Remember Betamax

I am old enough to remember the rivalry between VHS and was told that Betamax was the way to go so I bought one. Bad decision.

I am doing a bit of research into green fuels, beyond what are generally in common use today. There seem to be three possibiities. Methanol, Ammonia and Hydrogen. All have disadvantages, the most common being that it is cheaper and less harmful to the environment to continue to use hydrocarbons if one takes into accound the manufacture of them. But the way the world works one of them will eventually become common to power marine craft. So my question whether we are at the Betamax moment. Does anyone have a view on which is to become the VHS?

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In the case of Betamax it was the technically inferior one with the better infrastructure (content).

If history is any indicator. Whichever technology Sony chooses to back

Whichever one the porn industry uses.

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The way I see it hydrogen is to explosive to be considered on a large scale. Imagine a soccer mom filling her car with hydrogen while smoking a cigarette and texting. Ammonia is too toxic. Just wait for the first accidental release and ever environmentalist will be protesting over the dead birds or what ever. Methanol or ethanol(Brazil has a large ethanol fuel market) sounds great. Fuel really ought to be liquid rather than gas. A liquid is easier to handle and store than a gas. The toxicity of Methanol and Ethanol are about on par with gasoline. Alcohol fuel are reasonably stable and there is plenty of precedent as its been used a fuel for as long a internal combustion engines have existed.

Thanks for the thoughtful response. Curiously of the three main contenders Methanol appears to be at the bottom of the list.

I could imagine solar panel farms powering electrolysis plants that would produce hydrogen and oxygen. I’m wondering if oxygen injection system on a hydrogen fueled engine could work like a nitrous oxide injection system would on a gasoline engine.

But hydrogen comes at a cost to produce. It takes energy to make it. And that may open the door for some highly advanced material for the electrodes.and chemical treatment for the water being used. It would basically follow in the footsteps of Rockefeller at Standard Oil.

So I figure the VHS would be Hydrogen.

And as a plus, about all that’s coming out of the tail pipe of the car then is steam that will condense back into water.

There’s more to it than just replacing liquid fuel for hydrogen. Without a lot of sophistication on the combustion and exhaust sides the NOx output of a practical engine will literally make your eyes water.

Yes I’m sure that would be something that would have to be worked out for production cars.

I once had this old Honda Accord around a 77 model which was carbureted/manual choke. I built a water injection system out of a bicycle canteen, aquarium stone aerator, brass needle valve, and installed it in the engine compartment. I had already installed a Radio Shack Electronic Ignition on the car with Packard 440 plug wiring at this point.

All went well once I found the sweet spot on the adjustment. By winter I was mixing a bit of gas line antifreeze into the mix to keep it from freezing.

Only issue at first was standing around behind it. It could make your eyes water Still it ran great.

But when I pulled the plugs a few months later to inspect them the inside surface of the side electrode facing the center electrode had eroded resembling a go-no go feeler gauge. But given how well it ran after I did these mod’s and how cheap resistor plugs were I just put up with those quirks & quarks. . Then… I never had any problems with dogs chasing after me after these mod’s. .

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That Sir, is why I became an engineer. I wanted to find the sweet spot on paper before I ruined more engines and I wanted to modify another escalator to take roofing shingles up without throwing them over the other side of the house and it became important to know how many mm of the proper material to weld to the blades of a turbocharger to increase the output and how much you could machine out of the housing so it would not blow up in your face. :wink:


LOL, much respect for those who can crunch the numbers with the higher math methods .I was just a poor ol’ Appalachian American kid from the “beat it to fit & paint it to match school” when New Math was in vogue.(which got us a new Math teacher about every two months)

I’ve only studied in one book about sizing & matching a turbocharger (exhaust driven) and flow mapping it to determine the proper housing. The latest I’ve seen of them for street use are either belt driven from the engine (like on the 50’s Studebaker’s) or installing them under the car in the exhaust.

Before I built the water injector I lived in a neighborhood with a bunch of big dogs Major, Ginger, Delilah, Ebony, and Bandit were the usual suspects and ruled our street. It wasn’t till I could lay my hands on a bundle of “whistle chaser” fireworks, (if you live in the south you may know these by another name) that I could back the car out into the street…at which time the dogs would begin to take their place beside the road. Covertly light the fuse of one, it was dropped to the road aimed in their direction as I back the car up a few feet just as the screaming of the pyrotechnic started. Dogs were literally taking to the air like homesick angels to escape. By the time of the explosion they were jumping like jack rabbits across the field to the safety of the woods… Later neighbors would ask me why my car was the only one the dogs wouldn’t chase. It was the vapors from the water injector.

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Friend of mine and myself, both retired, found a plan for a jet engine of sorts using an old turbocharger. We made a kerosene burner for it and it worked OK. Pretty much no thrust but it made a helluva a lot of noise so we mounted it on the back of a friends pontoon boat. The boats normal engine would chug along at about 5 knots or so and we’d fire up the homemade jet for effect. At night the flame was impressive if not adjusted correctly. It caused a lot of WTF looks and comments on the ICW.


If you were out fishing, I’d imagine you could burn off a lot of pesky mosquitoes with that :grin:

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