Alternative Fuels for Aviation Use

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Over twenty years ago I was fortunate enough to be working for a company that was jointly in development of a two-person research autogyro to bring to the military and civil marketplace as a certified aircraft. This little aircraft was quite advanced for the time and would still be a bit of a revolutionary aircraft today.

Without getting into all the details of that project, the fuel being used was hydrogen peroxide. The same fuel that has flown multiple missions to space with the United States Space Shuttle. A new series of research is being undertaken in Sweden in the use of hydrogen powered gyroplanes. In both of these projects and like the Hiller rotor tip helicopter rocket motors are placed at the ends of the rotor blades. Obviously, this technology has been around for many years and has been proven but one fault is the limited range of the aircraft due to fuel consumption requirements for flight.

Right now, there is a grass roots effort to develop hydrogen generators or fuel cells that can supplement current gasoline fueled engines. Again, this is not new technology but continued applications with newer technology and new materials. It is here that the future of again affordable flying may surface.

The United States, like many nations, imports most of its petroleum from foreign nations. This poses several problems from a logistical, economic and tactical point of view. Firstly, the nation itself cannot control supply and demand for its own country’s use. Two, the supply chain is totally dependant on the availability and safe transport of these resources for the point of origin to its destination. In times of military actions, when the use of fuels will increase, the nation may have tactical and logistical problems of supplying it forces with adequate quantities of transportation fuels. So in times of peace or war the nation really only has so much control of its own power or economic output.

Water is the most abundant resource on the planet. It is a renewable resource. It is a clean burning fuel when separated into its basic molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. It is this technology, that can at the very least, reduce a nations dependency of foreign oil.

Thank goodness that we can be allowed to have an experimental category here in the States to test and advance this technology. I have included some videos and links of this technology here and below in the reference section. Based on what we do today we can shape the future of tomorrow and not only become less dependant on foreign oil but make a cleaner planet by reducing hydrocarbon emmisions.

Hydrogen is extremely flammable and contains much heat per unit volume/weight. You must educate yourself in the proper handling, building and experimentation of this technology or serious injury, damage of equipment or structure or death can occur. does not sell, produce or directly provide the materials or information for the use of this technology and only provides the links and references for those who desire more information on this technology. Any experimentation is solely at the risk of the individual(s). is NOT responsible for the information on other websites and cannot be responsible for the education, quality of materials, or construction of any experimental work accomplished by individuals or organizations who decide to build or experiment with hydrogen technologies. Individuals or organizations who do decide to proceed with exprimentation of hydrogen technologies do so at heir own risk and agree to hold harmless and any of its constituents of any wrongdoing, injury or damage that may potentially occur from this experimentation. has no consulting or advisory as to the application and testing standards for all of the countries that this website is presented to. BEFORE you modify any existing aircraft or decide to build an experimental aircraft and further decide to test this technology be sure to check with YOUR GOVERNMENTS aviation authority in regards to regulations and if testing can be accomplished.

How dangerous is hydrogen? I present the airship R101.

Thanks goes to “Bomber Guy” for the use of this video.

The crash of the Hindenburg spelled the end of the use of hydrogen for lighter-than-air flight and the end of the airship as a commercial air carrier.

My thanks to “Funkyvice” for providing this video.

The Hindenburg and R101, while not powered with hydrogen had many millions of cubic feet of hydrogen gas to make it lighter-than-air. It was this vast amount of dangerous gas that caused the great loss of life in these accidents.

In these airships hydrogen was not used as a fuel source but for lift (buoyancy). The Hindenburg had previously completed eighteen transatlantic crossings and 2/3 of the passengers survived the mishap-protected by the gondola below the gas bags. The hydrogen burned up the airship of the 36 lives lost most had jumped to their own deaths.

Remember the Space Shuttle Challenger?

Thanks to “Segregator 236” for the use of this video.

Here again, millions of cubic feet of hydrogen gas are stored and when ignited the disastrous effects. Hydrogen is a deadly serious gas!

My thanks to Larry for the use of this video.

As can be seen there has been many applications of the use of hydrogen for rocket motors but this same technology can be applied to our reciprocating engines as well.


While hydrogen is a flammable gas and it does require safety precautions in comparison to gasoline I think we should look at some scientific facts:

Hydrogen burns more completely than gasoline. The heat efficiency or thermal efficiency of a reciprocating engine operating on hydrogen is 25 to 100% higher.

This in turn means that a lower exhaust temperature and less wasted heat in the same process.

In early engine development, Mr. Otto circa 1870’s, considered gasoline as too dangerous as a fuel and had considered the use of hydrogen. It was through further fuel technology that made gasoline acceptable for engine use.

Early engines were actually designed to run on a variety of gases including propane and natural gas.

During WWI hydrogen and oxygen was considered for use to power airships and submarines were the crew would have drinkable water from the exhaust of the burned fuel.

In the 1920’s Rudolf Erren made the first practical hydrogen fueled engine and converted over 1,000 engines.

Following WWII, the allies found a submarine converted by Erren to run on hydrogen and torpedoes that also ran on hydrogen.

Engines converted to hydrogen (100%) get only 80% of the power normally acquired from gasoline but hydrogen burns 50% more efficiently.

Hydrogen has 2.7 times the energy of gas on a weight basis but only 1/3 per unit volume.

On a weight basis hydrogen has three times as much energy as the same content of fossil fuel.

A concentration of 18% hydrogen can cause detonation, Methane and propane only require 6% to explode. Due to hydrogen burning so quickly it has the highest potential of explosion hazard of any gas but the lowest explosion hazard in respect to volume. To put it in easy to understand terms hydrogen has approximately the same hazards as methane or propane.

The flammability of hydrogen in air is from 4% -75% by volume. This is a much wider range than for methane or propane or fossil fuel. The minimum limit of flammability for hydrogen is higher than that for propane or gasoline(2%) and three times higher a concentration in air (29.3%)than methane(9.48%).

Some simple safety precautions when working with hydrogen: *Use adequate ventilation. *Use proper leak prevention methods. *Eliminate possible sources of ignition.

As can be seen there has been many applications of the use of hydrogen for rocket motors but this same technology can be applied to our reciprocating engines as well.

The type of use we are talking for our applications is by converting safe water. Yes, simple water that is not a combustible liquid but can be separated into its various products of hydrogen and oxygen for combustion. Rather than going to a highly flammable storage facility or driving or flying around with this dangerous gas in our vehicle, by creating an on demand, fuel cell or generator we can have a safe and clean fuel for tomorrow. Let us see what people are doing with hydrogen today.

Thanks to Jim from “Backyard Builders” and for the use of this video

For more information in HHO technology I highly recommend checking out the website and another favorite of mine is

So where is all this going? Well my friend Jim has not only supplemented fuel with HHO to run cars, trucks, semis, and generators but he has also done RC airplanes and this is where the merger is awesome. In amateur built experimental aircraft we are already typically using an automotive engine. So it is the integration of these two technologies that can bring great advances to cleaner and less dependence on foreign oil to provide cost effective flight.

Sound crazy? In 2008 Boeing Aircraft converted a piston - powered aircraft to conduct just such tests.

High Performance Fuel Cells

Great thanks goes out to “Glenn Pew of AVweb” for the use of this video.

While diesel has its benefits and we now have diesel aircraft engines- we can get even better fuel economy by supplementing our petroleum based fuels with HHO. If it can work on a semi-tractor then we can do it in an aircraft engine.

The ultimate goal and the purpose of much of this experimentation has and continues to be a more efficient system by using maximum use of off the shelf materials and to eventually find a means to fill the gas tank with water rather than to supplement our petroleum based fuels.

Here are some more interesting facts of HHO technology:

It reduces carbon emissions- in fact if conducting a vehicle inspection in the state of California – the emission of an HHO equipped vehicle is so low you will likely fail the test. You have to pollute the air to pass the test!

Water is the power source, a completely safe product. The by-product is water, a completely safe for the environment product. We not only reduce our need for foreign oil but also have developed a “green” (environmentally safe) source of power.

Skeptics say it takes too much power to break the molecular bond of hydrogen and oxygen. Through a resonant circuit at the right frequency this is accomplished quite easily. Just as we use a resonant frequency to transmit a weak radio signal thousands of miles we can use a resonant circuit to break this bond. Thank you Mr. Tesla and Armstrong.

It is here that the current state of the art is breaking new ground, by using solid state circuitry and digital control through computers we are able to control and regulate the frequency and control the hydrogen output as demanded by the engine.

Current automotive engines can be converted to run on water and much evidence is there to show the added fuel economy of this system.

For our WWII aviators this isn’t too far removed from a system you may be familiar with in the day it was known as water/alcohol injection. This gave a pilot an added boost of power to get out of a bad situation or for increased payloads during takeoff. With a HHO generator we are able to sustain the reaction and control it in a more manageable level. A hydrogen fuel cell is a different application of using water as a source of power it certainly shows that there is power in water.

In the 1970’s the aviation market tested and approved the use of auto fuel (gasoline) for aviation use that lead to a STC for certified aircraft. This has helped in regards to nations that cannot produce or import aviation grade fuels but hydrogen allows all nations to become independent.

In the not too distant future the age of Aquarius may truly be upon us as we find and develop new methods to provide clean and renewable sources of power, not just for today but for future generations and leave the planet a cleaner place as well.

How the gyroplane fits into a company’s vision of the future:

There currently exist no viable alternative fuel sources to replace fossil fuels in the modern world without an investment in technology.

Hydrogen is not a rare element as Uranium and Thorium as used in nuclear power. Nor is hydrogen a radioactive fuel. Hydrogen has a million times more power output per weight of fuel. It burns clean and the waste-water can be recycled. We really can leave this planet in better shape.

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Hyrdogen use on gyroplanes

Hydrogen fuel cell technology

Hydrogen fuel cell technology

Boeing Hydrogen powered airplane: Glenn Pew,

"Fuel from Water-Energy Independance with Hydrogen" 11th Edition by Michael A. Peavey, Merit Inc. Many,many thanks to all who helped contribute the videos that are presented on this web page.