Saying that, I should mention that it cost just under thirty dollars to refill the tank to get about five pounds of dry ice. Contrasting that with the cost of dry ice at the local grocery store ($1/lb.) doesn’t make financial sense, but this method is much more fun!
How to Convert Water into Fuel by Building a DIY Oxyhydrogen Generator
Here’s how to build a sexy-looking generator that uses electricity to convert water into an extremely powerful fuel! In this project, you’ll learn how to build an OxyHydrogen generator from scratch.
What Is an OxyHydrogen Generator?
An oxyhydrogen generator, like this one, uses electricity from your car battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases (electricity + 2H20 ––> 2H2 + O2). Together, these make a fuel that is much more powerful than gasoline, and the only emission released is water!
Of course, to be a completely clean fuel, the electricity used to generate the gas needs to be from a clean source. Solar, wind, or water power could be a few examples.
The amount of electrical energy required to make the gas is more than the energy you can obtain from it. This is NOT an energy generator so much as it is an energy converter.
Getting Metal for the Generator Plates
For this project, you’re going to need some stainless steel and some ABS pipe fittings. I visited a local fabrication company, and not only did they have plenty of scrap metal to choose
from, they were even willing to help me cut it to custom sizes. A job that would have taken me hours with a pair of tin snips and a hacksaw took only a matter of minutes with their equipment.
I used 20-gauge stainless steel, and with the help of their hydraulic punch, cut precise holes in the tops and bottoms of the plates. When finished, I had twelve plates measuring 3” x 6”, four plates at 1½” x 6”, and three 1” connector bands that were 6”, 4½” and 3¼”. A belt sander was used for smoothing down the jagged edges around the hole.
Increasing the Plates’ Surface Area
Next, I used 100-grit sandpaper to sand each of the plates diagonally. You can see the “X” pattern I sanded into both sides of the plates. This increases the surface area of the plate and will assist in producing more gas.
Configuring the Plate Assembly
The plates are joined in a configuration so that the two inner plates are connected to one electrical terminal, and the two outer plates connected to the other terminal. Plastic rods, plastic washers, and stainless steel nuts help to form the proper electrical connections.
The generator plates are assembled in the order of plate, plastic washers, plate, stainless steel jam nuts until eight plates have been connected.
When the plates are assembled, a 4” ABS cleanout plug is attached at the top with some stainless steel bolts.
Making the Generator Body
The body is made from two 4” ABS cleanout adapters with a 4” plug inverted and cemented into the bottom. A 4” tube of acrylic or ABS makes the body, and the generator plates and cap screw down into the top.
A water bubbler is made in a similar fashion out of 2” clear acrylic tubing, but needs a way to clip onto the side.
Making Clips for the Bubbler
Clips can be made from scrap acrylic or ABS tubing and glued to the side of the body.
To make these clips, I cut ¾” off the 2” tubing I used to make the bubbler, and then cut the top 1/3” off to form a claw. These were then cemented to acrylic rods, and attached to the side of the generator body.
Adding a Check Valve
Some poly tube and a one-way check valve is added to the top elbow, making sure the valve will let gas out, but nothing back in.
Making the Electrolyte
The electrolyte is distilled water and about two to four teaspoons of KOH (potassium hydroxide). Salt or baking soda could also be used but may dirty and corrode the plates over time.
I stirred the KOH flakes into the water, and then used a coffee filter to strain the solution into the generator casing (after it had been cleaned thoroughly).
Potassium Hydroxide is caustic and can burn the skin. Avoid direct contact!
Water is added to the bubbler, then the cap is put back on and the poly tubes are hooked up.
I tested it out with a 12-volt car battery and some jumper cables. The gas formed is collected in a small water bottle and ignited with a flame.
On 12 volts, this produces about 1.5 LPM. I also hooked it to two car batteries in series, and on this higher 24 voltage, the system produced over 5 LPM and filled up a gallon milk jug in 38 seconds!
Higher voltages allow more current to flow through the system, and it heats up quickly over time. If allowed to continue, there is a risk the plastic casing will melt from prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
How Powerful Is the Gas?
This system was not designed for use in a vehicle, but more as a device to demonstrate the electrolysis of water and what the gas can do.