distributing one of the hydrogen and oxygen gas out of the water tank,
wherein said fuel cell is a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer; and
wherein said PEM electrolyzer includes:
a plurality of layers which include external electrodes disposed opposite to each other, one of which being an anode and the other of being a cathode, electrocatalysts disposed respectively on the anode and the cathode, and a membrane disposed between the electrocatalysts, and
an external circuit which applies the electrical power to the anode and the cathode in a manner such that electricity power in the form of electrons flow from the anode, along the external circuit, to the cathode and protons are caused to flow through the membrane from the anode to the cathode.
7. A method according to claim 6, wherein a mounting bracket mounts the portable hydrogen supplemental system to a surface of the vehicle which includes the internal combustion engine.
8. A method according to claim 6, wherein the water tank is positioned above the fuel cell.
9. A method according to claim 6, wherein a control electrical circuit, having a switch, supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation.
10. A method according to claim 6, wherein said fuel cell comprises: a plurality of layers, and
wherein the electrical power is applied to opposing layers of said fuel cell in a manner to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases.
11. A portable hydrogen supplemental system for supplying hydrogen gas to an internal combustion engine comprising:
a housing unit;
a fuel cell mounted inside the housing unit that converts water into hydrogen and oxygen gas; a water tank mounted inside the housing unit and positioned to supply water to the fuel cell;
a power supply for supplying electrical power to the fuel cell;
an engine sensor for detecting operation of the internal combustion engine and ;
an operator control switch ,
wherein the water tank includes at least one tank divider which separates the water tank into at least two sections that are both filled with water when water is placed into the water tank;
wherein the water tank includes at least first and second gas collection cavities at a top portion thereof for collecting hydrogen and oxygen gas respectively, the gas collection cavities being formed by a top surface of the water tank, the tank divider and the water level in the water tank;
wherein each gas collection cavity includes a fitting at the top thereof for distributing one of the hydrogen and oxygen gas out of the water tank;
wherein the power supply supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation and the operator control switch is activated;
wherein the fuel cell, when supplied with electrical power, produces hydrogen and oxygen gases from the water being supplied to the fuel cell, said hydrogen and oxygen gases being directed through the water tank into the gas collection cavities at the top thereof for proper distribution of the gases such that the hydrogen gas is supplied to the internal combustion engine for combustion therein; wherein the water tank includes first and second dividers provided at opposite ends of the tank to divide the tank into a hydrogen section and an oxygen section; and
wherein each divider is formed along an inner wall of the water tank and extends to a predetermined position from the bottom surface of the water tank such that when water is placed into the water tank, the water tank fills evenly on both sides of each of the dividers.
12. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 11 , further comprising:
a mounting bracket which mounts the portable hydrogen supplemental system to a surface of the vehicle which includes the internal combustion engine.
13. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 11 , wherein the water tank is positioned above the fuel cell.
14. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 11 , further comprising:
a control electrical circuit, having a switch, which supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation.
15. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 11 , wherein said fuel cell comprises:
a plurality of layers, and wherein the electrical power is applied to opposing layers of said fuel cell in a manner to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases.
16. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 11 , wherein said the water tank comprises:
a water supply fitting positioned on the underside of the water tank connected to a tube that is connected to water inlet fitting on the fuel cell,
wherein water is supplied to the fuel cell by the tube, and
wherein the fuel cell further includes a hydrogen gas outlet fitting and an oxygen gas outlet fitting which are connected by other tubes to gas inlet fittings on the underside of the water tank.
17. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 16, wherein during operation of the fuel cell, a small amount of water, hydrogen gas bubbles and oxygen gas bubbles emerge from a hydrogen outlet and an oxygen outlet, respectively, of the fuel cell, and flow into a hydrogen side and an oxygen side of the water tank,
wherein bubbles rise through the water to the upper air cavities formed by the water level in the tank and the tank dividers such that hydrogen and oxygen gases are kept separate from each other in the upper cavities by the dividers, and
wherein as hydrogen gas and oxygen gas fill their respective upper cavities, gases flow out of the upper cavities through a hydrogen fitting and an oxygen fitting.
18. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 17, wherein the hydrogen and oxygen fittings can each be replaced by a gas coWector which is constructed to contain baffles that serve to prevent water from splashing into or entering the tubes.
19. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 18, wherein each baffle is configured to extend perpendicularly from an inner surface of the gas collector, and
wherein a first baffle is configured to extend from a portion of the inner surface of the gas collector opposite to another portion of the inner surface of the gas collector from which a second baffle extends.
20. A method of supplying hydrogen gas to an internal combustion engine comprising:
converting, by a fuel cell mounted inside a housing unit, water into hydrogen and oxygen gas;
supplying, by a water tank mounted inside the housing unit, water to the fuel cell;
detecting, by an engine sensor, operation of the internal combustion engine;
supplying, by a power supply, electrical power to the fuel cell upon detecting that the internal combustion engine is in operation and an operator control switch is activated;
producing, by the fuel cell, when supplied with the electrical power, hydrogen and oxygen gases from the water being supplied to the fuel cell, said hydrogen and oxygen gases being directed through the water tank into respective gas collection cavities at the top of the water tank for proper distribution of the gases; and
supplying the hydrogen gas to the internal combustion engine for combustion therein,
wherein the water tank includes at least one tank divider which separates the water tank into at least two sections that are both filled with water when water is placed into the water tank,
wherein each gas collection cavity includes a fitting at the top thereof for distributing one of the hydrogen and oxygen gas out of the water tank,
wherein the water tank includes first and second dividers provided at opposite ends of the tank to divide the tank into a hydrogen section and an oxygen section, and
wherein each divider is formed along an inner wall of the water tank and extends to a predetermined position from the bottom surface of the water tank such that when water is placed into the water tank, the water tank fills evenly on both sides of each of the dividers.
21. A method according to claim 20, wherein a mounting bracket mounts the portable hydrogen supplemental system to a surface of the vehicle which includes the internal combustion engine.
22. A method according to claim 20, wherein the water tank is positioned above the fuel cell.
23. A method according to claim 20, wherein a control electrical circuit, having a switch, supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation.
24. A method according to claim 20, wherein said fuel cell comprises: a plurality of layers, and
wherein the electrical power is applied to opposing layers of said fuel cell in a manner to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases.
25. A method according to claim 20, wherein said the water tank comprises:
a water supply fitting positioned on the underside of the water tank connected to a tube that is connected to water inlet fitting on the fuel cell,
wherein water is supplied to the fuel cell by the tube, and
wherein the fuel cell further includes a hydrogen gas outlet fitting and an oxygen gas outlet fitting which are connected by other tubes to gas inlet fittings on the underside of the water tank.
26. A method according to claim 25, wherein during operation of the fuel cell, a small amount of water, hydrogen gas bubbles and oxygen gas bubbles emerge from a hydrogen outlet and an oxygen outlet, respectively, of the fuel cell, and flow into a hydrogen side and an oxygen side of the water tank, wherein bubbles rise through the water to the upper air cavities formed by the water level in the tank and the tank dividers such that hydrogen and oxygen gases are kept separate from each other in the upper cavities by the dividers, and
wherein as hydrogen gas and oxygen gas fill their respective upper cavities, gases flow out of the upper cavities through a hydrogen fitting and an oxygen fitting.
27. A method according to claim 26, wherein the hydrogen and oxygen fittings can each be replaced by a gas collector which is constructed to contain baffles that serve to prevent water from splashing into or entering the tubes.
28. A method according to claim 27, wherein each baffle is configured to extend perpendicularly from an inner surface of the gas collector, and
wherein a first baffle is configured to extend from a portion of the inner surface of the gas collector opposite to another portion of the inner surface of the gas collector from which a second baffle extends.
29. A portable hydrogen supplemental system for supplying hydrogen gas to an internal combustion engine comprising:
a housing unit;
a fuel cell mounted inside the housing unit that converts water into hydrogen and oxygen gas;
a water tank mounted inside the housing unit and positioned to supply water to the fuel cell;
a power supply for supplying electrical power to the fuel cell; an engine sensor for detecting operation of the internal combustion engine and ;
an operator control switch,
wherein the water tank includes at least one tank divider which separates the water tank into at least two sections that are both filled with water when water is placed into the water tank;
wherein the water tank includes at least first and second gas collection cavities at a top portion thereof for collecting hydrogen and oxygen gas respectively, the gas collection cavities being formed by a top surface of the water tank, the tank divider and the water level in the water tank;
wherein each gas collection cavity includes a fitting at the top thereof for distributing one of the hydrogen and oxygen gas out of the water tank;
wherein the power supply supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation and the operator control switch is activated ;
wherein the fuel cell, when supplied with electrical power, produces hydrogen and oxygen gases from the water being supplied to the fuel cell, said hydrogen and oxygen gases being directed through the water tank into the gas collection cavities at the top thereof for proper distribution of the gases such that the hydrogen gas is supplied to the internal combustion engine for combustion therein; and
wherein the portable hydrogen supplemental system is mounted to a vehicle powered by the internal combustion engine by a mounting bracket which is attached to a surface of the vehicle.
30. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 29, wherein the mounting bracket has formed therein oblong holes positioned near the corners of the mounting bracket for receiving screws/studs disposed on the undersigned of the housing unit, and
wherein the oblong holes upon receiving the screws/studs disposed on the undersigned of the housing unit allows for the housing unit to be removably attached to the mounting bracket, thereby permitting the portable hydrogen supplemental system to be removed for servicing.
31. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 29, wherein the water tank is positioned above the fuel cell.
32. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 29, further comprising:
a control electrical circuit, having a switch, which supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation.
33. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 29, wherein said fuel cell comprises:
a plurality of layers, and
wherein the electrical power is applied to opposing layers of said fuel cell in a manner to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases.
34. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 29, wherein said the water tank comprises:
a water supply fitting positioned on the underside of the water tank connected to a tube that is connected to water inlet fitting on the fuel cell,
wherein water is supplied to the fuel cell by the tube, and
wherein the fuel cell further includes a hydrogen gas outlet fitting and an oxygen gas outlet fitting which are connected by other tubes to gas inlet fittings on the underside of the water tank.
35. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 34, wherein during operation of the fuel cell, a small amount of water, hydrogen gas bubbles and oxygen gas bubbles emerge from a hydrogen outlet and an oxygen outlet, respectively, of the fuel cell, and flow into a hydrogen side and an oxygen side of the water tank,
wherein bubbles rise through the water to the upper air cavities formed by the water level in the tank and the tank dividers such that hydrogen and oxygen gases are kept separate from each other in the upper cavities by the dividers, and
wherein as hydrogen gas and oxygen gas fill their respective upper cavities, gases flow out of the upper cavities through a hydrogen fitting and an oxygen fitting.
36. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 35, wherein the hydrogen and oxygen fittings can each be replaced by a gas collector which is constructed to contain baffles that serve to prevent water from splashing into or entering the tubes.
37. A portable hydrogen supplemental system according to claim 36, wherein each baffle is configured to extend perpendicularly from an inner surface of the gas collector, and
wherein a first baffle is configured to extend from a portion of the inner surface of the gas collector opposite to another portion of the inner surface of the gas collector from which a second baffle extends.
38. A method of supplying hydrogen gas to an internal combustion engine comprising:
converting, by a fuel cell mounted inside a housing unit, water into hydrogen and oxygen gas;
supplying, by a water tank mounted inside the housing unit, water to the fuel cell;
detecting, by an engine sensor, operation of the internal combustion engine;
supplying, by a power supply, electrical power to the fuel cell upon detecting that the internal combustion engine is in operation and an operator control switch is activated;
producing, by the fuel cell, when supplied with the electrical power, hydrogen and oxygen gases from the water being supplied to the fuel cell, said hydrogen and oxygen gases being directed through the water tank into respective gas collection cavities at the top of the water tank for proper distribution of the gases; and
supplying the hydrogen gas to the internal combustion engine for combustion therein,
wherein the water tank includes at least one tank divider which separates the water tank into at least two sections that are both filled with water when water is placed into the water tank,
wherein each gas collection cavity includes a fitting at the top thereof for distributing one of the hydrogen and oxygen gas out of the water tank,
wherein the portable hydrogen supplemental system is mounted to a vehicle powered by the internal combustion engine by a mounting bracket which is attached to a surface of the vehicle.
39. A method according to claim 38, wherein the mounting bracket has formed therein oblong holes positioned near the corners of the mounting bracket for receiving screws/studs disposed on the undersigned of the housing unit, and wherein the oblong holes upon receiving the screws/studs disposed on the undersigned of the housing unit allows for the housing unit to be removably attached to the mounting bracket, thereby permitting the portable hydrogen supplemental system to be removed for servicing.
40. A method according to claim 38, wherein the water tank is positioned above the fuel cell.
41. A method according to claim 38, wherein a control electrical circuit, having a switch, supplies electrical power to the fuel cell when the engine sensor detects that the internal combustion engine is in operation.
42. A method according to claim 38, wherein said fuel cell comprises: a plurality of layers, and
wherein the electrical power is applied to opposing layers of said fuel cell in a manner to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases.
43. A method according to claim 38, wherein said the water tank comprises:
a water supply fitting positioned on the underside of the water tank connected to a tube that is connected to water inlet fitting on the fuel cell,
wherein water is supplied to the fuel cell by the tube, and
wherein the fuel cell further includes a hydrogen gas outlet fitting and an oxygen gas outlet fitting which are connected by other tubes to gas inlet fittings on the underside of the water tank.
44. A method according to claim 43, wherein during operation of the fuel cell, a small amount of water, hydrogen gas bubbles and oxygen gas bubbles emerge from a hydrogen outlet and an oxygen outlet, respectively, of the fuel cell, and flow into a hydrogen side and an oxygen side of the water tank, wherein bubbles rise through the water to the upper air cavities formed by the water level in the tank and the tank dividers such that hydrogen and oxygen gases are kept separate from each other in the upper cavities by the dividers, and
wherein as hydrogen gas and oxygen gas fill their respective upper cavities, gases flow out of the upper cavities through a hydrogen fitting and an oxygen fitting.
45. A method according to claim 44, wherein the hydrogen and oxygen fittings can each be replaced by a gas collector which is constructed to contain baffles that serve to prevent water from splashing into or entering the tubes.
46. A method according to claim 45, wherein each baffle is configured to extend perpendicularly from an inner surface of the gas collector, and
wherein a first baffle is configured to extend from a portion of the inner surface of the gas collector opposite to another portion of the inner surface of the gas collector from which a second baffle extends.
PCT/US2011/054289 2010-03-15 2011-09-30 Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines WO2013032496A1 (en)

Priority Applications (6)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US13/225,329 US8449733B2 (en) 2010-05-28 2011-09-02 Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines
US13/224,338 US8449754B2 (en) 2010-03-15 2011-09-02 Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines
US13/224,338 2011-09-02
US13/225,340 US8449734B2 (en) 2010-03-15 2011-09-02 Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines
US13/225,329 2011-09-02
US13/225,340 2011-09-02

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

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EP11770607.7A EP2751417A1 (en) 2011-09-02 2011-09-30 Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines
CN201180073180.0A CN103764990A (en) 2011-09-02 2011-09-30 Hydrogen supplemental system for on-demand hydrogen generation for internal combustion engines
JP2014528368A JP5960827B2 (en) 2011-09-02 2011-09-30 Hydrogen replenishment system for generating hydrogen on demand for internal combustion engines

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JP5977352B2 (en) 2016-08-24
CN103764989A (en) 2014-04-30
EP2751417A1 (en) 2014-07-09
JP2017002403A (en) 2017-01-05
CN103764990A (en) 2014-04-30
WO2013032497A1 (en) 2013-03-07
EP2751418A1 (en) 2014-07-09
JP5960827B2 (en) 2016-08-02
JP2014535000A (en) 2014-12-25

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