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Governor Schwarzenegger Thinking of Buying a Ronn Scorpion

Schwarzenegger ScorpionJust one week ago I was talking about whether the Ronn Scorpion super eco-car was a scam or not. This week apparently California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks not as he test drove one of these vehicles and is thinking of purchasing one for himself.

The Ronn Motors Scorpion is both a supercar and an eco-car that is able to accelerate to over 200 mph and achieve 40 mpg using run your car on water hydrogen technology. Critics have been calling this car the greatest hoax of all time, while advocates say this is the greatest game changer in regard to gas saving technology that the consumer has ever seen.

Governor Schwarzenegger took a test drive of the Scorpion with founder and CEO Ronn Maxwell in the passenger seat. The Governor approached Mr. Maxwell after reading a article in the Men’s Journal, a high profile publication that declared the Scorpion, “God’s Own Supercar.”

To say that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fan of hydrogen is an understatement. The governor developed the Hydrogen Highway system in California that currently has 26 H2 refueling stations and is adding more each year.

The governor also converted his H2 Hummer into an H2 burning machine (the H2H Hummer) and drove it to the opening of the first hydrogen refueling station at Los Angeles International Airport. The Ronn Scorpion uses hydrogen-on-demand technology, which electrolyzes water and feeds the resulting HHO gas into the gasoline-burning vehicle’s intake system to supplement the fuel and act as a catalyst.

There has been much skepticism over the Ronn Scorpion since it was announced in the Spring of 2008 as to whether this $150,000 super eco car’s H2GO system would work as advertised. Having the nation’s first “Hydrogen Governor” on their side will only add to the credibility of this emerging technology that is sure to have a significant green impact going forward.

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Kevin is both an environmentalist and a tech guy and has been writing, editing and publishing this blog since 2007. He answers questions related to how you can use tech to go greener.

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  1. Please understand that the process of electrolysis has been well known and understood for over 100 years. Without any major change in the process the fact is that these devices CANNOT WORK AS DESCRIBED!!!!!!

    Internal combustion engines are only about 30% efficient with converting the energy in fuel into usable energy. The alternator of a car only uses about 10% of the energy produced by the engine (under heavy load).

    A gallon of water and a gallon of gasoline contain about the same amount of hydrogen (1 pound). So if you have a gallon of gasoline (ignoring the energy that the carbon in gasoline adds) and a gallon of water and you burn the gasoline and lose 70% of the energy released and it takes 10% of the remaining energy to produce the electricity that is used to separate the water and electrolyzers are only around 80% efficient at energy conversion, how can you possibly believe that an on board electrolyzer can somehow ADD energy to the whole equation?!?

    If Ronn Motors would like to debate this and expose their electrolyzer system for evaluation I would be happy to do the evaluation and, if somehow they have achieved a miracle, I will retract my negative response. I have evaluated other, similar systems and based on the evidence I had there these things do NOTHING.

    The “trick” that most of the manufacturers of these systems use is to reprogram the on-board computer or shim out the O2 sensor so the engine runs very lean. This will show increases in mileage but it also produces a lot more NOx pollution and it has nothing to do with the tiny amount of hydrogen that they are producing.

  2. admin

    Here’s a list of 10 message boards filled with happy and enthusiastic users who have gotten these devices to work for their vehicles.

    I suggest that you may want to open up multiple debates with them.


  3. That isn’t science. People who install the things WANT them to work so that colors their perception. In addition, as I said, you can get improved mileage just by messing with your O2 sensor to lean out the engine without one of these devices installed but you get reduced top end power and increased NOx pollution as a result.

    Every independent lab analysis of one of these units I have seen have shown that they do absolutely nothing. The amount of H2 and O2 gas they produce is too small to have the effects they describe. To replace the energy in a gallon of gas you have to seperate 1 1/3 gallons of water. H2 injection can indeed be beneficial but you cant get the H2 from the same fuel you are using to run the engine lol

    Why not just run the car on hydrogen then and use the electrolyzer to re-produce the fuel you burn from the water exhaust? Then you have a wonderful, endless, free energy loop system. If that is the case we should be replacing all of the power plants in the world with these things!!!

    There are millions of people who believe in UFOs and say they communicate with aliens and have been on their ships. And yet, to date, no one has produced an alien or a ship for analysis….

  4. First off hydrogen is a great fuel, it is totally clean if produced from water. I love hydrogen.

    That said, neither of the two government publications you gave me links to talk about producing the hydrogen on board the vehicle via electrolysis (using fuel to produce fuel). They just talk about hydrogen as a fuel or supplemental fuel.

    The NASA paper talks about using H2 as a supplemental fuel in ultra lean applications but it doesn’t talk about quantity needed and these units produce a tiny amount of H2.

    As far as the independent test goes, I will just quote from the report:”ADTS was unable to independently verify the activation of the Hydrorunner system or it’s means of providing hydrogen to the vehicles’ engine and therefore these tests must be considered as ‘probable’ .” Not exactly a scientific analysis of the device or the claimed process.

    Nothing you showed me proved the viability of these devices and the “lab test” was a total set-up by the company and the testing center confirmed this in the body of the report. Please.

    The H2 and you story seems to rely totally on information provided by manufacturers on on board H2 production systems and so is not objective analysis in any way.

  5. admin

    Here are some paragraphs from the DOT document that I linked to that you obviously didn’t read:

    Onboard electrolyzers are used with hydrogen injection systems for diesel engines (see Section 3.5). In this case, only a small amount of hydrogen and oxygen are produced to supplement, not replace, the diesel fuel used in the engine. The electricity to operate the electrolyzer is typically supplied by the engine’s alternator or 12/24-VDC electrical system.

    Hydrogen injection systems create small amounts of hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis, to supplement the diesel fuel in a standard diesel engine. See Sections 1.2.3 and 1.5.

    A hydrogen injection system for a diesel engine produces and uses significantly less hydrogen than a hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen ICE, and does not require that compressed or liquid hydrogen be carried on the vehicle. The system is designed to produce hydrogen only when required, in response to driver throttle commands. When the system is shut off, no hydrogen should be present on the vehicle.

    And there are many more. If you can’t take the time to read the info then I don’t have time to argue the info you didn’t read.

    In case you missed the original point of the post and the Ronn Scorpion, this is all about using hydrogen as supplemental fuel for a gasoline-powered engine. This is not about a perpetual motion machine. This is not about using electrolysis to create hydrogen as the primary fuel.

  6. Thank you for this stimulating discussion. I am happy to take the time to educate your readers on these devices. Good technology unfortunately takes the fallout from deceptive systems and that is what I hope to prevent by nipping questionable technology in the bud. Remember: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    In your response above you ask me to go back to the DOT paper which I did. I look at the authors of the paper and found that they are energy consulting firms. That is great but they are not experts. Even so a well referenced paper is still perfectly acceptable and the authors do reference and cite their sources.

    Please note that the only information source that the authors quote in relation to the on-board electrolyzer is “(CHEC, n.d.)” . If you check at the bottom of the paper to see who it is they are citing you find; “Canadian Hydrogen Energy Company. 2006. Hydrogen Fuel Injection. Available at: http://www.chechfi.ca/index.html.”

    Canadian Hydrogen Energy Company is one of the manufacturers of these systems and I believe the one who’s “independent test” I read earlier which said the company didn’t allow the testing facility to verify either the operation of the apparatus or the method by which hydrogen was delivered to the engine. No real science or “proof” so far.

    Finally, yes it is about converting gasoline fuel to hydrogen fuel with many steps in the conversion process each of which consume energy. A supplemental fuel is supposed to replace some of the primary fuel but in this case it costs more of the primary fuel to produce the supplemental fuel than is produced in supplemental fuel. A net energy gain on the process is impossible via the technology in use.

  7. admin

    First, I cannot say whether the Canadian Hydrogen Energy Company has gone out of business or not. I know their website is down and the 800 number I called is unreachable which is indeed odd. But, searching for more information on the Web I can also see no announcement of them closing.

    In regard to this statement: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” I don’t agree. This is perhaps what you need. I was a skeptic for many years, too and slowly came to believe this technology is real. The extraordinary proof claim is also not real for companies who are dealing with patent applications and proprietary information in any industry, not just this industry as you’ll many times feel frustrated that you can’t get more information, verification and third party validation about many products. Many companies keep this info close to the vest to keep competition at bay.

    Canadian Hydrogen Energy Company is not the test you read earlier. They are referenced in the DOT document. No, this is not about converting gasoline to hydrogen. My understanding is that the hydrogen (or HHO gas depending upon the manufacturer) acts as a catalyst that causes a chain reaction to help the gasoline burn more quickly at lower temperatures.

    In addition, we are not talking about brute force electrolysis with a simple electric current running through distilled water. Most manufacturers use methods to loosen the hydrogen / oxygen bonds first before electricity is applied. Using chemical catalysts is common so that not as much voltage is needed in the electrolysis process.

    I don’t think that any argument I make however, will convince you otherwise and I’ve already been a skeptic and I know I won’t be convinced otherwise. Attacking the credibility of all sources that disagree with your viewpoint is one way you can play this. Another way is to keep an open mind, research the hell out of this subject and draw up a list of pros and cons and let these facts speak to what you believe in.

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