Monday, November 16, 2009

Tinkering Around in the Garage

Picture Credit: The Baltimore Sun
Great innovations have sometimes come from tinkering around in low tech garages by average Joes instead of high tech research laboratories. According to this story by Larry Carson in The Sun, that may have occurred in the county’s vehicle maintenance shop in Cooksville.

Carl Fugate, Nelson Frazier, Chuck Vollmerhausen and Ricky Fleming have come up with a device they call an HHO generator that extracts “hydrogen and oxygen from water and burning the gas in your vehicle engine to boost gas mileage.”

It apparently reduces emissions.

The experts have their doubts though.

“In general, these things are bogus," Jaal Ghandhi, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin Energy Research Center told The Baltimore Sun. Mechanical engineering professor Christopher M. White of the University of New Hampshire also believes their results are not possible."In the laws of thermodynamics, you always get out less energy than you put in," he said. The device could reduce emissions, but it won't boost gas mileage, he said, because the energy required to produce the electricity negates the savings.”

Still, as is typical with any garage tinkerers, these guys have actually installed their contraption on their own vehicles.

"We were naysayers in the beginning also," Fugate said, adding that he gets 8.1 mpg on his big rig, compared to 5.8 mpg before.”

To his credit, Ken Ulman is willing to give these boys a shot at proving it can work on a couple of county vehicles.

"If it cuts fuel use and burns cleaner, Ulman said he's for it. "If it does, I'll put it on every vehicle we can," he said."


Pathseekerken said...

It reduces "admissions"? Seriously? {facepalm}

Freemarket said...

I am extremely skeptical only because if it were that cheap and easy with plans to build it available on the internet, everyone would already be doing it. If they modified the design to make it work, I hope they patented it.

wordbones said...


Thank's. My bad.


Bob O said...

I have to agree with Freemarket.

A fun science fair project, but where's the cost/benefit study?

Also, I'd wonder about reliability.

Once I found a handwritten magic spell in my freezer. My daughter had written it. When I asked her about it, she said she thought she'd give it a try to see if it worked. I said, "Don't you think if something this simple worked, everyone would be trying to do magic?" She looked very thoughtful.

The first step in any engineering or science project is reviewing the literature and previous research.

Points for giving it a go, though.

Bob O said...

Oh, apropos to technology, new Droid review: