Calorimeter Built by Alan Smith for HHO Test

Here’s an update from Alan Smith of Leap Forward Laboratory on his experimental setup for the HHO experiment we have sponsored here at ECW.

This is the first ‘dry run’ assembly of the water-bath calorimeter I am building – a build sponsored by the members here at E-Cat World forum. The idea is to test the oft-made but essentially unproven claim that catalytic re-combination of HHO (mixed gas) made by the electrolysis of water yields more energy than simply burning as a ‘naked flame’. Ahead of schedule at the moment- this build was not supposed to even begin till April. Plenty of midnight oil applied!

The structure is all 12mm Lexan Polycarbonate for strength. Deliberately non-magnetic – but that is with a future experiment in mind.There are 3 thermometers (2 digital and one precision mercury for cross-checking and old-times sake) and a great deal of plumbing to be installed yet, as well as a brass support platform for the catalyst sample, igniter and HHO jets etc. Flashback protection and blow-out valve are also on the list. All this will be hidden by a Urethane foam insulating jacket when the experiments begin.

The glass bottle inside is the combustion space, and will be open at the bottom to the water that fills the tank. The gas pipes etc will go ‘under and up’ into the airpocket inside the tank.

Next step is to build the electrolysis cell. Wish me luck!

Alan Smith

top view

side view


  • Obvious

    Anyways, nice job on the box, Alan.

  • Alan Smith

    There’s nothing like a little Wiki before lunch. And of course, it is precisely because people claim ‘HHO’ has special properties that I am investigating. If you are hunting a Yeti there is no need to always call it an ‘Presumed anthropoid organism of unknown provenance-. Especially if you are talking to a Tibetan. You are forgiven for making suggestions, they are always welcomed when useful. Thank you for your good wishes.

  • Alan Smith

    Ok. First of all purge yourself of any idea that I expect this or that result in advance of doing these experiment, or that I might ascribe some particular magic to this or that ‘flavour’ of gas in advance. HHO is for the moment a very convenient acronym/ initialisation as far as I am concerned. And more recognisable to many people here (the audience) than the term ‘H2 and O2 in stoichiometric proportions’ – as well as being way quicker to write. If you like that sort of thing it’s fine by me, however. I have said all of this several times already, here and elsewhere -I’m saying it again just because I like you.

    I will conduct some further experiments, send me the gas bottles when you have them to hand. Pressurised gases like hydrogen and acetylene (but not LPG) are increasingly difficult for UK civilians without a storage ticket (fire department inspection) and an established account to get hold of, btw. It’s all part of the war on terrrr, they say. But elsewhere (above) I describe a different approach to perhaps be tried in future..

    The scribd diagram is just that. A diagram. I apologise if it didn’t mention digital thermometry at all. It was more (in my mind) about experimental rationale than equipment. A route map -not an expedition shopping list. Both very important but not always on the same sheet of paper. As for a mercury thermometer as well, why not?. I like three of anything useful. Do you have something against them? What a naughty doctor you must have had!

    Finally, an inverted vessel in a water bath is already a very simple manometer of sorts, and ’tis not beyond the wit of man to put a few graduations on it. I am not expecting any gas to be produced in these experiments that will not be combusted -though there will obviously be thermal expansion of the air already inside. I have a simple means of regulating the water level anyway. The exhaust will be water vapour – fine by me.
    I plan to build and use a water-separation column and a gas drier – difficult to get any reliable flow readings from wet gas – let alone a myriad other objections to it. To this end I have purchased an industrial quantity of suitable dessicating agent. I am not expecting any electrolyte to come along with it the gas, but as potassium hydroxide has a very low vapour pressure at ambient temperature it is not a major concern. As you know, Potassium would clearly show in the flame colour if it were there in any quantity at all. De-gassed (boiled) water should cover the other bases like chlorine etc.
    Sayonara. Alan.

  • Alan Smith

    I really have no idea how Sterling got this figure of 93% – unless there is more data I haven’t seen – or I missed something. Been really busy these last few days.

    As near as I can calculate from the first data published total electrical energy into the electrolyzer was 1.1MJ, and total energy put into the water-bath was 430kJ. So, PIn -Pout = 673kJ… lost.

    Efficiency = 39%.

    Bear in mind that this excludes thermal losses in the electrolyser, the plumbing, and heat lost by convection, radiation and evaporation from the bath. All the usual suspects. But I find it hard to believe that these could be readily calculated or even roughly estimated with the equipment on show. Losses in the electrolyser power supply can be safely ignored, since if correctly wired the output meters measure power supplied to the electrolyser after transformer/rectifier losses, not before.

    • Asterix

      Well, there’s enough unexplained material in Sterling’s set up that makes forming any conclusion difficult. In particular, after the metrology is sorted out, I’d have measured the flow at the output of the electrolysis setup after scrubbing the gas of moisture and impurities (the water in the cell is doped with an ionic material (base or acid) to make it conductive (pure distilled water is practically an insulator) as well as its temperature. That would give a better reading of what’s going into the catalytic cell. Right now, all Sterling’s setup will do is give a very lossy reading of the efficiency of the electrolysis cell (note that he’s not measuring the temperature of the gases, nor of the cell itself and the hoses aren’t insulated either). Any other effects will probably be swamped out by this.

      But I’m an old engineer who did his lab work using hardbound-page-numbered-signed-and witnessed-on-every-page-even-the-mistakes lab notebooks. Thus far, I’ve seen very little of this in today’s adventures in LENR. I still do have a stock of unused lab notebooks, if that would help. Good lab work does not use erasers or edited videos.

    • Obvious

      I am waiting for Stirling’s final version of his report. I got a headache trying to watch the videos and figure out enough values to try and plug them in for a reasonable calculation. The mid experiment changes add a lot of complications also.

  • Sanjeev

    Sterling Allan is reporting an efficiency of 93%. He suspects its LENR because theoretical efficiency is 80%.
    I have no idea about the validity of this claim, perhaps those who are following this closely can comment.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      He initially spoke of “around 100% efficiency, rought estimate, from first 4 hours“. 93% were indicated for the first 63 minutes:

      I had expected about 50%, mainly due to the losses from the electrolysis. 100 (or even 93) % would mean that there is something unusual going on. In any case they should double check their figures and make a calibration run with a resistance heater.

      • Andreas Moraitis

        There is a possible source of error in the measurement method. They used an AC ammeter, because the DC mode didn’t work. If the AC channel operates simply with a rectifier and a capacitor, the output should be divided by 1.414, since the AC ammeter would multiply the data by this value. Then, instead of 93% one would have to read 66%, which appears to be realistic. However, I’m not sure if my assumption is correct.

        • Andreas Moraitis

          Replace “rectifier and a capacitor” by “rectifier without a capacitor”.

          • Andreas Moraitis

            Sorry, that’s probably all wrong. In any case, I would not use an AC ammeter for measuring DC…

            • Sanjeev

              Sounds like a big trouble for Sterling. In AC mode a good meter should block all DC (capacitor coupling). At least he could have calibrated or roughly checked if it measures correct DC. He can do it now also.

              • Obvious

                I just reviewed the amp set up and I’m not convinced that the amp probe is used correctly. The probe was set at AC milliamperes so unless a very special clamp was used it probably is just reading the AC riding the dc current. Fluke shows a DC clamp with a zero adjustment setting that uses the DC volt scale for amp display. This is the type I have used before.


                • Andreas Moraitis

                  If this is true, they can forget all the data. Apparently they could not use their own DC ammeter, since the current exceeded the limit of 10 A. Therefore they borrowed the clamp meter. Maybe they can repeat the experiment with their own equipment, but with reduced voltage, so that the current remains below the limit.

                • Obvious

                  The data can be salvaged to qualitative by testing the amperage properly at the same voltages with the electrolyser up to operating temperature, with the same electrolyte mix as before. It won’t be as rigorous, but at least it will put the numbers in the right ballpark. I looked for power consumption data for the electrolyser they were using and found that about 170 watts was typical at a nominal 12V automotive voltage (so realistically around 13.5 volts). But the response of the electrolyser to higher or lower voltage is a bit of an unknown since it is not a simple resistance circuit.

                • Obvious

                  Further analysis of the data, as posted over on the other site:

                  The killawatt (KW) vs calculated electrolyser watts (EW) comparison is interesting.
                  Although there is a good correlation to KW/3 to calculated EW (an R2 of 0.92) it also shows a nearly constant 205 W (average) consumption of the AC to DC transformer, which is terribly inefficient. It actually used, by your [sic] calculations and measurements, much more power than the electrolyser itself (which was about 137 W average of data from comparable data points). But when the calculated watts from the electrolyser (EW) is subtracted from the KW values, the correlation between the remainder transformer watts (TW) and EW is inverse and very poor (R2 of 0.45). In other words, based on numbers supplied, as electrolyser power was increased by 40 W, the power consumed by the transformer itself decreased by around 10 W (although very non-linearly).

                  I disagree with reducing the KW by a factor of three for visual comparison. This will decrease the slope with increasing values in comparison to the other values, so the points are not correctly comparable. In fact it obscures the inverse relationship of power consumption that is evident from the data.

  • Daniel Maris

    Who could be against testing and investigation? This looks like a serious effort and I am sure that with the advice here of those with scientific understanding of the chemicals involved some worthwhile results will be obtained.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    Here you can find a description of the planned setup:

    I would also like to see a comparison between Brown’s Gas and a stoichiometric mixture of bottled H2 and O2, but that would require expensive equipment and material. However, Alan’s experiment will be able to address enough interesting questions.

    • Asterix

      Why, for heaven’s sake, mercury thermometers? A couple of good calibrated RTDs will provide faster response, better thermal isolation and allow for automatic temperature recording. They may well be cheaper than mercury thermometers as well.

      I’d probably add an expansion membrane or piston, rather than a simple airspace–it’s safer and probably more accurate. If the combustion product is simply water, there’s no reason that the entire chamber can’t be water-filled.

      What’s not clear to me is how the operating temperature of the catalyst will be regulated. An open flame will have a pretty-well predicted temperature, but I suspect that catalytic action will vary all over the place depending on the temperature of the catalyst itself. Perhaps a sensor is also needed there.

      • Alan Smith

        Hi Asterix. If you read the text with the photos you would realise that I am using one mercury thermometer which is a lab-grade precision one, and two digital thermomenters. I have no facility for data-logging but will use continuous unedited video and my lab notebook. Or yours if you send me one. 🙂

        Please explain what a membrane or a piston to seal the combustion chamber adds to the accuracy and safety of this test? Also bear in mind I am doing comparitive and not absolute calorimetry. Like for like…

        It is my opinion that having the combustion chamber ‘freely’ open to the tank at the bottom is much safer in the event of a gas explosion than confining the bang in any way. Worst that will happen is I get wet feet.

        And how do I get the naked flame to light in a combustion space entirely filled with water? Technically the mixed gas will burn, but it would be hard to control when working on a small scale and with low-pressure gases (safety again). Send down a miniature diver with a match? Technically possible – if I had one.

        Sadly the catalyst matrix will not operate if coated with water, either -those pesky molecule things can’t get to the platinum fast enough. This has been shown several times on the HHO forums.

        Finally I see no reason to control the catalyst temperature. Do you want me to go all Rossi and fit a ‘safety heater’? It has been demonstrated many times that the catalyst heats up in direct proportion to the volume of mixed gases that hit it. Since the gas volume will be controlled and measured throughout the whole series of naked flame vs catbustion tests. Any uncombusted gas will visibly alter the water level in the chamber – but this is very very unlikely. The catalyst matrix is a damn fine Hydrogen scavenger.

        And I promise to weigh the catalyst at the start and end of the test series.

  • US_Citizen71

    I believe then intent was closest to number 2. It is hypothesized that a LENR reaction might occur since the catalyst is made from platinum group metals and they have been shown to react with hydrogen to produce anomalous excess heat in LENR experiments. This test was proposed and financed to test that hypothesis.

  • georgehants

    Good luck Alan.