Don't buy a Hydrogen fuel cell without reading this!

Posted on 6/13/2008
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If you are about to buy a Hydrogen generator, read this first!

What is a Hydrogen generator?
In a nutshell, it's a device that can produce Hydrogen gas for input into your vehicles air-side intake. They assist in the combustible materials going into the combustion chamber above the pistons in your engine.
Hydrogen is very explosive and when produced safely and in the correct amounts for your vehicle, it can greatly improve your fuel economy by replacing the gasoline you are using, with Hydrogen gas. You can't covert 100% over to Hydrogen fuel in a regular gasoline engine without major modifications to the timing, cylinder walls, etc. but you can use Hydrogen to help you use less gas!

The Truth
Every Hydrogen generator made today uses an age old process called "electrolysis" to produce the Hydrogen gas - also known as "HHO". The actual atomic makeup of the gas produced is 2 parts Hydrogen, and 1 part Oxygen derived from one water molecule.

The Oxygen part of the output is MUCH more than the Hydrogen part, it's actually a 2 parts atomic weight Hydrogen and 16 parts atomic weight Oxygen.
Through electrolysis using non-magnetic materials, water, electrolytes, and DC current from your car - you produce HHO gas. The difference in each cell is what they use to get the output. Most of the cells you see being sold only produce HHO - which is Oxygen and Hydrogen -important to know when everyone is shouting "Hydrogen" fuel cell, this is a false statement. It's a Hydrogen and Oxygen fuel cell.

The List of What to look for
As stated, every generator you see will use electrolysis to produce the Hydrogen gas your engine will use. But electrolysis is either done cleanly, or dirty.
A clean running
generator will only need to be maintenance every couple of months and is perfectly safe. A dirty running generator will need to be cleaned every other day and won't last long before replacement is needed.
This usually has to do with the cells design, what electrolyte being used, and the container.

Here are some important rules to follow:

General Considerations


  1. If you buy a cheap fuel cell, made from cheap components, that has to be maintained weekly, uses no electronic controlling devices or monitoring - you might face costly vehicle repair bills
  2. Don't buy anything that says "for experimentation use only"
  3. Hydrogen fuels aren't pressurized so there is no vacuum created other than what your vehicle already produces.
  4. A DIY kit shouldn't cost you more than $500 for everything needed for complete installation


Water to Hydrogen Cell


  1. Make sure the cell has been conditioned and tested  prior to purchase
  2. Stay away from Baking Soda powered Hydrogen Cells
  3. Make sure the cell can be removed easily for cleaning and maintenance - you WILL have to do this a few times a year.
  4. There are no maintenance free fuel cells, don't believe it
  5.  Ebay - caution, Ebay - caution. If the fuel cell doesn't look like something you'd see under the hood of a BMW - stay clear.


Cell Container


  1. Don't buy anything using a glass mason jar. These break easily and are usually built with silicone by people wanting to make a quick dollar
  2. PVC designs do work, but aren't ideal in a fuel cell casing because you can't see the innards of the cell and know when it's time for cleaning or maintenance. Look for clear acrylic casing is possible or a very well built PVC design..


Cell Construction


  1. Make sure the fuel cell has a "pop off" vent to prevent cell explosion, these operate with the same principle as a freeze-plug.
  2. Fuel cells with drains and fill caps are ideal
  3. Make sure the inside of the cell uses only non-magnetic materials
  4. You can't make a safe, long lasting fuel cell using "household" items


Water and Electrodes


  1. If you see brown floating junk in the cell or brown water, it's producing more waste than Hydrogen gas and will not last long
  2. Make sure a bubbler is used and elevated higher than the main cell installation if possible. A bubbler is the only safe way to operate a fuel cell and prevent flash-back explosions.


Electrical Current (Amps)


  1. Anything over 30 amps of power applied to a generator will start to boil the water and  produce "steam" which can hurt your engine, also ruining or melting a plastic cell.
  2. Make sure you can see the amps being drawn by the cell with an ammeter from inside the vehicle when in operation, or that the cell has a rating. Most don't know how many amps are drawn and are dependant on user variables which is very risky. For example a description might say, "just add 1 tsps of baking soda in tap water", but your tap water WILL be different than what they are using. Tap water varies across the world, some contain more metals than others which can drastically increase amp draw - thus damaging your car or the cell. 
  3. Make sure nothing less than 10 gauge wire is used during installation, 12 gauge is marginal for anything over 15 amps.
  4. High amp draw units (over 35 amps) can ruin your vehicles alternator, especially in smaller cars


Switches and Circuit Breakers


  1. Make sure the cell is "on demand" only and operates ONLY when the vehicle is running
  2. Make sure there is a circuit breaker in your fuel cell electronics description that is rated for the amperage of the cell, not way above it
  3. Make sure you don't hard wire the fuel cell to the vehicles battery, always use relays and "hot when on" power from the vehicle


Electronic Controls


  1. If you see the term "Pulse Width Modulation" in the description of a fuel cell electronics, this is a good thing! These allow you to control the amount of gas being produced and are considered more safe than directly wired units.
  2. MAP / MAF adjusters can help your maximum MPG gain from Hydrogen generators, especially on newer vehicles and are sometimes needed but not ideal as they take quite a bit of know-how to alter the vehicals electronics and can result in very poor performance or a vehicle that doesn't operate safely.
  3. O2 enhancers are sometimes needed, especially on newer vehicles but again, refer to the above statement.




  1. A good HHO generator can produce up to 2 liters of HHO gas per minute and draw under 25 amps from your vehicles electrical power,  and stay within 130 degrees F . A Hydrogen only generator is more ideal to use since Oxygen is wasted and confuses the vehicles sensors. A good performing Hydrogen only fuel cell will output .5 up to 1 Liter per minute of Hydrogen only gas.
  2. Make sure you can get positive results from the fuel cell; Hydrogen fuel assist does work and can be used on every vehicle on the road.
  3. Make sure the cell you buy can run in all climates and temperature extremes
  4. There is no complete data about long term usage of HHO generators for vehicles. The overall consensus is that they provide only positive results when used correctly.




  1. You can't install a true DIY Hydrogen fuel cell kit in under an hour -don't believe it
  2. The Hydrogen should be inputted into your vehicles air intakes only, exact location depends on the arrangement of the engine but it's usually after the air filter
  3. Be sure the installation of the gas hoses are no smaller than 3/8 ID and are heat tolerant




  1. Don't EVER ignite the output of an Hydrogen cell, you are asking for a fuel cell explosion

 36.    After installtion of any fuel cell, make sure and do a leak test around all joints to insure there are no escaping gases. This can be done using a soapy mix of dishwashing soap and water in a sprayer.


Richard Harris

Editor, Bil Green

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