Chemists have known for a long time that hydrogen can be created by combining a drain cleaner such as Drano with aluminum and water. This is where I insert the “don’t try this at home” disclaimer.
There are many videos floating around the Internet such as on YouTube or Google Video that show people at home combining these elements and filling balloons with hot hydrogen gas. But, can drain cleaner and water actually be used to power future vehicles? The simple answer is yes.
Over the years, many garage inventors have been using water, aluminum and sodium hydroxide or lye to create hydrogen and feed this into the engine’s intake and supplement the fuel mileage on the car. There have also been more commercial ventures that have used some combination of sodium hydroxide, sodium borohydride, aluminum or magnesium and water to also generate hydrogen-on-demand to propel vehicles. The byproducts are environmentally inert and reusable.
Besides the few companies that are currently developing this technology for use on automobiles, there has been a spike in interest in using this technology on a smaller scale for portable battery technology. Companies such as Hitachi Maxell, Ltd., Millennium Cell and NTT DoCoMo, Inc. are using the technology to power a wide range of smaller devices.
As this technology is perfected, then the plans are to scale up these systems for use in the transportation industry as well. In fact, Millennium Cell has already done this by using it’s hydrogen-on-demand system on the Duffy ferry boat in Newport Beach, California.
So, Drano-powered cars may not be as far fetched as it seems. And, the kicker is that this technology will also keep the pipes and the environment very clean.