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Make Your Own Hydrogen Fuel
Laurence Spicer, a farmer, carpenter and inventor in Lineville, Iowa, has worked with hydrogen fuel for the past 15 years. Using the output of his Jacobs windmill, he produces hydrogen for odd jobs around his farm at virtually no cost. His self-designed system plugs away 24 hours a day, turning ordinary water into gaseous hydrogen fuel. With only slight modifications, he's burned it in his truck, stove, propane refrigerator, acetylene cutting torch and other farm machines and appliances.
When Spicer was first featured in FARM SHOW 2 1/2 years ago (Vol. 5, No. 4), he offered plans for his home-built electrolyzer, which he had developed after years of experimentation. For the past year, due to increased demand, he has been producing production model electrolyzers that'll let anyone make their own hydrogen fuel right on the farm.
Spicer's basic one-cell model is somewhat larger than a car battery. Like a battery, the "electrolyzer" has a series of connected metal plates. The plates are flooded with water and then charged with an electrical current. Jumping between plates, the electricity splits water molecules into its two elements hydrogen and oxygen. Spicer uses small windmill generators to power his electrolyzers, and says that enough electricity can be obtained from a small 6-V windcharger to power the one cell electrolyzer. That small a wind charger could be made out of a used generator that can be bought for $30 to $35, according to Spicer.
"The one-cell model is ideal for anyone who wants to experiment with hydrogen as a fuel. I use most of my gas in the shop for welding and cutting tools. Whenever I produce more than I need, I put it in my propane tank because hydrogen mixes well with LP gas for use in the house," says Spicer.
Spicer runs his electrolyzer 24 hours a day. The hydrogen gas comes out of the unit and is channeled into a 30-gal. barrel filled with water. As the gas enters the barrel, it displaces water into a second barrel mounted above the first barrel. In two days he says his one cell model will produce enough hydrogen gas to displace all the water in the lower barrel into the upper barrel.
"Hydrogen gas can be used for almost any fuel-powered machine or appliance. But the problem in some applications can be handling it. It burns great in cars and trucks, for example, but there's no practical safe way to carry substantial amounts of it around. Hydrogen is extremely explosive in its gaseous form," says Spicer.
The one-cell electrolyzer sells for $150 with everything needed to make hydrogen except the electricity (you can use AC power but the gas produced would be expensive). Spicer also makes a larger 4-cell unit that'll produce 3 cu. ft. of gas per hour, compared to the one-cell unit's out-put of 3/4 cu. ft. per hour. These two basic units are ganged together to make a large unit that needs a 2 KW generator and produces 20 cu. ft. of power per hour and sells for $2,750. A 1 KW unit matches up well with a 30-V Jacobs generator, producing 10 cu. ft. per hour. It sells for $1,550.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, L. E. Spicer, Rt. 2, Box 262, Lineville, Iowa 50147 (ph 515 876-5665).


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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #1