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Directory:2008 Hydrogen Booster Rally

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Larry Jarboe's pickup bed with a Boyce electrolyzer built by James Allen.  April 17, 2008.
Larry Jarboe's pickup bed with a Boyce electrolyzer built by James Allen. April 17, 2008.

The 2008 Hydrogen Booster Rally, organized by Larry Jarboe, County Commissioner in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, ended up drawing three cars that traveled on April 17 from St. Mary’s County to the Florida Keys using hydroxy gas generated by on-board electrolysis units. The trip was around 1200 miles in one direction.

Bob Boyce drove a Toyota Prius with his brand new 100-cell booster in the trunk. He wasn't going to join the race because he was awaiting a variac from Fed Ex, which they ended up delivering a day early, enabling him to go. The modified Prius got 60 mpg, with a peak of 64 mpg. It normally gets 42 - 45 mpg. This is a 30% improvement in mileage, and that was with around 200 pounds of extra weight in the car.

Dustin P. was using his Smack booster (a cross between a parallel and series cell) on his '87 Cutlass Calaix Oldsmobile. He got as high as 24 mpg on the trip. The car normally gets around 18 mpg. This is a 25% improvement in mileage.

Larry Jarboe was driving a '82 diesel VW Rabbit truck with a Boyce parallel 60-cell box in the back, which was replicated by James Allen. The truck got 43 mpg both before and after the installation. But it was carrying more weight during the "after" drive, and it was being driven faster than the 45 mph it is geared for. The truck developed overheating problems and was left in Florida on some property Larry owns there. At that point, the electrolyzer unit was strapped to the back of Dustin's car, adding to its weight and air resistance.

Contents

Videos

  • 2008 Hydrogen Booster Rally - an informative 50-minute video about the rally shortly before the event took place. (Justin.tv; Apr. 18, 2008)
  • Hydroxy Booster Rally Videos - 17-part series of videos by Dustin P. from the informal contest between various systems that use on-board electrolysis to generate hydroxy gas to inject into the air intake systems. (YouTube; Apr. 23, 2008)

Reports

Breaking in the Prius

The following report comes from a phone interview Sterling D. Allan had with Bob Boyce on Apr. 27, 2008.

This trip was the first time that Bob Boyce used this 100-cell unit in a Prius.

He installed the electrolyzer unit in the trunk, and ran the tubes to conduct the hydroxy gas into the air intake of the engine.

He didn't have time to install the electronics to measure the electrical draw of the electrolyzer, but he said that in a bench test before the electrolyzer was installed, it drew 205 Volts at 2.85 amps on the "max" setting. He only ran his prius on the "max" setting during the first 4.5 hours as part of the conditioning.

Often in such modifications to vehicles, the car's ECU will fight against the improvements, increasing the fuel input to compensate for the hydroxy gas input. However, Bob said he took a gamble that the Prius ECU would relearn appropriately, and apparently he was right.

He said when he first fired up the engine with the hydroxy gas flowing, that the car stalled. He had to get the engine up to speed, then turn on the hydroxy gas. He said the performance improved over the first two hours.

Being a hybrid, the prius engine shuts off when no engine load is present. Bob said he manually shut off the electrolyzer as well, during these times.

He drove 51-53 mph on the way down to Florida in order to allow Larry Jarbo to keep up in his truck. But on the return trip, Bob averaged around 65 mph. He said he did not use the cruise control inasmuch as it doesn't get as good of mileage as what a human can get when careful.

Bob topped off the electrolyzer water before he left, then added about 1/2 gallon when he arrived in Miami. He didn't top it off again when he returned home, because he disassembled the unit then.

His IR thermometer measured the electrolysis unit at 96-98 degrees F. most of the time, when Bob took measurements. The hottest it got was 135 degrees F in Miami.

The vehicle functioned properly, with no problems detected.

Bob did have problems with the sycoflex sealant in the electrolysis chamber that some replicators in Australia recommended. Unfortunately, sycoflex does not hold up under acidic or basic environments; and Bob used about a 2.5% solution of NaOH as his electrolyte. Combined with the vibrations and the heat, the electrolysis unit developed some current leakage by the end of the trip, diminishing its efficiency.

Bob said that the "Boyce" unit made by James Allen, which was run in Larry Jarboe's truck was an older design, and had some serious flaws.

Bob also commented on the tarnishing that Dustin saw in his cell plates, as well as the impurities that were in the bottom of the cell by the end of the trip. He said it is a function of the inferior metals of the cell plates. The unit might be cheaper to build, but by the time you take into account the periodic replacements that will have be made, it is better to use a 316L stainless steel material.

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