FIELD OF INVENTION
The present invention relates to a hydrogen generation device. More particularly, the present invention relates to a hydrogen generation device for use with an internal combustion engine with the purpose to improve fuel combustion and consumption.
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TO THE INVENTION
Typically, internal combustion engines are powered by a hydrocarbon fuel such as petrol, diesel or liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Incomplete combustion of the fuel in the engine results in pollutants expelled through the exhaust system of the associated vehicle and also to low efficiency in the output from the engine.
It is known that the addition of hydrogen and oxygen gases into the fuel air mixture for combustion can increase efficiency of an engine and also reduce the pollutants output through the exhaust to the environment.
It is desirable to produce an improved hydrogen generator that improves efficiency and reduces pollutants produced due to the incomplete combustion of conventional fuels.
It is desirable to provide an improved hydrogen generator that is versatile in size and structure such that it can be fitted to any vehicle.
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OF THE INVENTION
A first aspect of the invention provides a hydrogen generator comprising a plurality of electrodes arranged in a sequence, wherein the sequence comprises a first positively or negatively chargeable electrode, followed by an isolated member of similar conductive material to the positively or negatively chargeable electrodes, wherein the isolated member is followed in the sequence by an electrode of opposite polarity to the first electrode and wherein an isolated member is located between each positively and negatively chargeable electrode of the sequence and wherein the sequence ends with an electrode of opposite polarity to that of the first electrode of the sequence.
The hydrogen generator may comprise a plurality of electrodes and a plurality of isolated members.
The sequence may comprise a plurality of positively chargeable electrodes and a plurality of negatively chargeable electrodes where each of the positively chargeable electrodes are electrically connected together and to a positive terminal of a power input source. The sequence may be arranged such that all negatively chargeable electrodes are electrically connected together and to a negative terminal of a power input source.
The power input source may be provided by a connection to an automobile battery.
Each electrode may comprise a plurality of members joined in electrical contact. Each member may be a plate. Each positive and negative electrode may comprise four plates. Each isolated member of the sequence may comprise three plates. The plates may be substantially circular in shape. Each plate may be arranged concentrically and may be mounted on a common shaft. The shaft may be of non-conductive material. The shaft may be of nylon material. The plates providing the electrodes and isolated members may comprise stainless steel. The plates may comprise 316L type stainless steel.
Stainless steel, in particular 316L stainless steel was found to be an efficient material in the electrolysis process for producing hydrogen and oxygen and also for its resistance to corrosion and erosion. The electrodes are fully immersed during the electrolysis process. Therefore, it is advantageous to use 316L stainless steel in respect of the lifespan of the device and an increased time period between maintenance periods.
The electrodes may be enclosed in a hermetically sealed housing. The housing may further comprise a fluid reservoir attached thereto providing a permanent fluid source for the electrolysis process.
The fluid reservoir may comprise a float device operable to control the level of fluid in the fluid reservoir. The fluid reservoir may further comprise an input and an output port, wherein the input allows a predetermined level of fluid in the fluid reservoir and the output port allows the hydrogen generated to be exported to a combustion system. The fluid reservoir may further comprise a vacuum pump to control the delivery rate of the hydrogen and oxygen gases exiting the fluid reservoir via the output port.
Either or both of the fluid reservoir and the hermetically sealed housing may comprise removable caps for maintenance and cleaning of their interior. The electrodes may be removable from the housing for maintenance and repair.
The device according to the first aspect of the present invention may be used with, for example, an internal combustion engine. The device may be operable to generate, through the process of electrolysis, hydrogen and oxygen for delivery to the combustion site of the engine. The addition of hydrogen and oxygen to the combustion site of an engine may improve the efficiency of combustion of the hydrocarbon fuel and may also reduce emissions normally associated with the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon fuels, for example carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides.
In trials with a device according to the present invention a notable change in the fuel consumption in a family car with a diesel engine was recorded. Normal fuel consumption of the vehicle was in the region of forty eight miles per gallon of fuel used. In comparison, the same engine with a device according to the invention attached, and driven under comparable conditions, produced improved fuel consumption. In the comparison test, sixty one miles per gallon of fuel used was recorded.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 shows an illustrative example of a hydrogen generator according to an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows an illustrative example of an electrode pack of the hydrogen generator of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 shows an illustrative example showing the shape of an electrode of the electrode pack illustrated in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 shows a schematic representation of the electrode sequence of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 5 shows an illustrative example of a hydrogen generator according to an embodiment of the present invention.
Referring to FIG. 1, a hydrogen generator 1 is illustrated which comprises a fluid reservoir 3 that in the illustrated embodiment is arranged substantially perpendicular to an electrode housing 5. The electrode housing 5 is arranged to receive fluid 9 from the reservoir 3.
In the illustrated embodiment the reservoir 3 comprises a clear tube 7 such that the level of fluid 9 contained in the reservoir 3 can be observed. The fluid 9 is an electrolyte solution comprising water; for example rainwater, a saline solution or water containing bicarbonate of soda or caustic soda. Fluid is added to the reservoir 3 through an inlet 8.
A float device 11 is included in the reservoir 3. The float device 11 is operable to measure the level of fluid 9 in the reservoir 3 and is also operable to activate a pump (not shown) such that a predetermined level of fluid 9 is maintained in the reservoir 3. The float device 11 can also be operable to indicate the condition of the fluid 9 in the device 1.
The condition of the fluid 9 will determine when maintenance is required. In this regard, the reservoir 3 comprises a cap 12 that, in use, provides a hermetically sealed unit.
Advantageously, the cap 12 is removable for maintenance. As such suitable seals, for example o-rings are arranged at the top of the reservoir 3 in sealing communication with the cap 12. The cap 12 can be further sealed with the use of a screw thread and a sealing compound such as PTFE tape.