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CA2229694
ELECTROLYSIS APPARATUS FOR INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE ENHANCED FUEL EFFICIENCY

Efficiency of hydrocarbon fuel in an internal combustion engine is obtained by supplying to the air intake of the engine oxygen, hydrogen, steam and structured water from an electrolytic cell. The chamber of the cell includes various means for eliminating the risk of explosion including a plug releasable by internal pressure, a burstable section on the housing, and a solenoid valve actuated to vent any mixed materials generated while the engine is not operating and a mixed materials production/consumption feed back loop. The chamber is formed of a ABS material which tends not to shatter.

This application is related to Canadian Application no. 2207116 filed 6t" June and is a continuation in part of US application no. 08895817 filed July 16t" 1997.

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to method of enhancing fuel efficiency in an internal combustion engine using a water electrolysis system.

Background of the Invention

An electrolysis chamber for generation of oxygen and hydrogen gas for supply to the cylinder of an internal combustion engine is taught in U.S. Patent 5,231,954 to Stowe. The chamber includes a housing having a pair of electrodes therein at least partially submerged in an electrolyte solution. The electrodes are connected to a source of electrical potential to generate oxygen and hydrogen from the electrolyte solution in the chamber. The chamber is mounted in association with an engine and oxygen and hydrogen generated are fed to the engine via a line connected to the air intake manifold. In order to reduce the risk of explosion, the chamber has a friction fitted top cap which provides for pressure release under conditions where oxygen and hydrogen gas builds up within the chamber. The top cap has an end wall and a cylindrical side wall extending therefrom. The side wall fits over and extends down the sides of the chamber. To be removed, this top cap requires substantial clearance above the chamber. Such clearance is often unavailable in the engine area of most vehicles. In addition, should the top cap described in the patent be released it is generally incapable of reseating itself to seal the chamber. If the top cap blows off, the vehicle operator can continue to operate the vehicle for a period of time without noticing that the chamber is open. This results in the potential for spillage of the electrolyte solution and, most importantly, in the operation of the vehicle without the benefits of the oxygen and hydrogen supplementation of the fuel. Summary of the Invention It is one object of the present invention to provide an improved method for enhancing the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engine using an electrolysis cell. According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a method for improving the efficiency of combustion in an internal combustion engine including at least one combustion chamber, and air intake for supplying air to the chamber and a fuel supply system for supplying a hydrocarbon fuel to the chamber such that the fuel burns in the combustion chamber, the method comprising: providing an electrolysis chamber sealed against the ingress of air and the escape of liquid; providing an aqueous electrolyte solution in the electrolysis chamber; providing in the electrolysis chamber a pair of electrodes disposed therein in contact with the electrolyte solution and connecting the electrodes to a supply of direct current across the electrodes so as to cause an electrolytic action therein; communicating mixed materials from electrolytic action in a sealed duct from the electrolysis chamber to the air intake; arranging the electrolyte solution, the electrolysis chamber and the electrodes such that the electrolytic action generates oxygen, hydrogen, steam and structured water; and using combustion of the oxygen and hydrogen in the combustion chamber with the hydrocarbon fuel in conjunction with the steam and structured water to effect cracking of unspent portions of the hydrocarbon fuel. Preferably the electrolyte is KOH. Preferably there is provided a replenishing supply of the KOH. Preferably the combustion of the oxygen and hydrogen in the combustion chamber with the hydrocarbon fuel in conjunction with the steam and structured water effects cracking of long chain and aromatic hydrocarbons to produce readily combustible shorter chain hydrocarbons. Preferably the combustion of the oxygen and hydrogen in the combustion chamber with the hydrocarbon fuel in conjunction with the steam and structured water effects combustion of pollutants generated by the combustion of the hydrocarbon fuel products. Preferably the electrodes are mounted and shaped in the electrolysis chamber to reduce spatter of the electrolyte solution.

Preferably spatter of the electrolyte solution is reduced by providing a cover plate inside the electrolysis chamber at the top of the electrolyte solution through which the electrolyte solution and mixed emitted materials can pass. Preferably the electrolysis chamber includes a pressure releasable plug formed to be inserted into an opening in a top wall of the electrolysis chamber, the plug being formed with a bottom and side walls, the side walls converging toward the bottom of the plug. Preferably the electrolysis chamber is constructed at least in part of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resin. Preferably the electrolysis chamber includes a pressure release device on the housing burstable upon application of pressure thereon. Preferably the method includes providing a valve in the duct, the valve having a first outlet for diverting the mixed materials to the air intake and a second outlet for diverting mixed materials to a vent line for release to the atmosphere, the valve being actuated to divert mixed materials to the first outlet when the engine of the engine is operating and being actuated to divert mixed materials to the second outlet when the engine is not operating. Preferably the electrolysis chamber includes a plurality of intermediate electrodes disposed in said chamber between the electrodes, the intermediate electrodes being arranged so as to define a plurality of individual electrolysis cells and such that the voltage across each is less than 2 volts.

Preferably the intermediate electrodes are arranged such that the cells have equal potential differences. Preferably said electrolysis chamber forms a cylinder and said first electrode is a cylinder of a diameter equal to that of the electrolysis chamber, said second electrode is a cylinder coaxial to said first electrode and each said intermediate electrode Is a cylinder disposed coaxially with said first and second electrode. Preferably the number of intermediate electrodes is selected to maintain an electrical potential between each said electrode and the next adjacent electrode sufficient to electrolyze any conductive solution in contact therewith. Preferably the number of intermediate electrodes is selected to maintain said electrical potential is in a range between about 1. 2 and 2 volts. Preferably said electrodes are constructed from stainless steel. Preferably the method includes controlling the supply of mixed materials obtained from the electrolysis chamber by detecting a vacuum at the duct whereby operating vacuum present in said duct exceeding the supply of supplementary fuel mixed materials present in said supply line causes a net differential vacuum to be supplied to produce a control signal increasing the supply of mixed materials available from said cell and, conversely, operating vacuum present in said duct exceeded by the supply of supplementary fuel mixed materials present in said supply line causes a net differential pressure to produce a control signal decreasing the supply of mixed materials available from said cell.

Preferably the method includes providing a filling opening and a filling duct communicating with a filling opening, the duct being sealed in the opening and providing a filling container connected to the duct for supplying replacement electrolyte solution, the chamber having a first contact for indicating a minimum level of electrolyte solution and a second contact for indicating a maximum of electrolyte solution and providing a switch arranged to allow flow of electrolyte solution from the container into the chamber in response to vacuum from the engine. Preferably the switch is operated manually by visual observing lights illuminated by engagement with the electrolyte solution with the contact. Preferably the method includes providing an automatic control unit responsive to engagement of the electrolyte solution with the contacts for actuating the switch. Preferably the method includes providing an automatic control unit responsive to current in the electrolysis chamber for indicating when the strength of the electrolyte solution falls too low. Preferably the method includes providing an automatic control unit responsive to the presence of current in the electrolysis chamber when the engine is not operating for indicating to an operator a fault in the chamber. According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided an apparatus for use in improving the efficiency of combustion in an internal combustion engine including at least one combustion chamber, and air intake for supplying air to the chamber and a fuel supply system for supplying a hydrocarbon fuel to the chamber such that the fuel burns in the combustion chamber, the apparatus comprising: an electrolysis chamber sealed against the ingress of air and the escape of liquid for receiving an aqueous electrolyte solution in the electrolysis chamber; a pair of electrodes disposed in the electrolysis chamber arranged to be in contact with the electrolyte solution and means for connecting the electrodes to a supply of direct current across the electrodes so as to cause an electrolytic action therein; a sealed duct for communicating mixed materials from electrolytic action from the electrolysis chamber to the air intake; the chamber comprising a base, an upstanding wall and a top cap fixed to the wall at an upper end thereof, the top cap having an opening therein and a plug with a frusto-conical side wall inserted in the opening as a friction fit. Preferably there is provided a pressure release portion in the top cap which is of reduced thickness. Preferably the pressure release portion comprises a weakened line of reduced thickness surrounding the opening According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided an apparatus for use in improving the efficiency of combustion in an internal combustion engine including at least one combustion chamber) and air intake for supplying air to the chamber and a fuel supply system for supplying a hydrocarbon fuel to the chamber such that the fuel burns in the combustion chamber, the apparatus comprising: an electrolysis chamber sealed against the ingress of air and the escape of liquid for receiving an aqueous electrolyte solution in the electrolysis chamber; a pair of electrodes disposed in the electrolysis chamber arranged to be in contact with the electrolyte solution and means for connecting the electrodes to a supply of direct current across the electrodes so as to cause an electrolytic action therein; a sealed duct for communicating mixed materials from electrolytic action from the electrolysis chamber to the air intake; and a plurality of intermediate electrodes arranged between said pair of electrodes and a top support plate arranged for engaging upper edges of the electrodes and for holding the electrodes at a predetermined spaced position relative to each other and relative to the pair of electrodes. Preferably the electrodes are cylindrical and concentric around a center electrode defining one of said pair. Preferably there is provided means for connecting to the pair of electrodes, said connecting means passing through the chamber at a position thereon above the electrolyte solution. Preferably there is provided a splash plate parallel to the top plate and above the top plate.

Preferably the center electrode passes through the top plate and through the splash plate and wherein there is provided a conductor extending from the center electrode across the top of the splash plate to connection means on the chamber. Preferably there is provided a low level contact for engaging the electrolyte solution mounted in the chamber at a position just below the top plate and a high level contact above the top plate. Water is a polar molecule) that is, one end of the molecule has a slight positive charge while the other has a slight negative charge. In structured water, the water molecules form alternating negative and positive layers around a positively charged ion. This gives the water a pseudo-crystalline or solid structure, even at room temperature. In the present invention, the potassium provides a positive ion and causes the formation of structured water around the negative electrode since the potassium ion is attracted to the electrode and acts to align the polar water molecules around the ion. Preferably the chamber is manufactured from ABS. Brief Descriation of the Drawin4s A further, detailed, description of the invention, briefly described above, will follow by reference to the following drawings of specific embodiments of the invention. These drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope.

In the drawings:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a electrolytic chamber according to the present invention;

Figure 2 is a sectional view along line 2-2 of Figure 1;

Figure 2A is an alternate embodiment of the explosion vent of Figure 2;

Figure 3 is sectional view along line 3-3 of Figure 1; Figure 3A is a sectional view of an alternative shape of the electrolysis chamber; and

Figure 4 is a schematic view of an apparatus including an electrolysis cell according to the present invention;

Figure 5 is a schematic view of the electrolysis cell of figure 2 including an automatic system for testing the electrolyte solution strength and for replenishing solution;

Figure 6 is a schematic view of the electrolysis cell of figure 2 including a manual filling system.



Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments

Referring to Figures 1 and 2, an electrolytic chamber 2 is shown. When in use) the chamber generates oxygen and hydrogen gases together with steam or water vapour and structured water. The various features of the invention for release of internal pressure, for avoiding spillage and leakage of electrolytic solution and for enhancing operation of the chamber, as will be described, need not all be present in the same chamber or electrolysis system, as the presence of one or more of the features may not be required for the application to which the chamber is to be put.

Alternately, the various aspects can all be present in the chamber or the system at all times, but be only used as needed. Chamber 2 includes a housing 4 formed to contain an electrolyte solution 6, The chamber can be cylindrical as shown or any other shape suitable for its intended use. To facilitate construction, housing 4 preferably has a top 4a and a bottom 4b sealably secured as by suitable adhesives to a cylindrical side wall 4c. Housing 4 is formed from any chemically and electrically inert material. Preferably, housing 4 is formed from the material known as' acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resin (ABS) because of its resistance to chemicals such as the electrolyte solution and its ability to withstand large temperature fluctuations without degradation. In addition, ABS plastic is not brittle and during a chamber failure wherein there is a build up of internal pressure, the chamber formed using ABS will tend to crack rather than shatter. Housing 4 has a pressure release section 8 which is burstable upon application of pressure, such as internal pressure) thereon. Section 8 of the housing has a reduced thickness T relative to the thickness of the balance of the housing. This section can be formed during the molding or extrusion process or can be milled out after formation of the housing. Section 8 can be integral with the housing or, alternately) be an inset piece of material, such as is shown by way of example in Figure 2a. In the alternative configuration of Figure 2A, a vent port 8a is covered by a displaceable cover 8b which is urged into sealing contact with the top 4a by means of a biasing element 8c such as a spring. In the preferred embodiment of Figure 2, pressure release section 8 has a lower strength than the material used in the formation of the remainder of the housing. Section 8 is selected to burst when a selected amount of pressure, such as caused by an explosion of the combustible mixed materials within the chamber, is applied thereto. To burst section 8, the amount of pressure is selected to be greater than that pressure which is exerted toward the inside of the chamber when the chamber is under vacuum during use. Port 10 is formed through the housing at an upper portion thereof for introduction of water, electrolytes and/or electrolytic solution. Port 10 has removably inserted therein a plug 12 for sealing the port. Preferably, plug 12 is only fractionally engaged in the port and can be removed by application of a force to pull or push the plug out of the port. Preferably, plug 12 has side walls 12a which converge toward the bottom 12b of the plug (i.e. the end which is inserted into the port) and the port is preferably positioned on the top of the housing, as determined by the intended mounting position of the chamber. Such a plug and port arrangement facilitates the release of internal pressure and greatly reduces the risk of explosion which was encountered in previous systems since) it will be appreciated, that due to the converging side walls any movement of the plug out of the port will immediately break the seal between the plug and the housing. In addition, the shape of the plug permits it to easily resent itself should it be pushed out of sealing position, but remain loosely, in the port. To further facilitate resenting, the plug is preferably formed to be generally conical in shape.

Preferably, side walls 12a of plug 12 are coated with a resilient material, such as rubber, to facilitate sealing against the edges of port 10. Alternately. plug 12 can be formed at least in part of a resilient material. In a preferred embodiment, plug 12 is formed from a rubber stopper. An opening for passage of electrolysis mixed materials is provided by means of delivery port 14 found at the upper portion of the chamber and is present to provide an exit for the mixed materials produced during the electrolysis process. In a preferred embodiment, port 14 is formed through plug 12. As may be understood, the port 14 can alternately be formed through any suitable opening provided in housing 4. A connector 16 is provided at port 14 for connection to a delivery line 18 at the time of installation for use. Preferably, as shown, connector 16 is removable from the port for replacement or repair. Referring also to Figure 3, electrodes 22, 23 and 28 are provided within chamber 2. The electrode material is selected from any suitable electric conductor which will not chemically react with the electrolytic solution either when electrically energized or not. A suitable material for construction of electrodes 22, 23) and 28 is stainless steel. While it will be understood that electrode 28 may be configured as a cathode and electrode 22 as an anode, or polarity of each may be reversed without changing the principles of operation, for the purpose of illustration. the central electrode 28 has been configured as an anode while outer electrode 22 is configured as a cathode. Preferably electrode 22 is positioned to rest against the interior surface of housing 4 consequently making it cylindrical in shape to correspond with the cross- sectional dimension of the chamber. An extension 22a of the cathode extends up the inside of the housing 4 for electrical connection to a power supply terminal 24, which is conveniently provided by a bolt. Bolt 24 passes through an aperture in the housing and is electrically connected to a wire 26 when installed for use. Wire 26 extends to a negative ground pole of a battery or a ground) as will be described in more detail with reference to Figure 4. Centrally located in the electrolyte solution 6 is anode 28. Anode 28 may be constructed from any suitable electrical conductor which does not react with the electrolyte solution and is preferably a cylinder and may conveniently be a rod formed of stainless steel in common with cathode 22 and intermediate electrodes 23. Anode 28 is connected by a conductor bracket 30 to a power supply terminal 32 which is a bolt extending through an aperture in the housing. Bolt 32 is electrically connected at one end to bracket 30 and, when installed, to wire 34 at its opposite end when installed for use. Wire 34 is ultimately in electrical contact with the positive pole of a battery, as will be described in more detail with reference to Figures 4 and 5. Anode 28 is further maintained in position concentrically within cathode 22 by plates 36, 37. Plates 36) 37 are formed of a non-conductive material such as, for example, an ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW polymeric resin). Anode 28 is positioned in centrally located apertures in the plates. A plurality of apertures 41 are formed in plate 36 for passage of the electrolysis generated mixed materials from area 40 to area 42 where the mixed materials will bubble up and flow toward delivery port 14.

A plurality of intermediate electrodes 23 are disposed between the powered cathode 22 and anode 28. The shape of these electrodes conforms to the equipotential lines of the electric field induced in electrolyte solution 6 when power is applied to the cathode 22 and anode 28. As most clearly seen in Figure 3, the intermediate electrodes 23 are formed into cylinders to conform with the circular cross-sectional shape of the electrolysis chamber 4 and are positioned between anode 28 and cathode 22. Each electrode is constructed from suitable chemically inert electrically conductive material, such as stainless steel, which has been rolled and either welded along a seam (not shown) or the edges left open. The number of intermediate electrodes 23 is selected to provide approximately 2 volts across each cell formed by the gap in spacing between each electrode. A 2 volt difference is preferable to reduce the ohmic heating of the electrolyte solution bounded by adjacent electrode by the current passing therethrough as the electromotive force or voltage required for electrolysis of water is approximately 1.5 volts. Thus for a 12 volt system, a group of intermediate electrodes 23 may be provided. For other operating voltages, a differing number of electrodes are provided to achieve like effect. While the electrodes are depicted in Figures 2 and 3 as being equidistantly spaced, it will be understood that the actual physical placement or spacing of the intermediate electrodes 23 will be such as to create approximately a 2 volt differential between adjacent electrodes. With concentric cylindrical electrodes, varying physical spacings are required to maintain a uniform electromotive force differential between adjacent electrodes increasing the complexity of the electrolyte chamber in both construction and operation. For cylindrical electrolysis chambers, each cell, being the electrolyte solution and surrounding operative electrode pair, has a unique electrolyte solution volume and electrode surface area resulting in variations in production. efficiencies and operating parameters. A uniform result for each cell in the electrolysis chamber apparatus may be obtained by employing a chamber in the shape of a box having a rectangular cross-section as shown in Figure 3a. With such a chamber shape, the equipotential surfaces induced in the electrolyte solution when electrical potential is applied to the cathode 22 and anode 28 are flat surfaces enabling the intermediate electrodes 23 to be flat and equidistantly spaced from one another resulting in substantially uniform construction and operating parameters for the electrolysis chamber 4. The spacing of the intermediate electrodes 23 can be achieved in any suitable way, for example, by plates 36, 37 which have formed therein a plurality of grooves into which intermediate electrodes 23 are fitted as shown most clearly in cross section in Figure 2. The grooves maintain the positioning of the electrodes relative to each other and to the anode and cathode. The intermediate electrodes 23 serve a number of useful purposes. First, the electrodes act as baffles to substantially damp any wave action in the liquid within the chamber. This reduces the likelihood that the electrolyte solution 6 will splash around in the chamber. Where the chamber is cylindrical in shape the damping action will be effective regardless of the direction in which the chamber is moved. Additionally, the intermediate electrodes increase the electrode surface area for the generation of electrolysis mixed materials, as well as reduce the electromotive force being applied to the cell to a value most efficacious for water electrolysis. This provides a more efficient chamber with higher generation capabilities and lower operating temperatures than a chamber of similar size having therein only the cathode and the anode electrodes. Also each pair of plates creates its own electrolytic cell. It will be noted that the terminals 24 and 32 are mounted in the wall of the chamber above the top plate 36. This is arranged at a position which is above the intended height of the electrolyte solution in its upper most filled position. Thus in the wall just below the level of the connectors is provided a high level indicator contact 90 which is provided to contact the electrolyte solution in the highest intended position to indicate through the light, as described in more detail hereinafter that the container is filled.

A low level indicator 91 positioned on the waH of the chamber at a height below the upper level indicator and at a position just below the top plate 36. The central electrode 28 in the form of the rod includes a washer 92 positioned directly above the plate 36 and locating the plate relative to the central rod. The plate 36 is thus clamped between the washer 92 which prevents the plate from moving upwardly and the upper edges of the cylindrical intermediate electrodes. The central rod is fastened to the base plate 37. Above the top plate 36 is provided a splash plate 93 supported on the central rod 28 by two spaced washers 94 and 95. The splash plate 93 is a solid plate formed of UHMW polyethylene extending outwardly to a position adjacent but spaced inwardly from the inside surface of the cylindrical container leaving an annular space for the passage of mixed materials but preventing or reducing the possibility of spattering of the electrolyte solution from its position underneath the splash plate to the discharge outlet 14. Thus the top plate, the splash plate and the cylindrical electrodes cooperate in reducing movement of the electrolyte solution during normal operation of the engine. Turning now to Figures 5 and 6 there is shown schematically the upper portion of the electrolysis chamber and particularly the top cap. An additional opening 96 is provided with a plug 97 similar to the plug 12. The plug 97 receives a filler duct 98 connected with a supply container 99 containing the electrolyte solution including distilled water and a makeup quantity of KOH. A solenoid valve 100 is located in the duct 98 for controlling flow of liquid through the duct. The solenoid valve is actuated by output 4 of a micro-controller 101. The high level indicator 90 is connected to input 2 of the micro- controller. Similarly the low level contact 91 provides an input to terminal 3 of the micro-controller when the electrolyte solution drops below the contact 91 and therefore is no longer electrical communication with that contact. An input terminal 1 of the micro-controller receives an input from the contact 24 so that it is responsive to operation of the electrolysis chamber. Thus when the chamber is in operation and therefore vacuum is applied through the duct to the opening 14, in the event that the level of electrolyte solution falls below the level of the low contact 91, the micro-controller 101 actuates the solenoid switch 100 to allow liquid to be drawn from the container 99 into the chamber to replenish the electrolyte solution. The automatic control system of Figure 5 also has two further functions. Firstly the measurement of the current through the electrolysis unit which is provided to input 1 is used to determine when the strength of the electrolyte in the solution falls below a predetermined required level. This will occur when the current falls below a predetermined minimum. In this situation the control unit is arranged to illuminate light 90A to show to the operator that additional electrolyte is required. Electrolyte is then added through the top plug manually from a concentrated solution. Secondly the input 3 of the controller detects the presence of current in a situation where the ignition is turned off and therefore the engine is not operating. In the presence of such current, the controller is arranged to actuate light 91 A so that the operator is apprised of a situation where current is flowing when no current should be flowing thus indicating a fault. In Figure 6 is shown a similar manual arrangement in which a light 91 B at the dashboard of the vehicle, or at any other suitable location where it can be viewed by the operator, is illuminated when the electrolyte solution level falls to a low position. The operator can therefore actuate a press button switch 103 when the operator has noted that the electrolyte solution level is too low and that the engine is applying vacuum to the duct 18. The press button switch operates the valve 100 and this is maintained actuated until the electrolyte solution level reaches the upper contact 90 and illuminates the visible light 90B. Referring to Figure 4, electrolysis chamber 2 generates hydrogen and oxygen gases together with the steam and structured water to supplement the fuel supply of a combustion engine, such as a hydrocarbon fueled internal combustion engine employed to supply motive power to an automobile. It will however be appreciated that the present invention can be used with other machines using an engine.. Common gasoline or diesel engines have an air intake system supplying a mixture of fuel and air to be combusted within the engine. The air intake system is maintained under vacuum during operation of the engine. A battery 60 has a positive pole 60a and a negative ground pole 60b. In accordance with the invention, a chamber 2 is mounted in a suitable location at the engine when possible. Power supply wire 26 from cathode 22 is grounded) for example by contact with the frame. Power supply wire 34 runs from contact with anode 28 to a control power relay switch .62. From relay switch 62, power wire 34 runs through an over-current protection device 66, such as a circuit breaker, fusible link or fuse to positive pole 60a of battery 60. Relay switch 62 controls the supply of electrical energy to the electrolysis chamber 2. Over-current protector 66 prevents over-current damage to the components caused by a malfunction, such as a short circuit. To control and prevent unwanted generation of the mixed materials, the control relay switch 62 is configured in such a manner as to ensure that no electrical power will be supplied to electrolysis chamber 2 unless the engine is both switched on and running. This is controlled in the following manner. Power relay control wire 68 controls the activation of power relay 62 depending on control signaling received via vacuum switch 70. Vacuum switch 70 is a normally open switch which is Gosed, making electrical contact with ignition line 72, when vacuum is supplied to tubing 71. Ignition line 72 is powered from the ignition key system 81, becoming powered when the ignition switch is turned ON. A fuse 75 is provided for safety. The vacuum to operate the vacuum switch 70 is obtained from the air intake system of the engine communicated by intake supply line 73 to which tubing 71 is connected via T-connector 80. As will be readily understood, the engine will only generate a vacuum when it is running and the presence of vacuum switch 70 ensures that production of the mixed materials will only occur when the engine is running. Thus when the engine has stalled or the ignition switch is, for any reason) on but the engine is not running, no electrolysis will occur. While it will be understood that tubing 71 can be directly connected to the engine manifold to obtain a vacuum supply directly from the engine, the preferred construction is to employ a T-connector 80 which bridges engine intake supply line 73 and the supply line 75. This provides added safety by preventing the undesirable escape of the combustible mixed materials into the engine compartment thereby avoiding potential explosion risks. When the rate of production of electrolysis mixed materials delivered by supply line 75 exceeds the rate of consumption of those mixed materials through the engine vacuum present in the engine intake supply line 73, the excess production mixed materials will "flood" into the vacuum tubing 71 thereby causing vacuum switch 70 to open, thereby, interrupting the power 75 supplied to the electrolysis chamber 2 halting further production. The electrolyte solution can be any suitable solution of water and electrolytic agent permitting current to move through the solution between the electrodes 22 and 28. An efficacious electrolytic agent will not react during or be affected by the water electrolysis process to thereby become expended, decomposed or depleted during the water electrolysis process. The electrolytic agent must not be so volatile as to be removed from solution along with the emitted mixed materials; and, because hydrogen-ion concentrations are being rapidly perturbed at the electrodes during the water electrolysis process, the electrolytic agent should have a strong resistance to pH changes. In one embodiment, the electrolyte solution is made of distilled water and the electrolytic agent is effective quantities of potassium hydroxide (KOH), generally about 10 g KOH per 1.2L of water. During operation, electrolytic agent concentrations in the water will vary. The electrolyte solution is added through port 10 to the chamber. Once it is added, it is only necessary to add distilled make-up water on an occasional basis to maintain the unit in operation. Adding make-up water may be accomplished by removing plug 12 and pouring in the make-up water and thereafter replacing plug 12. Make-up water should be distilled water to avoid contamination of the electrolytic solution with the dissolved salts and other minerals and. contaminants present in water that is not distilled. Electrical current to the system is actuated by turning the ignition switch key to start the engine. The current flowing from anode 28 to cathode 22 causes the electrolysis of the water in the electrolyte solution. The operation of the engine causes a vacuum to be set up in the air intake system of the engine. This vacuum draws the plug 12 down into port 10 to seal the port. Any generated mixed materials from the chamber are drawn through supply line 18, to air intake manifold 113 wherein they are mixed with the air and burned with the fuel.

Electrolysis occurs as long as the engine is running and vacuum is applied to vacuum switch 70. When either the ignition key 81 is turned to the off position, or the supply of vacuum to vacuum switch 70 falls below a preselected threshold amount (because either the engine stalls or stops) or production of the mixed materials delivered over line 75 exceeds engine vacuum) power to the electrolysis chamber is cut off by power relay 62 in response to interruption of the control signal provided to the relay by wire 68 resulting in cessation of generation of mixed materials. Electrolysis mixed materials produced within chamber 2 are carried along supply line 18 to flow control valve 78 which is a directional valve connecting supply line 18 to supply line 75 when control wire 68 is energized (the ignition 81 is on and vacuum switch 70 is receiving vacuum) allowing produced mixed materials to be directed to engine supply line 73. Any mixed materials which, through a system failure, are generated while the engine is turned off or remain in electrolysis chamber 2 following engine shut off causes control line 68 to lose power thereby causing solenoid valve 78 to couple supply line 18 to the vent line 82 to expel the excess/surplus mixed materials harmlessly into the ambient atmosphere. in the unlikely event that solenoid valve 78 falls or ignition of the mixed materials occurs within electrolysis chamber 2) any accumulated mixed materials or excessive pressures will be released by pushing out plug 12 or bursting area 8. The arrangement as previously described herein of the electrolysis chamber, its arrangement of the electrodes and the selection of the electrolyte using KOH provides an arrangement in which the electrolytic action generates not only oxygen and hydrogen but also steam and structured water. The potassium in the KOH is particularly important in this regard. All these elements are then communicated from the chamber through the duct to the combustion chamber 110. Thus the duct 73 is connected to the air intake 111 of the combustion chamber at a position downstream of the air filter 112. A manifold 113 receives fuel through a pump 114 from a fuel supply 115 from an injector 116. The manifold 113 supplies the fuel, air and the mixed materials from the electrolysis chamber into the combustion chamber 110. The above components from the electrolysis chamber cooperate with the combustion of the hydro carbon fuels from the supply 115 so as to effect cracking of the unspent fuel in the presence of oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen and hydrogen can increase the temperature of the combustion and the presence of the steam and structured water operates as an effective cracking agent.

The above components therefore in the combustion chamber crack the normally unspent long chain and aromatic hydrocarbons causing the production of shorter chain hydrocarbons which are readily combustible thereby dramatically reducing emissions. The long chain and aromatic hydrocarbons can make up 30 to 50% of the total fuel so that it will be appreciated that a significant increase in efficiency is obtained by cracking these hydrocarbons and making them readily combustible. Yet further, the addition of the above components from the chamber results in a combustion in the combustion chamber which is sufficient to effect combustion of the pollutants normally produced in combustion of hydrocarbon fuels. It has been found, therefore, that such pollutants in the air drawn into the air intake can be burnt in the combustion chamber. In this way the pollutants released from the combustion through the exhaust system can be significantly reduced relative to the amount of pollutants drawn in through the air intake. In this way instead of the combustion chamber acting to generate additional pollutants which are emitted into the atmosphere, the combustion chamber and its combustion using the components set forth above can obtain a situation where it acts to reduce the amount of pollutants in the air surrounding the combustion chamber by drawing those pollutants into the combustion chamber from the air intake. It will be appreciated that this effect of cracking of the hydrocarbons and of providing an increased combustion effect thus burning the pollutants does not simply arise from the submission of oxygen and hydrogen into the combustion system. The amount of hydrogen generated in the electrolysis chamber is relatively small and is certainly insufficient to generate the improvements in energy from the hydrocarbon fuel which are obtained using this arrangement. In practice it has been found that increase in energy of 30 to 50% can be obtained utilizing amounts of the mixed materials which cannot possibly themselves provide this additional energy. It will be apparent that many changes may be made to the illustrative embodiments, while failing within the scope of the invention and it is intended that all such changes be covered by the claims appended hereto.



CA2513539
ELECTROLYZER APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR HYDROGEN PRODUCTION

Also published as: WO2004076721 // US7510633 // JP2006518812  

An electrolyzer cell (10) for the electrolysis of water comprises a cathode (12) of generally tubular configuration within which is disposed an anode (1 6) separated from the cathode (12) by a separation membrane (14) of generally tubular configuration which divides the electrolyte chamber (15) into an ano de sub-chamber (15a) and a cathode sub-chamber (15b). An electrolyzer apparatus (36) includes an array (38) of individual cells (10) across each of which an electric potential is imposed by a DC generator (40) via electrical leads (42a, 42b). Hydrogen gas generated within cells (10) from electrolyte (18) i s removed via hydrogen gas take-off lines (20) and hydrogen manifold line (21) . By-product oxygen is removed from cells (10) by oxygen gas take-off lines (2 2) and oxygen manifold line (23). The electrolyzer apparatus (36) may be configured to operate either batchwise or in a continuous electrolyterecycle operation to produce high purity hydrogen at high pressure, e.g., up to abou t 10,000 psig, without need for gas compressors to compress product hydrogen.

The present invention concerns an electrolyzes apparatus and method to produce high- pressure hydrogen at pressures up to 10,000 psig or higher, by means of electrolysis of water and without necessity of separate compression equipment. Direct electrolytic generation of such high-pressure hydrogen (and by-product oxygen) is attainable by the practices of the present invention. [0002] Electrolytic production of hydrogen is, of course, well known, as illustrated by U.S. Patents 5,665,211 for "Electrolysis Apparatus for Producing Hydrogen"; 6,033,549 for "Method of Electrolysis"; 6,071,386 for "Electrolysis Apparatus; and 6,153,083 for "Electrolyzes Isolated by Encapsulation with Respect to Pressurized Water". [0003] Known electrolytic equipment, sometimes herein referred to as "electrolyzers", using liquid electrolyte to generate hydrogen, operates in the following way. Two electrodes are placed in a bath of liquid electrolyte, such as an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide (KOH). A broad range of potassium hydroxide concentration may be used, but optimally, a concentration of about 25 to 28% by weight KOH solution is used. The electrodes are separated from each other by a separation membrane that selectively allows passage of liquid but not gas through it. When a voltage is impressed across the electrodes (about 2 volts), current flows through the electrolyte between the electrodes. Hydrogen gas is produced at the cathode and oxygen gas is produced at the anode. The separation membrane keeps the hydrogen and oxygen gases separated as the generated gas bubbles rise through the liquid electrolyte. There is a disengagement space above the liquid electrolyte comprised of two separate chambers or two sections isolated from each other by being separated by a gas-tight barner into two separate sections, one chamber or section to receive the hydxogen gas and the other to receive the oxygen gas. The two gases are separately removed from the respective sections of the disengagement space for storage or venting.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Generally, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided an electrolytic apparatus and a method of generating pressurized hydrogen and by-product oxygen directly from the apparatus, without necessity of a separate pressurization step. The electrolytic apparatus, usually referred to as an "electrolyzer", has a tubular cathode within which a rod-lilce anode is disposed to define between the anode and cathode an electrolyte chamber. A tubular separation membrane is disposed between the anode and the cathode to divide the electrolyte chamber into an anode sub-chamber and an electrolyte sub-chamber. In a specific embodiment, the anode, separation membrane and cathode have a coaxial configuration, so that the anode sub-chamber and the cathode sub-chamber are of concentric, annular configuration. The two electrolyte sub-chambers are respectively connected in gas-flow communication to respective gas/liquid separators to provide segregated hydrogen and oxygen sections from which the two generated gases are separately withdrawn. [0005] Specifically, in accordance with the present invention there is provided an electrolyzer cell for the electrolysis of water having first and second opposite ends and comprising the following components. A cathode of tubular configuration is connectable to a source of DC electricity, and defines a cathode active inner surface and a cathode outer surface. An anode is connectable to a source of DC electricity, defines an anode active outer surface, and is disposed within the cathode to define therewith an annular electrolyte chamber disposed between the cathode inner surface and the anode outer surface. A separation membrane of tubular configuration is disposed within the electrolyte chamber between the cathode and the anode to divide the electrolyte chamber into an anode sub-chamber and a cathode sub- chamber. The separation membrane serves to seal against the passage therethrough of gases. First and second gas-tight seals are disposed at, respectively, the first and second opposite ends of the cell. A gas tale-off connection is in liquid- and gas-flow communication with the electrolyte chamber for removing from the cell gases generated in the electrolyte chamber. [0006] In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the gas take-off connection is dimensioned and configured to remove gas generated in the cathode sub-chamber separately from gas generated in the anode sub-chamber. [0007] In another aspect of the invention, the cathode, separation membrane and anode are all disposed coaxially relative to each other, and the cathode inner surface, the anode outer surface and the separation membrane are each of circular configuration in transverse cross section.

Other aspects of the present invention provide that the electrolyzer cell may further comprise a pressure vessel separate from and surrounding and contacting the outer surface of the cathode or, alternatively, the cathode itself may comprise a pressure vessel. In either case, one aspect of the invention provides that the pressure vessel is capable of containing gas at an elevated pressure, wluch elevated pressure is at least about 10 psig. In some cases, the elevated pressure is not greater than about 10,000 psig, e.g., is not greater than about 5,000 psig. [0009] Yet ailother aspect of the present invention provides that at least one of the gas-tight seals comprises an anode-sealing collar affixed to the anode adjacent one end thereof; an electrical isolation bushing, which may be cup-shaped to define a recess in which the anode- receiving collar is received, the bushing being affixed to the anode between the anode-sealing collar and the one end of the anode, the bushing engaging the anode-sealing collar; and an end fitting engaging the bushing and providing a gas-tight seal of the cathode at one end thereof. [0010] Another aspect of the invention provides an electrolyzes comprising a plurality of electrolyzes cells as described above, first gas-flow conduits connected in liquid- and gas-flow communication between the respective cathode sub-chambers of the plurality of cells and a first gas collector; and second gas-flow conduits connected in liquid- and gas-flow communication between the anode sub-chambers of the plurality of cells and a second gas collector. [0011] In accordance with a method aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of electrolyzing water to generate pressurized hydrogen and oxygen therefrom utilizing an electrolyzes comprising one or more electrolyzes cells. The cells individually comprise (i) a cathode of tubular configuration within which a rod-shaped anode is disposed to define an annular-shaped electrolyte chamber between the cathode and the anode, (ii) a separation membrane of tubular configuration disposed within the electrolyte chamber between the cathode and the anode to divide the electrolyte chamber into an anode sub- chamber and a cathode sub-chamber and seal the sub-chambers against gas flow therebetween. The method comprises the following steps: (a) introducing an aqueous solution of electrolyte, e.g., an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide, into both sub-chambers of the electrolyte chamber; (b) applying a DC voltage drop across the respective anodes and cathodes of the cells to dissociate water into hydrogen at the cathode and into oxygen at the anode; and (c) separately withdrawing hydrogen and oxygen from the one or more electrolyzes cells. [0012] In another method aspect of the present invention, the cell further comprises a pressure vessel and the hydrogen and oxygen are generated at an elevated pressure of at least about 10 psig, e.g., a pressure not greater than about 10,000 psig, or not greater than about 5,000 psig.

Method aspects of the present invention include one or more of the following, alone or in suitable combinations: the pressure differential between the hydrogen and oxygen withdrawn from the cells is maintained at not more than about 0.25 psig, preferably, not more than about 0.2 psig, and more preferably not more than about 0.17 psig. [0014] Electrolyte and product hydrogen are flowed into a hydrogen separator, electrolyte and by-product oxygen are flowed into an oxygen separator, the respective electrolyte liquid levels in the hydxogen and oxygen separators are sensed and controlled to maintain a pressure differential between the hydrogen and oxygen withdrawn from the cells of not more than about 0.2 psig. [0015] The electrolyte may be, but need not be, recirculated through the electrolyzer in a continuous operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

 [0016] Figure 1 is an elevation view of a gas-generation cell in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

[0017] Figure lA is a perspective view, partly broken-away, of the gas- generation cell of Figure 1;

[0018] Figure 1B is a transverse cross-sectional view, enlarged relative to Figure l and taken along line I-I of Figure 1, showing electrolyte contained within the cell, the body of electrolyte being brolcen away for improved clarity of illustration;

[0019] Figure 1 C is a view corresponding to that of Figure 1B, except that a body of electrolyte corresponding to that shown in Figure 1B is omitted, showing a gas generation cell in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] Figure 1D is a longitudinal cross-section view, enlarged relative to Figure 1 and talcen along line II-II of Figure 1;

[0021] Figure 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view, enlarged relative to Figure 1, of a seal member in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, and utilizable as a component of the gas-generation cell of Figure l;

[0022] Figure 3 is a schematic flow diagram showing an electrolyzer apparatus in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention and including an array of a plurality of gas- generation cells of the type illustrated in Figures 1 through 1B; and

[0023] Figure 4 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of a liquid level sensor utilizable in one embodiment of the electrolyzer apparatus of Figure 3.



DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS THEREOF

Referring to Figures 1, lA and 1B, there is shown a gas-generation cell 10 comprising a cathode 12 which also serves as an outer containment shell, a separation membrane 14 (Figure 1B) and an anode 16. Cathode 12 has an inner surface 12a and anode 16 has an outer surface 16a. Surfaces 12a and 16a are active electrode surfaces which are exposed to, and in contact with, a liquid electrolyte 18 which is contained within electrolyte chamber 15 of gas-generation cell 10. Electrolyte chamber 15 is defined by the space between surfaces 12a and 16a. As seen in Figure 1B, separation membrane 14 divides electrolyte chamber 15 into an anode sub- chamber 15a containing an anode portion 18a of electrolyte 18, and a cathode sub-chamber 15b, containing a cathode portion 18b of electrolyte 18. It is seen that the anode 16, cathode 12, and separation membrane 14 are configured coaxially, with the tubular separation membrane 14 disposed coaxially within the tubular cathode 12 and the rod-shaped anode 16 disposed coaxially within the separation membrane 14. As shown in Figure 1B, cathode 12 and separation membrane 14 are of annular shape in transverse cross section, thereby imparting the same cross-sectional annular shape to the anode and cathode sub-chambers 15a and 15b. Cathode 12 is separated from the anode and sealed at one end against high pressure by seal 13 (Figures 1 and lA). A gas-tight seal 12b (Figure 1D) closes the other end of cell 10. Gas-tight seal 12b is shown in simplified schematic form for simplicity of illustration; its construction will be similar to that of gas-tight seal 13 except that, as shown in Figure 1D, the anode 16 does not protrude through it, but stops short of it. A pair of gas tale-off lines 20 and 22 protrude through gas-tight seal 12b to establish liquid- and gas-flow communication with the interior of gas-generation cell 10, as described below. The cathode 12 serves as the hydrogen-generating electrode and the anode 16 serves as the oxygen-generating electrode. The illustrated configuration of cell 10 separates the liquid electrolyte 18 into an anode electrolyte portion 18a and a cathode electrolyte portion 18b. The liquid electrolyte may be, for example, a 25% to 28% by weight KOH aqueous solution contained within electrolyte chamber 15, i.e., between the electrodes 12, 16 on both sides of the separation membrane 14. A plurality of individual gas-generation cells formed in this manner may be assembled into an array for use in an electrolyzer, as described below. [0025] Upon imposition of a direct current ("DC") voltage drop, typically about from 1.5 to 3 volts, preferably about 2 volts, across cathode 12 and anode 16, hydrogen gas is generated at cathode 12 within cathode sub-chamber 15b of electrolyte chamber 15, and oxygen gas is generated at anode 16 within anode sub-chamber 15a of electrolyte chamber 15.

[0026] The cathode component may, but need not necessarily, also serve as the pressure boundary of the electrolysis cell. That is, in some embodiments the cathode also serves as the containment or pressure vessel, whereas in other embodiments the co-axially disposed anode, separation membrane and cathode may all be contained within a pressure vessel, enabling thin- wall construction of the cathode as well as the anode. [0027] For high pressure generation in cases where the cathode also serves as the pressure vessel, the wall thiclcness T of cathode 12 arid consequently the outside diameter D of the cell 10 is dictated by the desired generation pressure, by material properties such as yield strength and electrical conductivity of the metal from which cathode 12 is made, and by practical considerations limiting the wall thickness of cathode 12 which, as noted above, also may serve as the containment vessel of cell 10. For inexpensive steel or other suitable metal tube or pipe material, consistent with hydrogen embrittlement constraints, there are practical limits on the diameter D of individual cells for generation at 10,000 prig. These practical limits are imposed by practical limits on the wall thickness T of cathode 12 and result in a range of diameter D of from about 2 to 3 % inches (about 5.1 to 8.9 cm). Generally, the wall thiclcness T may vary from about 1/4 to 5/8 inches (about 0.64 to 1.59 cm). The length L of the individual cell 10 is determined by the desired gas-generation rate, generation pressure, and annular flow gaps. Typically, the length L of the cell 10 is from about 2 to 6 feet (about 0.61 to 1.83 meters). The annular flow gaps are shown in Figure 1B by the radial dimension lines g~ (cathode annular flow gap) and ga (anode annular flow gap). Typical dimensions for the cathode annular flow gap g~ are from about 3/16 to 3/8 inches (about 0.48 to 0.96 cm), and for the anode annular flow gap ga are from about 1/8 to 1/4 inches (about 0.32 to 0.64 cm). [0028] A simple construction, shown in Figure 1D, is used to maintain the balance of pressure across the separation membrane 14 within the individual cells 10 to within 2 inches of water (less than 0.1 psig). Maintaining such pressure balance enables maintaining product (hydrogen) purity because the separation membrane 14 cannot seal against gas leakage at pressure differentials exceeding a few inches of water. Gas-tight seal 12b has a circular flange 11 on the inside thereof in which is formed a groove (unnumbered) within which the end of separation membrane 14 is received to provide a gas-tight seal between cathode disengagement space 19a and anode disengagement space 19b. A similar grooved-flange construction may or may not be supplied at the inside of seal 13 (Figures 1 and lA) to seal the opposite end of separation membrane 14. [0029] Gas off take line 20 transports hydrogen gas from cathode disengagement space 19a (Figure 1D) within cell 10 above the level 1 of cathode electrolyte portion 18b of liquid electrolyte 18. Gas tale-off line 22 transports oxygen gas from anode disengagement space 19b within cell 10 above the level 1' of anode electrolyte portion 18a of a liquid electrolyte 18. The respective hydrogen and oxygen disengagement spaces are isolated from each other by a gas- tight bullchead structure (not shown). [0030]' Figure 1C shows a second embodiment of the invention, wherein parts identical or similar to those of the embodiment of Figure 1B are nmnbered 100 higher than the numbers used in Figure 1B. With the single exception noted, the parts and their function of cell 110 of Figure 1C are identical to those of the corresponding parts of the embodiment of Figure 1B, and therefore a description of their structure and function is not repeated. In cell 110, anode 112 is not designed to resist the operating pressures of cell 110, and there is therefore provided a pressure vessel 113 which is separate from, but surrounds and contacts, the outer surface (unnumbered) of cathode 112. Pressure vessel 113 has end portions (not shown) which encase the first and second ends of cell 110 to provide an effective pressure vessel for cell 110. [0031] The illustrated configuration of cell 10 enables optimization of the electrode areas for the cathode and anode. Because the gas-generation rate (of hydrogen) at the cathode is twice the gas-generation rate (of oxygen) at the anode, the respective surface areas of cathode inner surface 12a and anode outer surface 16a ideally should have the same 2:1 ratio, or at least an approximation thereof, to allow the maximum gas-generation rate for a cell of given dimensions. The gas-generation rate is normally determined by the surface area 12a of the cathode for a given material and surface conditions. In prior art parallel plate electrode configurations, where the anode and cathode are of equal surface area, there is a wasteful excess of anode surface area. In contrast, in the coaxial configuration of the present invention, the diameter of the anode is smaller than the diameter of the cathode as measured at its inner surface 12a. The anode (outer) surface area is therefore smaller than the inner surface area of the cathode. The anode (outer) surface and the cathode inner surface are the surfaces in contact with the liquid electrolyte and therefore constitute the active electrode surfaces. The respective electrode diameters and annular flow gaps can be established to create a cathode-to-anode active surface area ratio near or at the optimum 2 to 1 value.

Usually, the separation membrane 14 of Figure 1B and the separation membrane 114 of Figure 1C will be dimensioned and configured so that the volume of sub- chambers 15b and 115b are approximately twice the volume of their respective associated sub- chambers 15a and 115a. The individual cells 10 are sealed by providing a seal between the anode 16 and the containment vessel provided by the cathode 12 at each end of the latter. The seal must provide low voltage (~2 volts) electrical isolation between the anode and cathode as well as sealing the cell 10 against liquid leakage with internal pressures in the cell of up to about 10,000 psig or more. Figure 2 is an illustration of a simple and effective seal design. [0033] The seal 13 is comprised of four basic components. An anode-sealing collar 24 is made of metal and is welded to the a~iode 16 at an appropriate location to align it with the lower end of cathode 12 (Figure 1). Collar 24 may alternately be made by machining anode 16 from a larger-diameter rod so that collar 24 and anode 16 are of one-piece, unitary construction. An O- ring groove 24a is machined into the bottom end surface (unnumbered) of sealing collar 24 to receive an O-ring 24b. An electrical isolation bushing 26 is of cup shape and is made of a dielectric material to provide an electrical isolation piece through which the anode 16 passes. Bushing 26 is made from non-conducting material and has an O-ring groove (unnumbered) formed about the periphery thereof to receive an O-ring 26a. A high-pressure end fitting 28 is made of metal and provides an end piece through which the anode passes a~.id which seals the lower end of the cathode 12 by means of either threading or welding. The outer diameter of the end fitting 28 may be threaded to provide exterior threads 28a to mate with inner diameter threads (not shown) provided at both ends of the inner surface 12a (Figure 1B) of the containment vessel wall provided by cathode 12. The end fitting may be welded to the lower end of the cathode. Either arrangement forms a seal against the high gas pressure generated within cathode 12. [0034] An electrical insulating sleeve 30 has a sleeve bore 33 extending through it and is disposed within the end-fitting bore (unnumbered) extending through high- pressure end fitting 28. Anode 16 is received within the sleeve bore 33. Electrical insulating sleeve 30 thus serves to maintain electrical isolation between the anode 16 and cathode 12 outside the pressurized area within cathode 12. Sleeve 30 also has an end flange 30a that electrically isolates a nut 32 which is threaded onto the anode 16, at threads 17 formed at or near the end thereof, and is used to preload and hold the entire assembly together. A washer 34 is interposed between nut 32 and end flange 30a.

It will be appreciated that the various components, i.e., anode-sealing collar 24, electrical isolation bushing 26, and end fitting 28 are so dimensioned and configured as to position and maintain anode 16 at the center of the electrolyte chamber 15 (Figure 1B) defined between cathode 12 and anode 16. Structure is similarly provided to position and hold separation membraale 14 in place concentrically relative to anode 16 and cathode 12. This may be accomplished by one or more suitable positioning members which are dimensioned and configured to position and maintain separation membrane 14 in place. [0036] Referring now to Figure 3, an electrolyzer apparatus 36 comprises an array 38 of individual cells 10 across each of which an electric potential is imposed by an electrical energy source provided, in the illustrated embodiment, by a DC generator 40. Electrical leads from generator 40 to cells 10 are schematically illustrated by electrical leads 42a, 42b. A given hydrogen production capacity for electrolyzer apparatus 36 is attained by appropriately sizing individual cells 10 and selecting an appropriate number of such cells for connection to a common manifold system as described below. In use, a method for producing hydrogen (with an oxygen by-product) is carried out by utilizing an electrolytic apparatus as described above ~to produce hydrogen (and oxygen by-product) at an elevated pressure of up to 10,000 pounds per square inch gauge ("psig"), for example, a pressure range from about 0 to about 10,000 prig. The upper end of this pressure range (from about 5,000 to about 10,000 psig) is uniquely well suited to directly provide hydrogen fuel for storage in high-pressure storage vessels of hydrogen-based fuel cell-powered automobiles or other self propelled vehicles, or portable or stationary devices. Any pressure ranges between about 0 to about 10,000 psig may of course be used. Typical of such intermediate ranges are pressures above about 3,000 prig, e.g., from above about 3,000 psig to about 10,000 psig; from about 3,500 psig to about 8,000 psig; and from about 3,500 psig to about 10,000 psig. Generation of hydrogen at pressures above 10,000 psig may be feasible in certain aspects of the invention, provided that it is economically practical for the contemplated use to provide pressure vessels and associated equipment capable of sustaining such high pressures. [0037] An electrolyte reservoir 44 is supplied by make-up water pump 48 with make-up water from water treatment and storage zone 46 in order to replenish water which was dissociated by electrolysis to provide product hydrogen and oxygen. Electrolyte is taken from the electrolyte reservoir 44 and is fed by supply line 45 to electrolyte-replenishing pump 50 from which it is transported via electrolyte feed line 51 to an electrolyte manifold 52 which supplies the electrolyte liquid to individual cells 10 via electrolyte feed lines 54.

Hydrogen gas generated within cells 10 and some electrolyte 18 (Figure 1B) is removed via gas off take lines 20 and hydrogen manifold line 21 to hydrogen separator 56, wherein liquid electrolyte 18 (Figure 1B) is separated from the hydrogen gas. Hydrogen product from hydrogen separator 56 is flowed via hydrogen discharge line 60 and is free to flow through check valve 62 and into hydrogen storage tanlc 63, or to use or further treatment. Separated electrolyte provides a liquid seal within hydrogen separator 56. Hydrogen pressure will continue to rise as hydrogen is supplied to the fixed volume storage tank 63. Similarly, oxygen and liquid electrolyte 18 is removed from cells 10 by gas off take lines 22, which supply oxygen manifold line 23. The oxygen gas and liquid electrolyte 18 flow via line 23 to oxygen separator 64 in which liquid electrolyte is separated from the oxygen. Separated oxygen flows via oxygen discharge line 68 at a rate, which is controlled by oxygen pressure regulator 70, to an oxygen storage tans (not shoml) or to venting or to use or fixrther treatment. Separated electrolyte provides a liquid seal within oxygen separator 64. The oxygen flow rate is controlled to maintain the liquid level in separator 64 to be equal to the liquid level in separator 56. The same operational function could be performed by maintaining the pressure in separator 64 to be equal to the pressure in separator 56. This allows the individual cells 10 to be operated in a flooded condition with the generated gas bubbles passing through the gas off take lines 20, 22 leading from each cell to the separators 56, 64 and the common reservoir 44. In such mode of operation, the levels 1, f of electrolyte 18 shown in Figure 1D are maintained at a higher level within the apparatus illustrated in Figure 3. The electrolyte 18, in such case, floods the cells 10, gas take-off lines 20 and 22, hydrogen manifold line 21 and oxygen manifold line 23, the electrolyte surface level in such case being at level 1 of Figure 4. [0039] The separators 56 and 64 are sized in cross-section so as to act as a liquid trap preventing or greatly reducing electrolyte carry over and loss of potassium hydroxide. Make-up potassium hydroxide may be added to the system as needed, e.g., manually during shut-downs for periodic maintenance. In addition, the oxygen gas exiting the oxygen separator is connected to the gas space over the liquid in the electrolyte reservoir to maintain reservoir pressure at near cell pressure. This enables the electrolyte supply pump to operate as a low differential pressure circulator. Make-up water is only added to the electrolyte reservoir when level sensors in the reservoir (not shown) indicate the need to replenish the reservoir liquid. [0040] Check valve 62 allows the hydrogen product gas to flow through line 60 into a storage tanlc 63 or to fixrther processing or use when the hydrogen gas pressure in cells 10 exceeds that in line 60, e.g., in the hydrogen storage tank 63. A pressure sensor (not shown) acts to automatically shut off the electrical current to the electrolyzer apparatus 36 when the maximum design pressure in hydrogen storage tank 63 has bean reached. [0041] The liquid level in the hydrogen separator 56 is sensed by a simple level-sensing device, shown in Figure 4, which is mounted on hydrogen separator 56. Level- sensing device 72 comprises a pair (or more) of electrically isolated probes 74, 76 that extend into the separator 56 at lengths that define the maximum and minimum desired level 1 of liquid electrolyte 18 in the separator 56 at, respectively, probe tips 74a and 76a. The electrically isolating seal is essentially the same design as the cathode/anode seal 13 (Figures 1 and lA) described above. A low-voltage source 78, typically, less than about 1.5 volts, is connected by electrical leads 80, 82 to probes 74, 76 and is grounded to separator 56 by electrical ground lead 84. Electrical continuity is checlced between the probes 74, 76 and the shell of separator 56. If the electrolyte level drops below the lower level, i.e., no continuity is found in either probe, the electrolyte supply pump 50 is actuated and electrolyte is sent to the cells. When electrical continuity is sensed on both probes 74 and 76, the electrolyte has reached the maximum level and the electrolyte supply pmnp 50 is stopped, and no more electrolyte is sent to the cells. If the conductive electrolyte is between the two probe lengths, i.e., continuity is found on one probe only, the make-up water pump 48 status is left unchanged, whether on or off, until one of the two above mentioned conditions is met. [0042] The flow of oxygen can be easily controlled to minimize the pressure differential between the separators (and therefore across the diaphragm) in either of two ways: differential pressure sensing, or liquid-level sensing. [0043] In the differential pressure-sensing technique, the flow from the oxygen separator 64 is controlled by pneumatically actuated pressure regulator valve 70. In this case the actuator diaphragm (not shown) of valve 70 is connected by lines (not shown) to sense the pressure differential between the gas in the oxygen separator 64 and hydrogen separator 56, and opens to vent the gas space of oxygen separator 64 to maintain a set pressure differential. This pressure differential is set at near zero, e.g., a pressure differential of about from 0.17 to 0.2 psig, so that the pressure balance inherently keeps the liquid levels in the two separators 56, 64 stable and equal to within the differential pressure setting. [0044] In the direct liquid-level sensing technique, a liquid-level sensor identical to liquid- level sensing of Figure 4 is installed on device 72 in the oxygen separator 64. In this case the valve 70 regulating the flow of gas from the oxygen separator 64 cycles between high and low (or on and off) settings. This simple level-control scheme is satisfactory for operation of cells

10. The setting of valve 70 is determined by the liquid electrolyte level in separator 64 as follows. When the valve 70 is at its high flow setting and the liquid level in the oxygen separator 64 rises and reaches the high level contact (analogous to probe tip 74a of Figure 4), the valve 70 is switched to its low flow-rate position by a suitable electronic control device (not shown). When the valve 70 is in the low flow setting and the liquid level drops and reaches the low level contact (analogous to probe tip 76a of Figure 4), the valve 70 is switched to its high flow-rate position by the control device. [0045] In a different embodiment of the present invention, the electrolyte is circulated in a continuous recycle operation. This continuous-operation embodiment enables the production of high-pressure hydrogen with the potential to increase the length, and therefore the production rate, for a given cell. In the batch mode embodiment described thus far, the individual cell length is limited by a combination of the cell dimension (flow gap), gas volume generation rate, and bubble rise rate. Circulating the electrolyte upward through the cell at appropriate rates in a continuous recycle embodiment of the invention will increase the bubble rise rate via entrainment and allow longer cathode and electrode length for otherwise similarly dimensioned cells. To implement this recycle approach the separator reservoirs (items 56 and 64 in Figure 3) would be altered by adding a return path for the electrolyte from separators 56 and 64 back to the electrolyte reservoir (item 44 in Figure 3). The remainder of the apparatus schematically show~l in Figure 3 and the basic control system as described above for the batch mode embodiment stays largely unaltered for the electrolyte-circulating continuous recycle embodiment. [0046] The present invention provides at least the following advantages over the prior art. [0047] 1. The coaxial anode/cathode configuration allows very high-pressure hydrogen generation with practical wall thicl~nesses of conventional materials in the containment vessel provided by the cathode 12. The value of this invention is further enhanced by the use of advanced pressure-containment materials, such as composite structures, which may make practical larger individual cell sizes at elevated pressures. The co-axial configuration also allows optimization of the surface areas of anode 16 and cathode 12, as described above. [0048] 2. Independent gas/liquid separators (such as separators 56, 64) are used for each of the hydrogen and oxygen production sides. This allows multiple gas-generation cells 10 to be connected to common gas/liquid separation vessels (e.g., 56, 64) and the utilization of a liquid electrolyte level control system.

13. A novel, low-cost pressure seal design for entry of the anode 16 into the gas- generation cell 10 enables satisfaction of high-pressure and electrical isolation requirements at reasonable cost. [0050] 4. The invention provides a simple, inexpensive control strategy for untended operation during hydrogen production, including automated control of the level of liquid electrolyte 18, or the control of the differential pressure between the separators (56 and 64) and release of generated hydrogen and oxygen gases, such that high-purity gas products are obtained. [0051] The ability of the apparatus and method of the present invention to enable hydrogen (and oxygen) production at pressures of up to or even exceeding 10,000 psig exceeds the highest direct generation pressure of about 3,000 psig that has been previously reported as attainable from prior known electrolyzers. The apparatus and method of the present invention can produce such high-pressure hydrogen without need for a separate compressor to pressurize the product hydrogen gas. Producing 10,000 psig hydrogen is key to supplying compressed hydrogen gas for fuel-cell-powered or internal combustion engine-powered vehicles at acceptable volume-to-weight ratios for onboard storage that yields a single- tank driving range equivalent to gasoline powered vehicles. The present invention allows high- pressure hydrogen production to be performed in a unique way that reduces the component cost and system complexity so that the equipment is easily affordable by individuals for commuter vehicle home fueling and for small fleet fueling applications. The invention is scalable to any given production capacity and is also practical for service-station type applications for dispensing of hydrogen to fuel-cell-powered vehicles and equipment. [0052] The apparatus and method of the present invention rnay be utilized to generate pressurized hydrogen on site at locations such as service stations for hydrogen fuel cell-powered automobiles; service stations, hardware/home improvement stores, and local energy distributors for retail sale of hydrogen fuel via high-pressure canisters; and in residences, factories and office buildings for on-site energy storage and/or use in fuel cell or internal combustion engine- based portable power supply or home, garden or other appliance applications.  


 
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ELECTROLYSIS APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING HYDROGEN

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ELECTROLYTIC PRODUCTION OF HYDROGEN

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METHOD FOR ELECTROLYTIC PRODUCTION OF HYDROGEN

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PROCESS FOR OBTAINING HYDROGEN AND OXYGEN FROM WATER

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HYDROGEN GAS ELECTROLYSIS AND SUPPLY APPARATUS

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CATALYSING GASEOUS HYDROGEN EVOLUTION IN AQUEOUS ALKALINE ELECTROLYSIS

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HYDROGEN-ASSISTED ELECTROLYSIS PROCESSES

WATERFUEL:     40/08

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MOTOR FUEL COMPOSITION HAVING ENHANCED WATER TOLERANCE

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WATER BLENDED FUEL COMPOSITION

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SELF EVACUATING WATER-SEPARATING FUEL FILTER

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WATER FUEL EMULSIFIED COMPOSITIONS

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SUPERCRITICAL WATER FUEL COMPOSITION AND COMBUSTION SYSTEM

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FUEL-WATER EMULSIONS CONTAINING EMULSIFIERS

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VAPORIZATION DEVICE FOR CONVERTING FUEL AND WATER INTO HYDROGEN

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ELIMINATING AIR AND WATER FROM FUEL

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SUB-CRITICAL WATER-FUEL COMPOSITION AND COMBUSTION SYSTEM

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PLATINUM METAL FUEL ADDITIVE FOR WATER-CONTAINING FUELS

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CONVERTING MIXTURE OF WATER AND ETHANOL INTO FUEL

WATER INJECTION:

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FUEL INJECTOR ASSEMBLY WITH WATER
 
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DUAL FUEL INJECTION NOZZLE WITH WATER INJECTION
 


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http://peswiki.com/index.php/Free_Energy_Blog:2014:11:18#Philippine_Police_Car_Powered_with_HHO
Free Energy Blog:2014:11:19

Philippine Police Car Powered with HHO

Habibur Rahman posted this on my [ Sterling Allen ] Facebook page.

The police force in the Philippines have started to use hho on their vehicles this saves them 30% on fuel and reduces emissions by 90% .






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