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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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The HHO scam FAQ

June 2008

Lots of people have emailed me with questions so I've created this FAQ page to answer the most frequently asked ones.

Why are their ads for these scams on your pages?

Yes, it's kind of ironic isn't it? I don't get to choose which advertisements Google places on these pages but I do get a kick out of knowing that the very people who seek to scam you are helping pay for the pages that expose their fraud.

How is HHO different to hydrogen and oxygen

It's not. HHO is an "invention" of the scammers. When water is broken down into its component parts through electrolysis, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that form on the electrodes join to form H2 and O2 molecules in a matter of microseconds.

What comes out of these cells is simply a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen with no magical properties. Despite the claims of Brown, Klein and numerous others, this is not HHO, oxyhydrogen or anything other than a combustible mixture of hydrogen and oxygen molecules.

But I've got one of these units and I swear it works

Now this may surprise you but I believe some of the folk who make this claim - however I urge them be careful. Some of the kits on the market include a device for remapping the oxygen sensor that connects to the car's engine-computer. By adjusting this feedback, the car's computer can be fooled into reducing the amount of fuel that is fed to it. This causes the engine to run excessively lean and that does several very bad things. Firstly, it significantly increases the amount of NOx pollutants that are emitted from your car's exhaust. Secondly, over time it can cause a significant amount of damage to your car's engine by burning the exhaust valves and damaging the piston crowns through pre-ignition.

And guess what -- if you remove the electrolysis cell without adjusting the O2 sensor, your car will use even *less* fuel. The only gains you're seeing are from running the engine leaner -- the hydrogen generator has absolutely no effect except to place an extra load on your engine.

This technology has been suppressed by the oil companies hasn't it?

No it hasn't. If the goal of the oil companies was to engage in a conspiracy with automakers so as to ensure the ongoing sales of gasoline, why have Honda and BMW both started selling vehicles that run on pure hydrogen -- no gasoline at all? It just doesn't make any sense and blows that conspiracy theory right out of the water. The real reason that auto-makers don't fit this technology to their vehicles is because it simply does not work.

And even if we were prepared to believe that the oil companies were actively working to suppress this technology, what about the Chinese?

They're one of the largest consumers of oil on the planet right now so I'm pretty sure that if this "HHO" technology worked, they would be churning out these systems and fitting them to all of their engine-powered cars, trucks, generators and machinery so as to reduce their oil bill.

China has proven that it has the necessary smart people and certainly has the manufacturing capacity to do this -- but it hasn't. Why not? Because it simply doesn't work!

Is it true that these kits can't hurt my car's engine

No it's not true - in fact they can cause very significant and costly damage if they cause your engine to run too lean.

When an engine is tricked into running lean (by adjusting the O2 sensor's output) then you run a very real risk of burning your exhaust valves or suffering from pre-ignition (detonation). This may not happen immediately but before too long you'll find your engine loses compression on one or more cylinders and will need a complete overhaul.

But hydrogen works, Honda have just launched a hydrogen-powered car

Yes, hydrogen powered cars are real and they do work - but these cars are nothing like the HHO "jam-jar" scams being promoted on the Net.

The hydrogen-powered cars sold by Honda and BMW do not rely on a battery to split water and they don't burn that hydrogen in a very inefficient internal combustion engine.

They are filled with pure hydrogen and that gas is then used in a true "fuel cell" to generate electricity that drives electric motors to turn the wheels.

None of these real hydrogen cars do anything to violate the laws of physics and they're all based on solid, well tested scientific principles. The same can not be said for the HHO scams.

Are you employed by the oil industry?

I wish! No, I receive absolutely no payment or other favors from the oil companies and have no connection with them whatsoever.

Just like everyone else, I buy my gas at the pump and pay whatever is the going rate and I grumble about it too. Believe me, if there was any way to use less gas, I'd be using it.

Why are you picking on this scam, what about the others?

Don't worry, I've written about all the common fuel-saver scams. Here is information about other fuel-saver scams.

How does that Japanese water-powered car work?

A lot of scammers are currently posting video of a Reuters report that shows a small car which runs on water. They claim that this validates their HHO schemes in some way. For the truth about this video and just how irrelevant it is, check out my response to the Japanese water car video.

But the HHO sites offer a money-back guarantee so how can it be a scam?

The people behind these scams know full-well that the vast majority of people won't ask for their money back, even when it doesn't work.

Individually, the amounts involved are fairly small so many people simply write that amount off to their own foolishness in believing the claims made for this stuff.

And even if they do offer your money back, that does not stop these HHO frauds from being a scam. If the product does not do what is claimed (offer a 40% improvement in fuel economy or even double your mileage") then it is a scam.

And ponder this for a moment...

If Ozzie Freedom and his peers receive a million dollars from gullible victims, they can put that money in a high-interest investment that will pay them over 10% annually - that's $100K for every million invested. Even if they have to pay back all of the customers, there are still new "victims" paying up so the investment remains topped-up. So these scammers can earn a small fortune, simply because they've been able to borrow someone else's money for a short time and simply cycle it through their investments.

Remember that there are huge numbers of people buying into these scams so the total sums involved are massive. Even a 10% return on those amounts constitutes a very large earning potential.

And if all these people are really seeing such huge savings on their gasoline bills, why hasn't demand for transport fuel dropped? - something that would also cause prices to drop (thanks to the law of supply and demand).

So why even lend your hard-earned cash to these scammers?

Who are you and why are you publishing this stuff?

I'm a guy who's been working in the sci-tech field for some 40 years now.

My background is in electronics and computers but more recently (since 1999) I have been heavily involved in jet engine design - so I know a thing or two about combustion.

While those who thought up these scams were tinkering around with jamjars filled with water and baking-soda, I was working on a new jet engine design that is about to be university-tested prior to the start of licensed manufacturing.

I've also been seen on TV in programs such as BBC News, 60 Minutes, Scrapheap Challenge, Let's get Inventin, and behind the scenes as a consultant on Junkyard Megawars.

Another of my "combustion-related" constructions was the world's largest pulsejet-powered dragster

Take a look at my Interesting Projects site for more examples of what I've been doing with combustion. And yes, I'm the guy who became world-famous for building his own cruise missile back in 2003.

So why am I doing this?

Because I know enough to realize that this "run your car on water" concept is a scam and I don't like seeing huge numbers of people being sold a lie. There's a very true saying that goes something along the line of "all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

I certainly didn't feel comfortable sitting around and doing nothing while people were being ripped off by these scammers - hence these pages and my YouTube video.

Why isn't my question on this page?

Because you haven't asked it. If you've got a question you'd like answered on this FAQ, contact me and I'll answer it personally. If the question is asked by multiple readers, I'll add it to the FAQ.

Quick navigation of this feature:

Please spread the word to save people from wasting their cash and help put these scammers out of business. Link to the first page of this feature and tell your friends about it.


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