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Hydrogen Peroxide Car Motor

Using high concentration hydrogen peroxide as a super clean fuel in cars.
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This idea came to me when reading about amateur rocket enthusiasts building hydrogen peroxide powered rockets. H2O2 or Hydrogen Peroxide is an unstable molecule, being esientially a water molecule with a extra oxygen atom hanging on. Disturb it and the water molecule will happily fling off that pesky oxygen with considerable energy. The result is about half the energy density of hydrocarbon burning, but the result is just water and oxygen.

H2O2 rockets work by injecting the liquid into a catalyst pack -usually a stack of silver gauze screens- which rapidly degrades the H2O2 causing enormous heat and pressure. (check out the links) The hot exhaust is perfect for injecting fuel for additional power and specific impulse - these kinds of hybrid rockets are known to be super clean and powerful.

The base of my idea is for this to be adapted to automotive purposes. A car could be retro-fitted to the new fuel easily as a power booster. You could add a squirt of about 7 mls per cylinder charge would increase oxygen available for combustion by 75%. The H2O2's own energy would add to the power, perhaps an additional two three times. Peak cylinder pressure would be enormously high though = engineering headache.

Using peroxide as the sole fuel is ideal of course and is part of my idea. You'd simply inject it directly into the cylinder (the injector would have a catalyst screen that the peroxide was forced through). Air would merely provide a working mass to absorb the heat and pressure. The fuel could be metered in any desired quantity or rate to maximise efficiency or power. Infact you could make ALOT of power.

It'd be much simpler again to simply have a well designed turbine. You'd have a very compact and efficient (turbines reach 80%) engine that could make very high power with a single moving part. (again check out the links - especially the 1500hp go-kart which is a baked and working implementaion - however doing that in a car seems unbaked so far!)

Thus I presesnt my main idea, would be of course an practical application, with four small turbines, each one actually integrated into the hubs of the wheels giving four wheel drive. In economy mode, only the rear or front two turbines would run, making the most out of the fuel at the optimium operating flow and load. The other two would kick in when performance is required.

No need for a gearbox or clutch, that starting torque would be insane!

The main benefit is with such enormous power density is that there is no bulky engine to package in the design of the car allowing more interior space, crash protection and ultimately more freedom for design. Want more power? Simply pump in more peroxide. No tuning or arsing about with aftermarket parts. Except maybe stronger turbines.

But its not as magic as it sounds. I'm not sure about safety as it *is* difficult to store and being such a wonderful oxidiser you don't want accidents. If there was a leak everyone would be more than blonde in a 100 metre radius.

It's not like gasoline isn't dangerously flammable anyway. It's not hard to engineer safety either, present CNG (~3000psi) and LPG (~400psi) cylinders are made incredibly strong and are statisticly safer in a crash than conventional fuel tanks! Oddly higher percentage peroxide is actually more stable (up to boiling point +150 C and freezing -50 C). 95% concentration peroxide is comparitively easy to store and use.

So is it dough or fish?

venomx, Jul 10 2003

(???) Crazy H2O2 propelled things http://www.meditech...ring/indexete2.html
1500hp go kart, H202 rocket car, et al [venomx, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Hydrogen peroxide powered rocket http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Jet_pack#Types
[BJS, Apr 21 2007]

Storage, and Use as propellant http://en.wikipedia...en_peroxide#Storage
of hydrogen peroxide. [BJS, Apr 21 2007]

Bruce Crower's Six-Stroke Engine http://www.autoweek...1023/THISWEEKSISSUE
with direct water injection [discontinuuity, Apr 26 2007]

Tje Rocket Belt Man http://www.tecaerom...ingles/destilai.htm
"$0.59 / lb USD for 90% h2o2" (The rocket belt can be had for a mere USD$125K) [Klaatu, Jul 08 2008]

Castor oil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castor_oil
Useful stuff [8th of 7, Jul 08 2008]

[link]






       I was hopeful this would be good but had my doubts re: safety. That is where the idea would succeed or fail. Blowing the safety aspect off with a throwaway line re: trusting the status quo dooms the idea to fail.   

       "Its not hard to engineer safety". No but it is next to impossible to engineer corporate responsibility. Read Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed. If you think "that was then", read anything Nader. He's still at it -- and we should all be grateful. You Americans should also make sure he runs again in '04, support his run & vote for him. U.S President Ralph Nader, it has nice ring to it.   

       I liked the comment about "more than blonde for quite a distance" - kind of says it all. Colorfully.
thecat, Jul 11 2003
  

       Yes! (To bad I can't do it from Canada. Twice.) Nader/LaDuke in 2004!
thecat, Jul 12 2003
  

       Apparently, this idea is already in the oven in the way of being baked as a fuel cell. From the few articles I scanned over, such a fuel cell seems nearly Utopian. What surprised me was the quote I came across by the fastest man on two wheels, British engineer Richard Brown, after his H202 oxidized-rocket-powered motorcycle hit 365 mi/hr;   

       "All I can say is the G force is absolutely obscene,"   

       Heh, kewl.
Tiger Lily, Jul 12 2003
  

       I don't think that's right somehow. Ok starting with the assumption that theres twice the energy density in hydrogen peroxide, I expect you could go perhaps twice the distance with a kg of peroxide than you would with any petroleum fuel. A turbine driving a wheel directly through a reduction gear means you'd loose 10% of power or perhaps less. Turbines can be upwards of 70% efficient in extracting energy from a flow. So we are looking at 60% efficiency from fuel to the road. Bare in mind theres very little or no energy expenditure in pumping liquid H2O2 into the catalyst, especially from a presurised tank.   

       I'm unsure about catalyst efficiency, but I bet that can be close to 100% with good design.   

       So to compare, a car engine and gearbox is 20% efficient at getting energy from fuel to the road. That's assuming the most efficient engine and gearbox.   

       Am i wrong?
venomx, Jul 27 2003
  

       H2O2 in small amounts in a car would increase the octane level but the only problem is controling it. H2O2 expands a total of 600 time in volume, manly being superheated steam, which can vaporize/cut in half a person at the same rate they fall/walk though it. also you cannot see the steam. H2O2 rockets are designed for go karts, rockets bikes and dragsters, and if your smart enough as a jet pack. this guy knows a lot about H2O2 rockets http://www.tecaeromex.com/
McNadds, Oct 07 2005
  

       [venomx] said, "...a car engine and gearbox is 20% efficient at getting energy...to the road." That's about right. Those numbers used to be considerably less, but IC engine tech has advanced considerably in the last 20 years. Diesels are better, around 25% after all losses are considered.
elhigh, Oct 11 2005
  

       <stereotype joke alert> //If there was a leak everyone would be more than blonde in a 100 metre radius// So, it would lobotomise all those nearby?
coprocephalous, Oct 11 2005
  

       Just wanted to add a note here (since no one else has mentioned it) that the Germans in WWII had hydrogen peroxide driven turbines in an advanced stage of development that were designed for use in their submarines. The advantage there, of course, is that you can use the fuel underwater because it carries it's own oxygen. My understanding is that they were to use an 80% concentration but, happily for the allies, the war ended before they could deploy the new weapon. I think that this idea as an automotive fuel has great potential and could be brought to technical maturity much more quickly and cheaply than fuel cells.
iamrick, Aug 15 2006
  

       I had this exact same idea today on the way to work. I was going to add it to HB, but it up first and it looks like someone ellse had EXACTLY my idea. This should work well with a diesel engine. The injection would have to be timed along with the power stroke of the engine..   

       I like the idea of a turbine even better, but you have to have a way to get the power to the wheels.   

       I was thinking of using as the main fuel in a modified diesel engine with about 10% ethenol added for even more power. The exaust would contain mostly water.
dlapham, Jan 11 2007
  

       As far as putting silver mesh in the top of an engine, wouldn't all that hot air swirling around tarnish and destroy the silver rather quickly? Also, doesn't pure peroxide cost something like $60US per gallon? It might be clean, but definately not cheap.   

       I think that H2O2 injection could be useful as an anti-lag system for a turbocharger. These kind of systems currently inject fuel into the exhaust manifold during gear shifts to keep the turbo spooled up. If you could find a way to inject H2O2 accross a catalyst safely and reliably, you might even produce more boost than the engine running at full speed. You would also have quite a bit of fire and steam coming out of the exhaust.
discontinuuity, Jan 11 2007
  

       I like the idea. a system of spring loaded valves would easily take care of the pressur problems and heat cells could be used to allow more efiiciency if you were to make the car a hybrid (which would give the engine time to cool down). But i was wondering if u had a material that could stand the heat. if u were to make a structure much like the mesh screen idea out of this material. could u fill the material with pores and put the silver or what ever other catalist in side. so when the peroxide is in jected in it can still react with the silver but the silver wont be lost. or else if there isnt enough surface area for reaction. you could use a stronger cattalyst like a mixture of pallidium ,silver,gold,and platnium.   

       hmmm i may not know much but not bad for a 17 year old
bogeld_mind21, Apr 17 2007
  

       Your knowledge is mind bogeling.
acurafan07, Apr 17 2007
  

       ya lol, how so? another problem was that a person could be cut in half from the super heated steam which is a load of bull.... u stup... son of a..... well u get the idea. a man has already built a jet pack (also called the rocket belt) out of this because it is safe for the person flying, because it is one of the few safe/cool forms of thrust used for personal flying gadgets. or if realy neccesary the exces pressure could be used to power compression turbines to compress and cool the exaust. o ya throw me another challenge. i need a life:( lol
bogeld_mind21, Apr 18 2007
  

       //a man has already built a jet pack (also called the rocket belt) out of this because it is safe for the person flying// Well, apart from the skull-splitting noise levels, the 20 second flight "endurance", and the fact that H2O2 will oxidise organic material on contact (including the pilot), yes this is great stuff.

[bogeld_mind21] If you look at your keyboard, it has two keys each side, with either the word "shift" or an up arrow printed on. Try to make more use of them.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 20 2007
  

       meh gramar sucks lol. hukt en fonicks wekded 4 mie. All joking asside safety is not impossible to engineer. U would actualy need alot less fuel then the rocket belt. It would also be less compared to the amount of gas used in vehicles now. Also i acknowledge the fact that u would have to engineer the fuel but it would be no different then proccesing oil. Also distributing the fuel wouldnt be much different. Also yes i understand the transporting the fuel will be unsafe but thats just another small problem the needs to be overcome. And in fact it dosent take much enrgey in fact u have take energy from the H2O and add oxygen to form H2O2. (hmmm.... i wonder if any one willl notice i say fact to much.....crap lol) I wonder (bear with my imagination) if u could actualy process the fuel at the station so that the only threat to the enviroment in trans port is drowning alot of plants in water. but ya if u were to place a grid in the well to extract electrons then add oxygen every gas staion would make there own fuel. Crap the only problem is that asuming every gas staion atendent is a chemist. owell i admit defeat.
bogeld_mind21, Apr 20 2007
  

       I GET BORED TO EASY!!!lol no i just think that itis a realy good idea and should be taken seriously...
bogeld_mind21, Apr 20 2007
  

       The idea of making the fuel at the station out of water is pretty slick, [bogeld]. I like it more the more I think about it. Your annos are rock solid. Your points about cleanliness and safety of H2O2 as fuel are good ones. I was thinking about a platinum catalyst too. For home tinkering you could even salvage one from a junkyard. What if you mixed ethanol in the H202? You have enough heat for combustion and available O2 to make it happen: more umph! Could this be done in a decentralized fashion - /every gas staion would make there own fuel/? My problem: ignorance about how H2O2 is made. I will fix that in a second.   

       I am not sure if your grammatic style has a name but I have seen it before on the web. It is hard for me to read. Consider, [bogled]: when in Rome do as the Romans do.
bungston, Apr 21 2007
  

       If hydrogen peroxide was used as a sole propellant in a piston engine, then every down stroke would be a power stroke, as compared to every other down stroke in a four-stroke engine, and it should be more powerful and clean compared to two-stroke engines.
BJS, Apr 21 2007
  

       I read the wikipedia article on H2O2. Modern manufacture methods are towards the end. There is a catalyst that reacts hydrogen and water. It seems to me that H2O2 would be a much more stable way to store hydrogen.   

       Imagine: a noncarbon economy. All nuclear power. Electricity is sent to H2O2 stations which use it to split water, then generate H2O2. Oxygen is a waste product. Cars fill up on H2O2. No dangerous compressed hydrogen. No greenhouse gases. No oil. No war. Everyone blonde.
bungston, Apr 21 2007
  

       I say Again GRAMAR SUCKS!!!! lol
bogeld_mind21, Apr 25 2007
  

       Scenario: H2O2-powered car crashes into a tree, driver has a few cuts and scrapes that need attention to prevent infection. Good thing there's hydrogen peroxide leaking out of the fuel tank!
Ketchupybread, Apr 26 2007
  

       [bungston], peroxide in high concentration will react with any organic material, including ethanol. This is how the V2 rocket got it's power. A crash would not only make everyone nearby "more than blonde," they would catch on fire.   

       Maybe instead of having a wad of catalyst in the combustion chamber, you could just coat the entire cylinder and/or piston with silver. The only problem is finding a catalyst that will split the H2O2 yet not be oxidized by the hot exhaust gasses. Does anyone know enough about chemistry to find a suitable catalyst?   

       A solution of hydrogen peroxide could be used in Bruce Crower's water injection engine (see link) to expand the gasses even more than regular water. Of course, everything comes down to cost. Rocket belts might be economical to run when filming a multi-million dollar James Bond film, but I don't think most people can afford H2O2 over gasoline.
discontinuuity, Apr 26 2007
  

       I am trying to find out how much industrial grade 95% peroxide costs.   

       Silver would oxidize. I do not think platinum would easily oxidize.
bungston, Apr 26 2007
  

       while powering a car by putting a turbine in/on each wheel would be nifty I think a more elegant way to go would be to adapt existing hybrid technology. Use a large central turbine to power a generator, and then use that to power a motor on each wheel.
Afterblast, Apr 27 2007
  

       / peroxide in high concentration will react with any organic material /   

       The solution: suspended magnesium nanoparticles. Metallic magnesium should not oxidize at the low temperatures in the H2O2 tank. However, at the high temperatures of the steam / O2 mix the magnesium should also ignite, formidably. This would be more of a rocket motor type thing, I suspect.
bungston, Apr 27 2007
  

       well a simply not so simple solution would be to speed up electrolosis add a chamber for H2O2 production line the lines from the chamber to the engine with silver so if there was a split it would be netraulized by the catalyst. We could an incredibly safe magical pixy car that runs on water. PIXY's RULE!!!!! (go blondes) :)note im blond:)
bogeld_mind21, Apr 28 2007
  

       95% H202 is about $5 a pound and has to be bought by the pallet. each container is about 5.7 gallons = 66.1 lbs or $330.5 per container and there are 6 containers per pallet ($1983) plus shipping. about $58 a gallon. LOL There are several ways to catalyze the H202 including permanganate (check the spelling?) which is suspended in a liquid and sprayed into the stream. Read up on the power systems of the ME 163 Komet. The catalyst packs consist of a series of silver coated stainless steel meshes. personally I would like to see how H202 would operate in a rotary engine. No intake only exhaust. LOL. This would be a "two stroke" rotary. Gobs of power. You would have to dig into steam engine technology to solve lubrication issues though. The ECO nuts are not going to allow you to mix oil into the system.
LoboCal, Jul 08 2008
  

       // that starting torque would be insane!// I thought turbines only get good efficiency and power at high RPM's, hence no successful fossil fueled powered turbine cars ever made it. interesting idea for a clean fuel though.
ServoMan314, Jul 08 2008
  

       //This is how the V2 rocket got it's power// err, no. The peroxide ran a turbine pump, which pumped the propellants, alcohol and liquid oxygen.
coprocephalous, Jul 08 2008
  

       //95% H202 is about $5 a pound and has to be bought by the pallet. each container is about 5.7 gallons = 66.1 lbs or $330.5 per container and there are 6 containers per pallet ($1983) plus shipping. about $58 a gallon.//   

       Cheaper if you make it yourself <link>
Klaatu, Jul 08 2008
  

       // The ECO nuts are not going to allow you to mix oil into the system //   

       What about Castor oil ? It was used extensively in early Aero engines, which were total-loss-lubricated 2-strokes; it's organic, and degrades rapidly in the environment. It's not a bad lubricant either. <link>
8th of 7, Jul 08 2008
  

       <math that shouldn't have been as painful as it was, really>   

       1.6'ish mj of steam per kg of h2o2/water mix.   

       [8th] what about using water as a lubricant base, given the temperature inside the cylinder shouldn't be too much more than 100c
FlyingToaster, Jul 08 2008
  

       Actually the lubrication issue probably won't crop up if you use modern ceramic coatings. The temperature is around 1300 deg Fahrenheit (760 C). The engine will not need to idle, let got the throttle and it shuts off. open the throttle and you can be at max power real quick. The mazda style rotary is pretty efficient for an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) You could also power a turbine this way but it would be less efficient. The rotary might make a great drag bike though. No idle, no warm up, just crank it on and your gone. I do not think you would get very high combustion pressures (yeah I know it is not a combustion process, but a mazda doesn't have a cylinder pressure lol) as H202 is of a relatively low impulse. But this form of steam engine is above par for a superheated steam engine.
LoboCal, Jul 19 2008
  

       SAAB already make an engine like this, they us it in Torpedoes for subs.
M I C, Apr 13 2009
  

       //What about Castor oil ? //
Great. Ricin precursors and concentrated peroxide on the same page.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 13 2009
  

       Idea body: //about half the energy density of hydrocarbon burning//
Annotation by author: //starting with the assumption that theres twice the energy density in hydrogen peroxide//
  

       Published values:
Hydrogen peroxide - 2.88 MJ/kg (decomposition to water and oxygen)
Petrol - 46.4 MJ/kg
spidermother, Jul 09 2011
  

       Added the following idea to HB a few hours ago, 10 years after yours. [xaviergisz] sent me here.   

       H2O2 Motor   

       Silver plated piston   

       Rather than ignition, this motor works by catalysis. Same as a regular ICE, but without any electricity. Outputs oxygen and water. H2O2 can be manufactured by plants or animal cells, using bio or solar energy.
pashute, Jul 08 2013
  
      
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