Monday, August 04, 2008

HHO Gas: What types of proof are offered?

I've been blogging about HHO gas for over 2 yrs now. There are still quite a few aspects of this topic that I do not understand but I think compared to the vast majority of people I am reasonably well informed. My personal hope is that this technology can be scientifically proven beyond a doubt to work and to be the sort of technology that can scale through continual study and testing. But until this is done right by the EPA, we will have to make do with less scientific approaches. I'd like to walk you through an evolution of the types of proof that are being attempted out there.

First, we all know about the consumer testimonial type of evidence. This is probably the most emotional type. The problem with it is it's difficult to compare before to after due to variability of driving conditions and the impact having an HHO device has on the driver in terms of their psychology. Second, a somewhat similar attempt at proof comes from the YouTube or MetaCafe audio/visual genre. Plainly, these attempts want to allow you to experience an engine before/after HHO is injected into the fuel system. It is interesting to see an engine and hear it before/after as hho is injected then remove, then reinjected and the engine noticeably changes as a result. This is certainly a repeatable effort but it lacks the metrics needed to gauge true impact. Thirdly, there are road tests out there. Oftentimes, these come from trucking companies that have drivers driving routes every day. They know their mileage from careful and repeated record keeping. They put a unit on a vehicle and compare before/after. But even these tests might be flawed if the driver knows that a device is on the system---at least that's what critics will say. Fourthly, there is testing that takes place on a dynamometer. Hydrogen Boost has some test results from Purdue on this but I can't find the names of the original researchers on the website. WPTV in Florida ran two tests using a dynamometer and in the first one, the car more than doubled gas mileage but in the second test, it only jumped 10% and the underlying investigator, Amir Abtahi believes the testing was too flawed for the results to be useful. Ultimately, the EPA and it's independent 3rd party labs have a process that allows a device like this to be tested thoroughly. The problem is that no one has stepped up to take the test.

There's a 5th type of proof that is out there which probably annoys me most of all. This is the type of proof that comes from appeals to authorities in the field of mechanics or physics, etc and often consists of citing the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This type of proof is often sought by journalists who are writing a piece on HHO gas. So, the journalist calls up their local Professor of ABC and asks them what they think. I hate it when a Professor says something like this, "If this technology works so great, why isn't Ford or General Motors using it?" This type of analysis of HHO gas is a bit too snarky for me. It goes beyond what is needed which is a simple test on a dynamometer.

My personal opinion is that a good test would consist of 2 identical cars of the same year having their mileage calibrated so that both cars, in various loads, have the same mpg performance. Then you would strap on an HHO generator on one of the cars and run the tests again. To me, this would settle the human aspect of the test as well as teh variability of engine performance to a reasonable degree. If this type of test yielded results, then I think we'd all be in a much better place.

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