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Purdue University

Amazing Diesel Test Results Average 15%

Improvement with Hydrogen Boost


          Over the last couple months I have been in contact with a couple students and their professor at Purdue University who wanted to do a senior project testing Hydrogen Boost on a diesel engine with an engine dynamometer.  The test used three types of fuel, petroleum diesel, bio-diesel, and vegetable oil.  I would like to give the students’ and professor’s names but have not asked them for permission so I will hold that in confidence unless they contact me with permission.  I will publish a few pictures in this article however.


          The students were furnished with a Diesel small vehicle Hydrogen Boost system but could not use the engine treatment without permanently altering the engine (the treatment is a permanent engine treatment) so they did not test that part of the system.  The fuel heater was not used either because of concern about the lubrication of the internal parts of the mechanical injection pump.  So the only part of our system that was tested was the hydrogen generator, which produces Brown’s gas.  I asked for not only the final report, which was impressive in itself, but I asked for and received the raw test data so I could analyze it and produce my own report. 


          The results reported here will be on the tests run with petroleum diesel and vegetable oil.  The test results tables for the bio-diesel tests were mislabeled and hence unreliable, but the charts show an even better improvement with Hydrogen Boost than did the petroleum diesel charts and the vegetable oil charts.  To see the raw data on the tests please visit www.hydrogen-boost.com/raw data.html   Following the report of my analysis of the raw data will be excerpts from their report.




          For the petroleum diesel fueled tests I took data from the spreadsheets provided, and divided the horsepower produced at each engine setting with the fuel consumption at that setting.  This gives us an amount of work done per gallon of fuel used, in units of hp/gal/hr or hp x hr/gal.  I then added up all the calculations for each throttle setting and rpm setting of the entire test and compared the final totals to get the following:


          Without Hydrogen boost the total was 254.14 and with Hydrogen Boost the total was288.49 for an increase in work accomplished of 13.52%.


          For the vegetable oil fueled tests the data was in a different format.  There were two sets of data given.  One was torque (lb-ft) for varying SFC (lb/hph) values.  And the other was torque (lb-ft) for each rpm at throttle settings of 100%, 75%, 50%, and 25%.  On each set of data more torque meant better efficiency or performance.  The total of the data point was added and compared with the following results. 


          Torque for varying SFC settings totaled 13,839 without Hydrogen Boost and 16,272 with Hydrogen  Boost for an increase of 18.36%.


          Torque for each rpm at the various throttle settings totaled 4065.5 without Hydrogen Boost and 4579.4 with Hydrogen Boost for an increase of 12.64%.  This does not take into account the savings in fuel.


          Comparing the charts for the vegetable oil tests with and without Hydrogen Boost, you will notice an even better improvement with Hydrogen Boost than the petroleum diesel tests.  Also comparing the charts for the bio-diesel tests with and without Hydrogen Boost, you will notice an even better improvement than with either of the other two fuels.


          Reported results in the Purdue University study included the following:


Fuel Consumption (measured at max torque)


On Road Diesel:         

0.072 gal/hp-hr @ 1100 rpm

On Road Diesel w/Hydrogen:

0.065 gal/hp-hr @ 1100 rpm

Vegetable Oil:         

0.064 gal/hp-hr @ 1100 rpm

Vegetable Oil w/Hydrogen:

0.060 gal/hp-hr @ 1100 rpm


Fuel Efficiency increase/decrease (compared to on road petroleum diesel)

On Road Diesel w/Hydrogen:


Vegetable Oil:


Vegetable Oil w/Hydrogen:









Following is from the Purdue University students’ Report:



Dynamometer tests have been performed on a 4.5L John Deere diesel engine to obtain torque, horsepower, and specific fuel consumption by testing the fuels individually and also using hydrogen assist with each.  The data was compiled into total performance maps.  Fuels tested include on road diesel, bio-diesel (B20) and vegetable oil (canola oil). 




          The objective was to perform dynamometer tests on a 4.5L JD diesel engine to obtain total performance maps from the following data.  The total performance maps provided information on whether the vegetable oil or the hydrogen boost system help in reducing fuel consumption. 

          Overall, six dynamometer tests were run with different fuel combinations in order to determine the performance analysis of the two systems.  Three fuel types were used, including on road diesel, B20 bio-diesel blend, and canola oil.  With each of these three fuels, tests were executed both with and without hydrogen assist.  Each test was compared to the 100% petroleum diesel, which was the baseline control test. In order to maintain consistency and an unbiased evaluation, all tests were performed on the same John Deere engine, using the same dynamometer, under the same procedure. 

          Before any dynamometer tests were run, each fuel type’s energy content was calculated by way of heat of combustion assessments.  An adiabatic bomb calorimeter was used for these processes.  By calculating the energy content (observed in calories per gram of fuel) of each fuel, a theoretical analysis could aid in prediction of each fuel’s relative power output.

          Two systems were supplied for these tests.  One system was a vegetable fuel system contributed by GreaseCar.com.  This system was a complete secondary fuel system designed to be integrated into the existing fuel system.  The principle behind this system was to use waste vegetable oil gathered from places such as restaurant deep fryers.  Even though the kit was designed to use waste vegetable oil, new Crystal Cottonseed/Canola oil blend.  Using new oil ensured consistency during testing. 

The second system was a Hydrogen assist unit contributed by Hydrogen-boost.com.   Through the process of hydrolysis, the system separated water into hydrogen and oxygen.  The separated gases were then directed into the airflow prior to the air cleaner. 




          The use of vegetable oil as a fuel source has been around for over 100 years.  The first documented use was demonstrated by Otto at the 1900 World’s fair, using peanut oil.  Also, Rudolf Diesel’s invention was originally intended to operate on peanut oil, but it was discovered that the diesel engine could run on cheaper petroleum oil. 

The hydrogen/oxygen generator was first developed in 1918 by Charles Frazer.  Hydrogen boost systems help improve combustion characteristics of petroleum based fuel sources.  The gases created act as a catalyst to the fuel, creating better propagation, and more complete combustion.  They also are said to reduce hydrocarbons in the exhaust, reducing emissions.




Problems and Difficulties:

          Early on in the project, problems arose and were overcome.  As part of the original plan, an International Powerstroke 6.0L turbo-diesel engine was to be used.  Shortly after delivery, it was revealed that the dynamometer housed in the ABE building was too small to absorb the amount of power, or handle the operating speeds of the engine.  Once discovered, it was decided to utilize the John Deere engine that was currently set up for dynamometer operation.  This setback actually shortened installation time, as the engine was already attached to the dynamometer.

          Another crucial problem came about when the existing fuel consumption meters malfunctioned.  New meters were purchased, installed and calibrated for the fuel types to be used.

          Upon receiving the vegetable oil fuel system from GreaseCar.com, it was realized that vegetable oil fuel should not pass through the original diesel fuel filter.  To solve this problem, a series of fuel filters was installed in the shape of a parallel electric circuit, along with fuel shutoff valves to ensure proper isolation of the different fuel sources.  This also prevented cross-contamination between fuels, which could have possibly altered the outcome of the tests.


Fran’s Comments:


          The raw data from the report was much more valuable than the brief analysis by the students who published their report.  For example the increase in torque or decrease in fuel used at an arbitrary rpm and throttle setting is quite meaningless.  Their report of fuel consumption at 1100 RPM and maximum torque achieved is one point on a chart of over one hundred points.  If we were to cherry pick one point that highlights the best Hydrogen Boost performance we could show a 61.4% improvement with petroleum diesel and a 57.5% improvement with vegetable oil, by the use of our hydrogen generator alone.  These points are as meaningless as the arbitrary point chosen by the students.  Only the cumulative improvement across the whole range of operating conditions gives us a good picture of the effect of Hydrogen Boost on the diesel combustion.  The average of the three improvements we calculated above is an impressive 15%. 

          Or if we wanted to analyze the affects of Hydrogen Boost at the most frequent engine operating condition likely during our expected operation we should look at the following.  According to our diesel tractor trailer customer who is doing extensive testing with Hydrogen Boost the most frequent operating condition of the engine on the road is at 1300 to 1400 RPM at heavy throttle.  If we take the results reported for 100% throttle at 1300 RPM with petroleum diesel fuel we see a 31.6% increase in work done per gallon of diesel fuel used.  If this result proved to be the same on the big diesel engines in our tractor trailer fleet we would expect over 30% mileage increase with the addition of the Hydrogen Boost hydrogen generator alone.  Though I do not expect this kind of increase with Hydrogen Boost on tractor trailers I am quite confident that there is much more to this technology than I had previously expected. 

          These calculations are real comparisons in that they are not comparing fuel consumption at a single throttle setting (giving different torque in each test) but instead are comparing the amount of work done by the set amount of fuel; which could be assumed to be somewhat equivalent to our normal reporting of miles per gallon.


          For those skeptics that doubt these results I want to assure you that the power to produce the hydrogen came from the alternator of the engine being tested.  I must say that I am very impressed because I have only expected maybe a 5% improvement with the Hydrogen Generator alone.  Just think what the complete Hydrogen Boost system might achieve.


          Also please note that the vegetable oil test proved the ability of vegetable oil to produce more torque at a lower fuel consumption rate than petroleum diesel fuel.  What makes this even more noteworthy is that the energy content by weight of the vegetable oil is actually 11% less than petroleum diesel fuel (see table below).  Note that the vegetable oil was heated to engine coolant temperature before injection.  I am certain that if our fuel heater was used on the petroleum diesel and bio-diesel tests it would have shown even more of an improvement.



On Road Diesel:

10315.84 cal/g


9918.24 cal/g

Vegetable Oil:

9191.37 cal/g


For more information on dynamometer testing with Hydrogen Boost see:

dynamometer test results







Tractor trailer ECM reports











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