"Hydrogen Powered Creations"

Electrolyte's

As Most Of You Are Aware, You Can Build The Best Hydrogen Generator Out There,  But Without Adding An Electrolyte Or Catalyst You Generator Will Not Work.

The Most Commonly Used Catalysts Are:

Baking Soda
 (This was Recommended In The Book That Showed You How To Make Hydrogen Generators Out Of Mason Jars) 

Five Percent Vinegar

Sodium Sulphate

Potassium Hydroxide

 

The results may surprise you, but the following are the opinions of professionals:

Baking Soda As A Hydrogen Electrolyte

Empirical tests have shown that using baking soda as an electrolyte gives a false sense of security. Baking soda will not only remain baking soda in use, but can also cause permanent damage to the electrode surfaces during its transition into sodium hydroxide. Note:  Baking Soda is very dangerous to use.

Empirical tests have shown that after the gas was analyzed, there is hydrogen, some CO2, also enough CO to be lethal. There is NO oxygen produced until ALL of the carbon has been reacted from solution. It is not suitable to state that the gas produced is to be burned and not inhaled. Many experimenters who use baking soda are burning the gas when they are doing their experiments. Most are venting the gas into the air in the room they are in, and even those that DO burn the gas in an engine often-times have leaks in their systems.

Baking soda will permanently damage the surface structure of stainless steel. That is why it has to be sanded or ground off, and then the cleansing and conditioning started all over again.

Baking soda does not lose potency; it decomposes as a part of the reaction during electrolysis. Some carbon binds with the electrodes and causes damage to the surface structure, the rest of the carbon binds with oxygen to produce other products of reaction during electrolysis.

While it is still baking soda, it does not produce Hydrogen gas, it produces a blend of Hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO), and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). As this occurs, the baking soda is transformed into NaOH, Sodium Hydroxide. This is why it keeps on working, but as the carbon is consumed, the way the gas burns (it changes from bingo fuel gas into hydroxy gas), and the way it effects hydrocarbon fuel combustion during boosting. A reliable and repeatable performance increase is not going to happen during the decomposition phase of baking soda. It will eventually stabilize, but not until all of the carbon is consumed.

If you are trying to avoid using caustic substances by substitution of baking soda, you need to know that baking soda decomposes into NaOH during electrolysis and you still end up with the caustic.

The worst part of this is that end users are lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that it remains safe baking soda. So they are unlikely to take proper safety precautions. Additionally, if you have expensive Stainless Steel electrodes, they will be damaged and the carbon will also poison the catalytic capabilities of stainless steel.

To recover them would require a real good sanding to get rid of the surface damage and start over.

DO NOT USE BAKING SODA.

Further you would have to add 84 grams of baking soda (NaHCO3) to obtain the same amount of sodium as you would for 40 grams of Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH).

This is relevant because it is the Sodium that is driving the electrolysis process.

On electrolysis of NaHCO3, the Na+ ion will rush to the cathode and you will get:-

2Na+ + 2e- + 2H2O -----> 2NaOH + H2 and HCO3- + H2O -------> H2CO3 + OH-

AlsoH2CO3 --------> H2O + CO2

AlsoCO2 + 2H+ + 2e- -----> CO + H2O

AlsoCO + 2H+ + 2e- ------> C + H2O

Conclusion: On adding NaHCO3 a whole range of chemical processes can take place but due to the nature of alkali metals, the one sure conclusion is that Hydroxides will be formed. DO NOT BE DECIVED into thinking that if you make a completely safe electrolytic solution using NaHCO3 or other carbonates that you end up with a completely safe electrolytic solution after use.

If you take pH readings of the electrolytic solution over time, you can access the progress of the carbonate solution (pH will increase with increasing Alkalinity), but our advice is play it safe.

Baking soda is not safe and does give off carbon monoxide, there is hydrogen, and sure, there is some CO2, but there is also enough CO to be lethal.

There is NO oxygen produced until ALL of the carbon has been reacted from solution. The argument that the gas is to be burned and not inhaled does not mean it is safe. How many people who use baking soda are actually burning the gas when they are doing their experiments?

Most are venting the gas into the air in the room they are in, and even those that DO burn the gas in an engine often have leaks in their systems.

If calculations are correct, then a concentration of just 0.0667 % in the atmosphere you are breathing is enough to bind with 50% of your Hemoglobin. This is a life threatening situation!

For non chemistry people who wish to get a grasp of the toxicity of Carbon Monoxide, a good rule of thumb is, when you think Carbon Monoxide, think Cyanide!

A glass jar containing wires wrapped around pieces of plastic, and filled with baking soda is NOT a suitable Hydrogen Electrolyzer.

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Vinegar As A Hydrogen Electrolyte


You may reason that Vinegar (a 5 to 10% solution of acetic acid) is a suitable electrolyte for DC Electrolysis to make your Hydrogen. Why not? It?s cheap, sometimes cheaper then bottled water, and it is so safe you can drink it. WRONG.

It's not a good electrolyte, and you can NOT count on its stability. One of the reasons is that does not have a high boiling point,

Water boils at 100 degrees C, while Acetic Acid boils at 118 degrees C and because many Hydrogen Generators are run on elevated temperatures, some above 90 degrees C, you can lose a lot of water vapor (steam) AND also a lot of acetic acid vapors will escape such Cells. Thus you are losing your electrolyte if you use Vinegar.

The Kolbe electrolysis is an organic reaction named after Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe. The Kolbe reaction is formally a decarboxylative dimerisation and proceeds by a radical reaction mechanism. As an example, electrolysis of acetic acid yields ethane and carbon dioxide:CH3COOH ---> CH3-CH3 + CO2 (Shorter form without in between steps)Acetic Acid gives Ethane gas + Carbon dioxide gas.

So you get an un-useful gas CO2 (it extinguishes flames, does not promote explosions) and Ethane gas which is a flammable gas that will behave as a fuel. Your electrolyte is also, by the electrolysis process, itself rusting and falling apart and vanishes through your engine. You will notice as it processes it goes from a clear fluid to a light then dark brown fluid format, this is the acidity starting its process almost immediately. You can also see the process evolve upon your cell plates.  Within a very short time you will be left with plain water, and without any electrolyte. Resistance goes up, amps go down, gas production goes down, and your possible gain in MPG is pretty quickly back to zero.

Because of its breakdown, acidity, low boiling point, and almost uncontrollable stability, Vinegar is not condoned by professionals as an electrolyte.

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Sodium Sulphate As A Hydrogen Electrolyte

The electrolysis of an aqueous solution of sodium sulphate using inert electrodes produces hydrogen at the cathode and oxygen at the anode and a neutral solution of sodium sulphate remains unaltered by the electrolysis.

Cathode Reaction : 4 H2O + 4 e(-) ==> 2 H2 + 4 OH(-)Anode Reaction : 2 H2O ==> O2 + 4 H(+) + 4 e(-)The overall cell reaction is : 6 H2O ==> 2 H2 + O2 +4 H(+) +4 OH(-)

BUT Sodium Sulphate will crystallize in many situations, depending on weather, voltage, amperage, etc, etc,  is very weak compared to other Sodium and Potassium Products, so that you will need much more electrolyte and WORSE: it quickly turns your water into a brown/red substance. Though it does not actually damage your electrodes, cosmetically it looks bad.

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Potassium Hydroxide As A Hydrogen Electrolyte

Potassium Hydroxide has a very high boiling point thus making it very stable as an electrolyte. In its flake state, it can cause rashes, burning to the skin and can even be lethal if swallowed, but diluted to the form that you are using it will be fine. It is  caustic in its raw form, but just like any object or substance that can be potentially dangerous in the wrong hands (e.g. scissors, medicine etc. etc.) you simply need to be responsible. Potassium Hydroxide when used as an electrolyte is clean and will never damage your electrodes. However, following neutralization with a pH of 5.5 to 8.5 the substance is not harmful. (We run pH in the 6.2 Range.)

We have reported cases of Potassium Hydroxide solution being used to peel peaches commercially. The peaches are placed in a 7% solution for 3 minutes. The peaches are then washed, cut in half and frozen.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Potassium Hydroxide on its list of substances affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe for direct addition to food. It is also approved as an indirect food additive for use as de-foaming agents in the manufacture of paper and paperboard used as food packaging. Potassium Hydroxide is also used in the formation of bath products, cleansing products, fragrances, foot powder, hair dyes and colors, makeup, nail products, personal cleanliness products, shampoos, shaving products, depilatories, skin care products, and suntan products.

As  mentioned above, in a diluted format with low pH and handled properly Potassium Hydroxide is a very good electrolyte, and will not harm your electrodes.

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Conclusion

If handled properly in its raw form, Potassium Hydroxide in it's diluted format is the best choice. With low pH readings it is not caustic, nor will it harm electrodes, and is the most stable and controllable of the four electrolytes. Sodium Sulphate, because it has a lot of the characteristics of Potassium Hydroxide is a second choice, but you have to use a lot more volume to be as effective as Potassium Hydroxide, which causes crystallization issues, and cosmetically, although harmless unlike vinegar, it does have  a red/brown appearance. Vinegar comes in a very distant third, because of its breakdown, and instability due to a low boiling point, and its ability to rust and disintegrate and corrode the electrodes. We would not even use Vinegar as a Electrolyte, and as for Baking Soda, it is not even a safe option.    

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