A couple of months back, I had talked about the Hydrorunner G3 hydrogen boosting unit being sold by Bill Wylie and John Swangler at Check Engine Service Center in Tampa, Florida. A couple of days ago I had a conversation with Mr. Wylie about the Hydrorunner including the upcoming announcement that his company has teamed up with Ronn Motors in Austin, Texas.
According to Wylie, Ronn Motors is producing an exotic sports car called Scorpion, which is “like a Ferrari on steroids” that will include the Hydrorunner, for the purpose of increasing gas mileage and reducing emissions. The Scorpion will have a V6 bi-turbo gas engine.
What makes the Hydrorunner G3 unique among similar hydrogen fuel injection (HFI) units is that the Hydrorunner runs on tap water, uses no catalyst and is optimized with the help of a separate, secondary onboard computer. When I asked Mr. Wylie about the quality of the water needed, he said, “You can use any kind of water, tap water, water out of a creek or out of a garden hose.”
When I mentioned the mineral deposits left by tap water and possible degradation to the electrolysis unit, Wylie replied that the minerals left were negligible and that his company recommended that the hydrogen generator be flushed at the same time as every oil change.
I asked Mr. Wylie why his company doesn’t use a catalyst like other manufacturers of hydrogen boosters and he replied that “When you use a catalyst it affects the internal components of the engine.” He went onto say that the technical wizard behind the invention, John Swangler had found a proprietary method to avoid using a catalyst and this is one reason so many fleet managers were interested in this device right now.
Perhaps the most important part of the Hydrorunner G3 is not the electrolysis unit itself, but rather the secondary onboard computer that optimizes the flow of hydrogen on a per vehicle basis. Without the computer a vehicle can expect to generate 20 – 30 percent better fuel mileage.
With the help of the secondary computer that works in sync with the vehicle’s original computer, a car or truck can attain 84-percent or even higher mileage as I had mentioned in the last blog posting. Check Engine specializes in computer diagnostics and electronics, so coming up with a secondary computer for Hydrorunner was aligned with their technical expertise.
Wylie and Swangler started developing the Hydrorunner a little over a year ago when they opened Check Engine in 2007. Customers kept coming in and asking if there was anything Check Engine could do to help them save on gas. So, Wylie and Swangler started brainstorming a point-of-purchase product to sell to customers to help do just that.
In about a month they had a working prototype of the Hydrorunner and have been perfecting it ever since. The current price of the Hydrorunner G3 is $3,500 for gasoline-powered vehicles, $7,000 for diesel and $10,000 for Class A Tractors.
According to Wylie, “Affordability will come after provability, after we show real world results. Not everybody has $3,500 to $7,000 for the Hydrorunner, but prices will come down with economies of scale.” Mr. Wylie also stated that the Hydrorunner is transferrable between vehicles, so if you get a new car, they will port over the hydrogen generator for a service fee of a couple of hundred dollars.
I asked Mr. Wylie if he had contacted the military about his device since the U. S. government is a huge source for fleet vehicles and the military is constantly testing new alternative fuel vehicles. Mr. Wylie said that Battelle, who works with both the military and Department of Energy is interested in the Hydrorunner primarily because it doesn’t use a catalyst to achieve its results.
On a closing note, at a time when gasoline prices are at a record highs and energy independence is at the top of people’s minds, inventions such as this offer hope to many high-consumption fuel users. And in this regard, Bill Wylie quotes his partner John and says, “We’re not trying to invent the wheel, just make it go a little farther.”