Local instructors looking for solutions with hydrogen gas

Local instructors looking for solutions with hydrogen gas
With gas prices hovering around the $4 mark and gas tanks seeming to empty at a much faster rate, a team of instructors at the Tennessee Technology Center in McKenzie has discovered a solution to alleviate the pressure of this enormous economical puzzle. They haven’t figured out a way to decrease the price of oil per barrel, but through extensive research and testing they have discovered a way to improve a vehicle’s gas mileage and the key product in the process is hydrogen gas. “The instructors were on their way to a faculty orientation in March. It was biomedical instructor Donald Gearin, automotive instructor Dan Townsend, electronics instructor Bruce Moore and the industrial maintenance instructor on the Weakley County campus, John Mehan,” John Penn Ridgeway at TTC-McKenzie explained. The group of instructors began bouncing ideas off each other, researching means of finding simple, low cost and practical ways for vehicles to burn hydrogen instead of air in their fuel mixture. They weeded out the facts from the fiction and put their theories into practice by building a test kit. The kit works in the way that hydrogen gas is produced through electrolysis. Water and lye are mixed together in a container with the presence of a current and the hydrogen gas produced is then fed into the fuel system of a vehicle. The combination of hydrogen and gasoline prove to be a much more combustive mixture than air and gasoline and the combination tricks the engine into using less gasoline while still producing the same power. The process is safer than some previously attempted methods because the hydrogen gas is not stored. When the current is shut off, the hydrogen converts back to water and no volatile gas is stored. “They built a test kit, saw the results and built another to use on the school pickup truck,” Ridgeway remarked. “They were able to get a 50 percent improvement on the miles per gallon (mpg). The truck went from getting 20 mpg to averaging 31 to 32 mpg.” The instructors are in the process of getting their kit patented, but in the meantime, TTC students have been building their own kits and Ridgeway related a story of a student who put a kit on his Ford Fiesta and saw an mpg improvement of 37 mpg to 60 mpg. Because of the success the instructors have been experiencing with their project, they began offering classes to teach the general public how to do the conversions. Classes in July, August and September have already reached full capacity, but interested people can still be a part of the October and November classes. “In the first two classes, we had 40 students. The class in Martin this Saturday taught by John Mehan is full. July, August and September are full and October is filling quickly. In addition to teaching these sessions, the instructors teach classes every day and on weekends so they stay busy, but they know the most about the process,” Ridgeway explained. The eight-hour course is taught in two sessions. The first session involves the actual teaching of how to build the unit while the second session is a checkup and evaluation session to make sure hydrogen gas is being produced. “The person must have minimal mechanical abilities and a basic knowledge of an engine with basic ideas of electricity,” Ridgeway said. To be a part of the October and November classes, call TTC-McKenzie at 731-352-7506. Names will be placed on a waiting list and will be called based on the list as “demand has exceeded supply.” Those interested can also go to www.ttcmckenzie.edu to the Hydrogen on Demand link to see pictures of the units and submit questions to the forum.

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