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Automotive Ecology wins award with bogus technology

December last year I wrote a blog on kloptdatwel.nl on so called HHO-generators. These generators are meant to be built into your car and will produce a hydrogen-oxygen mixture via electrolysis. This explosive mixture (in Dutch we call it ‘knalgas‘) is used to enrich the diesel or gas your car uses. From the generator it is added to the air intake of the motor. The sellers of this technology promise up to 30% savings on fuel consumption. But unfortunately it’s just another scam.

The SaveFuel system of Oil Drum Ltd. installed on a truck

On the website www.eco-scams.com I had stumbled upon the story about UK company Oil Drum Ltd. (4/4/2015: link is dead, archived version), which had won an award: ‘The Kent innovation Challenge 2008‘. The company was then followed by BBC documentary makers for a while.

The documentary reaches its apotheosis when a (blind) test is performed at an official testing facility. The results clearly showed that the system doesn’t work. The documentary crew would not have been surprised however, if they had done some research on the web. These HHO-generators have been around for a long time and have also been debunked many times.

The Aardvark blog explains quite well, why it doesn’t work. Adding hydrogen can improve engine efficiency, but it will take more energy to produce enough of the hydrogen-oxygen, than you will gain by the better performance of the motor. The test by the BCC showed that you will lose about 4% when you use these kind of systems. I know of other tests which confirm this. Oil Drum went bust soon after the documentary was broadcasted, duping companies who had bought licences for the UK and also some countries of mainland Europe.

From the documentary I picked up that Belgian company Automotive Ecology bought a license from Oil Drum for selling the SaveFuel system in the Benelux. And to my surprise I found out that this company was still trying to sell the product in the Netherlands. A transporting firm, Brink Transport in Hardenberg, did a test in collaboration with Automotive Ecology in 2010. The test results can be found online (in Dutch only). For me it was a confirmation of how people can fool themselves in thinking that it works anyway. It’s is difficult to find this 4% decrease in efficiency under uncontrolled circumstances.
The blog I wrote was not accusing in any way in the direction of Automotive Ecology. Mainly because I thought at that time they honestly believe in the workings of the SaveFuel system and that they were probably just victims of Oil Drum Ltd. Although I knew of one garage owner who is quite angry with them. That’s because they are not paying back the money for two systems he installed for two customers who were dissatisfied with the results.
Before publishing my blog I’d send Automotive Ecology an email with some questions (amongst others to shed some light on their relation to Oil Drum), but I didn’t receive an answer. Only some days after the blog was online I got a reaction: they wanted the blog removed immediately because all of it was untrue …

Of course I asked them kindly which parts were wrong and offered to add their views on things. But they just kept insisting on removal without ever indicating which specific things were wrong in their opinion. In the end they threatened with legal action and even had a lawyer (a business club friend, it seems) send a scary e-mail. But after a while they stopped bugging me and the website administrator. Jon Starbuck of eco-scams also picked up the story at this moment.

A couple of months later I found out that Automotive Ecology had won an award in a business competition organized by Belgian magazine Knack. As most promising starting company of the year!

Automotive Ecology is winner of the ‘Trends Gazellen – Starter of the year” 2012 Award for the province Flemish-Brabant

It started to look like a repetition of the Oil Drum story more and more. I contacted the journalist who wrote the article. I asked him if the jury had known the relation to the Oil Drum story and whether they had actually looked into the technology itself. This journalist turned out to have been a member of the jury himself and informed me that they had only looked at financial performances of the candidate companies.

Financials of Automotive Ecology. Healthy?

Although I’m not a financial expert I could see that Automotive Ecology looks like a company which cannot survive for long without attracting outside capital. Winning a prize is helpful when you are looking for investors! Probably my blog was quite annoying to them because it might be found by the jury before their decision.
I didn’t hear back from the journalist/jury member, although he told me that he would look into this new information. There is not much news on the Automotive Ecology website either since the announcement of the award, so I wonder whether they managed to find investors.

Jon Starbuck is probably right in stating:

I really feel for  Automotive Ecology, they were scammed by Oil Drum back in about 2008, they probably invested their life savings into this project, they are in so deep that they can’t back out. But the bottom line is that the “technology” cannot and does not work, all the claims on their website are complete nonsense and the more they try to sell the product the more guilty they become of not just being foolish but of being fraudulent too.

The BBC documentary is not longer available online at the BBC website, but can be viewed on my blog, (it is hosted on eco-scams.com).

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2 thoughts to “Automotive Ecology wins award with bogus technology”

  1. tja …. zoals veel van die dingen geleverd worden kunnen ze inderdaad niet werken.
    wat zo’n “electroliser” in principe is, is een waterverwarmer met als bijproduct waterstof en zuurstof.
    de rede dat de scam versies niet werken is simpel … te goedkoop opgebouwd.
    ik zal een voorbeeldje geven waardoor het niet werkt, en waarom het WEL werken kan.

    een scam versie is meestal een “waterkoker” die zo’n 30 amp door water heen ramt via slechts een + en een – plaat (soms slechts een paar draden) in een oplossing van KOH.
    bij 24 volt en 30 amp is het rendement amper 10% (resultaat van Faraday stel ik hiet even op 100%)

    nu de niet scam versie:
    een 20 platen reactor met platen in H2SO4 en een nat oppervlak van 225 cm2 per plaat (15×15 cm) zal zo’n 95% halen t.o.v. Faraday met zo’n 7,5 liter per minuut
    de helft is al meer dan genoeg om een vermindering te merken in verbruik.
    als contrast, een reactor die half levert, verbruikt zo’n 360Watt, en dat is net zoveel als een b.v. een redelijke stereo installatie of een paar extra lampen.

    momenteel ben ik zelf ook bezig met wat ontwikkelingen, geen idee of het werkelijk gaat werken maar….. ik wil proberen om een aggregaat enkel op hho te laten draaien.
    als het lukt… YEEEEE … zo niet, heb ik toch een hoop lol gehad 😉
    oh … de reactor voor dat ding wordt MEGA …
    420 platen op een gelijkgerichte 380V krachtstroom (behalve als dat ding werkelijk 400V blijkt te leveren, dan worden het er meer).
    platen worden zo’n 120x120x1 mm voor hoger rendement ….behalve de buitenste, die worden 3mm.

    die reactor moet zo’n 50 liter per minuut gaan leveren bij 5kW.
    nu eerst nog even sparen voor rvs :p

    1. In principe houd ik discussie op deze site liever in het Engels, je bent welkom om je commentaar te herhalen op mijn blog op Kloptdatwel, dat over dezelfde kwestie gaat: http://kloptdatwel.nl/2011/12/30/waterstof-niet-altijd-een-belofte-voor-de-toekomst/
      Maar voor de goede orde, het maakt voor het verhaal niet zoveel uit hoe goed je het theoretisch maximum van Faraday benaderd, de weerlegging van het Aardvark blog gaat uit van optimale omzetting.

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