West Tennessee teachers use hydrogen to help power cars - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

West Tennessee teachers use hydrogen to help power cars

The process sounds complicated but its really not. In fact, all it takes is a battery, some water, and lye, which is a substance used to make soap. 

Every time Donald Gearin gets in his car to go somewhere, his mind rests a little easier because he is saving on his fuel bill.

He and his colleague at Tennessee Technology Center in McKenzie developed a process that uses hydrogen to help power cars.

"It mixes with your gasoline and makes it a hotter fire because hydrogen is a full burn," said Gearin.

Gearin said the process is simple.

He mixes water and lye in Mason jars, heats the mixture up, then captures the hydrogen that's released. 

He said the mixture tricks the car's engine into using less gas but producing the same power.

"It increases RPM's, which gives you more horsepower therefore, you are backing off on the gas pedal because of more horsepower," he said.

"You can boil water in a Mason jar so as we're experimenting and trying to get more gas and we do push heat limits, we're not going to melt anything down with a Mason jar," said instructor Bruce Moore.

Gearin said, on average, this mixture saves anywhere from three to ten miles per gallon and also helps clean the air.

"After hydrogen is burned, it turns back to water and cleans your tailpipe and its clean air coming out," Gearin said.

And when it comes to their hope for the future.

"People will start doing each others vehicles and start getting a little of that gain back and taking away some of that pain at the pump," said Moore.

Gearin and Moore are traveling to Washington DC next month to present their process to lawmakers. They are also meeting with BMW in October to explain their invention.  Needless to say, most of their classes in the fall semester are already full.


Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.

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