Hydrogen on demand technology is a controversial subject that I’ve talked about many times over the past as an emerging market of the future. When I went to the Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday during Press Days I was intent on getting my hands on the Honda FC Sport concept, the VW Passat Lingyu FCV and the Kia Borrego FCEV that I had researched and talked about on previous days. I learned a smidgeon more about these vehicles and will update my pages in the days to come.
But, the biggest surprise to me at the auto show was not that a major car show would host the world’s first hydrogen on demand (HOD) booth (I knew this beforehand), but that this booth would be huge. Derek Zupancic, CEO for HydroLectricPower LLC had space for four vehicles in the Kentia Hall Automotive Aftermarket section of the L. A. Convention Center.
A Toyota Sequoia, Toyota TRD truck, Camry Hybrid and GMC truck were all equipped with a hydrogen on demand unit approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for reducing tailpipe emissions. According to Zupancic, the hydrogen fuel injection system also increases gas mileage significantly (up to 50-percent), though specific percentages are not guaranteed due to driving conditions, make and model of vehicle and driver behavior.
The first time I met Derek Zupancic was over this past summer at the tail end of the 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour when he was being hassled by the organizers about letting his “partially hydrogen powered” vehicle into the procession of totally hydrogen powered vehicles. At that time he told me he was not a fan of HHO gas.
You see his hydrogen generator does electrolyze water and use KOH as a catalyst like many HHO generators, but unlike those generators the HydroLectricPower HOD separates the hydrogen and oxygen right from the get-go and then pumps each of these gases separately into the vehicle’s intake system (not combined like HHO).
According to Zupancic, the oxygen provides a bit of a power boost over hydrogen alone being injected plus the oxygen does not create NOX emissions as it does not bond with the nitrogen from the ambient outside air. Zupancic thinks he has built a better mousetrap than some of the builders of HHO generators. But, it will be up for the public to decide this one.
One of the reasons I wanted to talk about this story is because you won’t find the mainstream automotive media covering it. Sure there were a few passively interested journalists wandering around the HOD booth not knowing what questions to ask. But, on a whole this section of the L. A. Auto Show won’t get much coverage. And, there needs to be at least some coverage on this important automotive first.