Archive for July, 2008

Assembling the Thistledown on YouTube

My first YouTube video: assembly of the homemade nanolight trike.

Unfortunately, the last 3 minutes got chopped somehow….


HHO, HHO, all the way to the bank!

Just as a dying person will often grasp at any possibility offered by snake oil quacks, folks bemoaning higher fuel prices are providing a bonanza for purveyors of the perpetual motion machine. In this case, magic electrolysis devices that supposedly improve your fuel mileage by 40%.

These devices are basically a water filled jar with two electrodes inside attached to your car’s battery, and an outlet to take the produced mixture of hydrogen and oxygen to engine to be injected with your fuel. They call the gas “HHO” and for only $100, they’ll send you instructions on how to make your own magic engine enhancer.

Simple physics tells you that of course the battery is providing the energy to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, and the battery is getting it’s energy from the car motor – so there are energy losses in the mechanical drive, alternator, cabling, electrolysis process and recombination that mean that you never get as much energy back from burning the gas as you put in – in fact, far less.

But since this is so easy to prove, the snake oil salesmen instead claim that the presence of hydrogen and oxygen in the burn mixture acts as a super catalyst to make the petroleum fuel burn super-efficiently.

Some people claim that they are getting the claimed improvements, (it would appear, possibly because the “HHO” folks get them to lean out their engines to the point of risking engine damage).

There’s a million dollars on offer from this New Zealander if the HHO folks can prove their claims. Keep an eye on the site to see if anyone is willing to put their money up to do so!  The site also has links to a whole slew of actual tests that showed that the “HHO” kits just don’t work.

And Popular Mechanics magazine is apparently going to do a full practical test and report the results!