Back in May I wrote an article for Green Options called “The Perfect Hydrogen Vacation,” and it was centered around a young Galesburg, IL college student by the name of James Hunt. His claim to fame is development of a hydrogen fuel generation system that would power internal combustion engines with hydrogen. To say the least, I got a few negative comments about Jim’s invention, mainly that it was nothing more than an attempt at a perpetual motion machine.
The Galesburg Register-Mail newspaper, which broke the story first last April, has two more updates, “From Concept to Company” and “Energy Source Answers some Old Problems,” written by John Pulliam. I’m particularly fascinated with this story because Galesburg is my home town.
Well, Jim, shown in the Register-Mail photo at the left with a fire engine he hopes to convert into a hydrogen fueled mobile power unit, has moved out of the lab at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg to his own plant in nearby Monmouth, IL with 15 employees. All that, he says, in a period of 9 months from concept to reality.
The company’s name, by the way is Akvo Energy America, and the shop is full of engines undergoing conversion to his hydrogen fuel system. Part of his plan is to fuel power plants and desalinization facilities with hydrogen. He plans to use the fire engine as an emergency portable desalinization unit, something sorely needed in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina ravaged that city.
His process extracts hydrogen from water via what he calls plasmatic induction, a form of electrolysis, using electricty to zap water in a small reservoir tank which releases hydrogen bubbles. The bubbles, of course, become the fuel, a never-ending source as long as drinking water is in the small reserve tank. It’s a bit more complicated than that, he uses reserve batteries and solar cells along with non-radioactive carbon rods in the system. Hunt claims one fill-up of rods will power a vehicle for a year-and-a-half; the emissions, of course, are water vapor.
Hunt claims to have a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. and what he called “a couple of pending contracts.” Two major universities are testing the process and he said GM was ready to license his system right now.
Besides the fire truck, a 1995 Civic, a 1976 Corvette Stingray, a Hummer and a pickup truck are waiting for conversion to the system. But before they can go on the highway for testing, they must be verified by the Environmental Protection Agency. This process is underway.
Jim hopes to eventually move his plant back to Galesburg and occupy the now empty Maytag manufacturing plant. Looking ahead, he hopes to have more than 1,000 employees for production and distribution. When would this happen? Maybe in 18 months, maybe more.
I interviewed Jim on my own website in April, the Lindberg Report.org, while he was still a student at Carl Sandburg College. Since Planetsave and Green Options are going through changes that right now don’t support audio, you might want to listen to Jim talk about his invention. As soon as we get audio on this site, I’ll have an updtated interview with Jim.
We’ll keep track of this young man and his invention that may just turn the hydrogen fuel world upside down, especially when billions of dollars are being spent trying to bring hydrogen powered vehicles out of showrooms, when Jim’s research cost $22,000.