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What is the basic design of a hydrogen generator?

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The most basic design for a hydrogen generator features a water chamber, two electrodes, a power source, and an outlet hose or some other method to remove generated gas from the chamber. When electrical current flows through the gap between the two electrodes, the electricity energizes water molecules, causing their hydrogen and oxygen atoms to separate.

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Despite the name, hydrogen generators do not only generate hydrogen gas; they also produce oxygen gas. For every water molecule broken apart through electrolysis, two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom are released as gases. This mixture, known as HHO gas, is highly flammable, and it can be used as fuel in engines designed to burn the gas.

Manufactured hydrogen generators that produce HHO gas are often sold by companies that claim the devices can improve fuel economy in traditional internal combustion gasoline engines. These companies claim that the flammable gas reduces gasoline consumption when it is introduced into the engine's combustion chamber, but there is little verifiable evidence suggesting that these generators improve fuel economy at all as of 2015.

Hydrogen generators not only have little impact on fuel economy, but the devices actually increase fuel costs due to the energy used in breaking water molecules into their oxygen and hydrogen components. The fact that producing hydrogen gas through electrolysis consumes more energy than it produces remains a major impediment to implementing hydrogen as a practical fuel.

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