CHENNAI: The worldwide exploitation of nature for the last few decades has had a great impact o n t h e environment resulting in converting even water into a commodity sold at shops. A ci ty-based aeronaut ical engineer has introduced water as an alternative fuel for bikes. He even rode his motorcycle fuelled by water for a distance of 110 km and tested his ride even on steep hilly roads. Meet R Yuvaraj, a 33-year old BTech graduate who has been nurturing his passion for automobiles and electronics since his school days. “With my natural interest to know what makes a moped run, in my school days, I would dismantle the carburettor of a TVS 50 and reassemble it at my home.
This made me take up electronics and automobiles as my study and profession,” says the Coimbatore local. Sharing how the alternative fuel is obtained from water, the aeronautical engineer says, “After referring to books and watching YouTube channels, I came across the fact that splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen through electricity creates a gas. I wondered if this gas could be used as fuel for motorbikes and cars, and I experimented using it on my own motorbike Pulsar 150. The 330 ml of water, which produced the alternative fuel called HHO (Hydrogen Hydrogen Oxygen) or Brown’s gas, gave a mileage of 110 km. I also tested the efficiency of the fuel by riding the bike on the hilly roads of Anaikatti. It was as normal as riding the bike on petrol,” he says.
The engineer says that the gas collected in the water tank gets piped to the motorbike’s engine as the fuel. “Hydrogen is the cleanest of all the chemical elements. Petrol and diesel in their respective combustions release nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and methane, which are harmful to the ozone layer. Whereas when hydrogen reacts with oxygen, it releases only water vapour as exhaust, which doesn’t pollute the atmosphere. At the same time, like petrol or diesel, hydrogen cannot fulfil the on-demand requirement of the vehicle’s engine,” he explains. To solve this issue, there is another technology. He set up a refrigerator-like unit at his home, in which, hydrogen is produced and stored in a tank. Then the hydrogen collected is piped to the fuel tank, as done in an auto LPG bunk.
“It acts as the alternative fuel to run the vehicle. Setting up such a ‘hydrogen bunk’ at your home will cost around `1 lakh. Whereas, assembling a hydrogen kit for a motorbike and car will come around `7,000 and `15,000 respectively,” he adds. Yuvaraj says he tested the alternative fuel technology only out of his passion for automobiles, and that it is hardly possible to implement it due to numerous laws and procedures. “Before considering people’s interest, I need to get necessary approval from the government for driving hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. I want to promote and patent this, but obtaining permits from the government comes with a lot of procedures,” he says. Demonstrating the function of his motorbike’s engine on Hydrogen, Yuvaraj says, “Between the engine and the hydrogen kit, I have set up a ‘backfire arrester’, which blocks the flame returning from the engine to the kit. Since the backfire arrester has the water content, the flame returning from the engine is prevented from reaching the hydrogen kit.” The alternative fuel tank is nothing but a water tank with a capacity of storing 600 ml of water. “All you have to do is just refill the tank with water every 200 to 300 km.
The stainless steel concentric rings, which are set up in the tank, enable the production of HHO by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrical energy. If you fill the tank with 600 ml of water, your motorbike will get a mileage of 300 km,” he says. The engineer, who runs his aerospace company Avatar Aviations in the city, is working on orders and projects from the aeronautical departments of engineering colleges like constructing jet engines and dismantling them.