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Fuel economy improvement by on board electrolytic hydrogen production

Fuel economy improvement by on board electrolytic hydrogen production

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 25 (2000) 895±897

Fuel economy improvement by onboard electrolytic hydrogen production

Z.DuÈlger * K.R.Ozcelik

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kocaeli University, 41100, Kocaeli, Turkey


Fuel economy is a major area of interest for the public and policy makers. There are several reasons for this interest:

  • Fuel economy is directly related to CO2 emissions which constitute a greenhouse gas that traps the Earth’s heat and contributes to the potential for global warming;
  • Most of the fuel consumed is derived from crude oil and world crude oil reserves are depleting fast;
  • Fuel economy is related to vehicle travel cost and world vehicle travel has doubled since 1970.

Therefore, it is of great importance to increase the fuel economy to the extent of the current level of technology limits. Many scientist and researchers tried to develop new technologies to achieve low fuel consuming cars and vehicles. Some came up with the utilisation of alternative fuels,some improved the engine designs and some invented new ways to power the vehicles. This study presents a hydrogas system, basically a hydrogen generator by the electrolysis of water. The system can be used for both spark ignited and compression ignition internal combustion engines. Within the compact structure of the system, tap water is electrolysed by so called “closed cell electrode technology”.

Results and conclusions:

The system was installed in four cars in order to demonstrate its effect on fuel consumption. These cars are a 1993 model Volvo 940, a 1996 model Mercedes 280, a 1992 model Fiat Kartal and a 1992 model Fiat Dogan. The driving tests under city traffic conditions showed that the fuel consumption for the Volvo 940 dropped to 6 l/100 km from 10.5 l/100 km, a reduction of 43% in fuel consumption. The figures for the Mer cedes 280 were a drop from 11 l/100 km to 7 l/100 km, a reduction of 36%. The Fiat Kartal engine consumed 9.5 l/100 km without the system. With the system installed, the fuel consumption was 7 l/100 km which corresponds to a 26% reduction. The Fiat DogÏan engine yielded 9 l/100 km without the system and 6 l/ 100 km with the system, a reduction of 33%.

These results demonstrate the fuel savings potential of the hydrogas system. However, if a device is to reduce fuel consumption, it also has to comply with exhaust emissions regulations. Emission tests show that exhaust emissions such as CO, CO2 and hydrocarbons are not affected negatively by the system. Moreover, these emissions reduce up to a margin of 40±50% depending on the type of the engine. Also, no performance penalty is observed. Acceleration, torque and maximum power remains unchanged. Therefore, without altering any performance criteria, the system yields 35±40% fuel savings and reduces exhaust emissions.

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