Title:
Hydrogen fired heat exchanger
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Hydrogen Fired Heat Exchanger is an alternative furnace design that utilizes the conversion of hydrogen and oxygen to water to produce heat as opposed to combustion of a fuel like natural gas or oil. The preferred embodiment of the invention utilizes a fuel cell having an anode and a cathode and containing an electrolyte and a catalyst, a water tank, hoses, a gas valve, a spark plug and a heat exchanger. To use Hydrogen Fired Heat Exchanger, an individual connects the water tank to the office or home water line to allow it to fill with water. The fuel cell attached to the water tank provides the electricity necessary to transform the incoming water from the water tank into hydrogen and oxygen gas. A catalyst to expedite the reaction is also utilized in the water. The hydrogen and oxygen gas travel through separate hoses into the gas valve and then into the heat exchanger where the gases are mixed and ignited by the spark plug. The hydrogen and oxygen gas are transformed back into water and emit energy in the form of heat during this combustion process. The heat warms the heat exchanger. The warm heat exchanger functions in a similar fashion to gas heat exchangers. Air from an office or building is sucked through a filter and blowing system past the heat exchanger causing it to warm, and the warm air is then distributed throughout the office or home through a series of ducts and vents. The water created during the combustion of oxygen and hydrogen in the heat exchanger drops to the bottom of the heat exchanger and into the water hose to be returned to the water tank for further use.



Inventors:
Matusinec, Robert D. (US)
Application Number:
11/983187
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
11/07/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24J3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DECKER, PHILLIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GALASSO & ASSOCIATES, LP (AUSTIN, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A furnace device comprising: (a) a water tank connected to a power source; (b) a first hose and a second hose connecting the power source to a gas valve and a heat exchanger; (c) a third hose connecting the water tank and the heat exchanger; and (d) a spark plug operatively connected to the heat exchanger.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the power source is a fuel cell.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the water tank is approximately rectangular.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the water tank is made of metal.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein the first hose, the second hose and the third hose are approximately cylindrical.

6. The device of claim 1 wherein the first hose, the second hose and the third hose are made of metal.

7. The device of claim 1 further comprising a pump located within the water tank to move water from the water tank to the power source.

8. The device of claim 1 further comprising a first inlet and a first outlet on the gas valve for the first hose and a second inlet and a second outlet on the gas valve for the second hose.

9. The device of claim 1 wherein the gas valve is approximately rectangular.

10. The device of claim 1 wherein the gas valve is made of metal.

11. The device of claim 1 wherein the heat exchanger is approximately rectangular.

12. The device of claim 1 wherein the heat exchanger is made of metal.

13. The device of claim 1 wherein the spark plug is located on top of the heat exchanger.

14. The device of claim 1 further comprising a first check valve connected to the first hose and located in the heat exchanger and a second check valve connected to the second hose and located in the heat exchanger.

15. A furnace device comprising: (a) a water tank connected to a fuel cell; (b) a first hose and a second hose connecting the fuel cell to a gas valve and a heat exchanger; (c) a third hose connecting the water tank and the heat exchanger; (d) a spark plug operatively connected to the heat exchanger; (e) a pump located within the water tank; (f) a first inlet and a first outlet on the gas valve for the first hose and a second inlet and a second outlet on the gas valve for the second hose; and (g) a first check valve connected to the first hose and located in the heat exchanger and a second check valve connected to the second hose and located in the heat exchanger.

16. A furnace device comprising: (a) a water tank connected to a first battery; (b) a first hose and a second hose connecting the first battery to a gas valve and a heat exchanger; (c) a third hose connecting the water tank and the heat exchanger; (d) a spark plug operatively connected to the heat exchanger; (e) a pump located within the water tank and connected to a second battery; (f) a first inlet and a first outlet on the gas valve for the first hose and a second inlet and a second outlet located on the gas valve for the second hose; (g) a first check valve connected to the first hose and located in the heat exchanger and a second check valve connected to the second hose and located in the heat exchanger; and (h) a water wheel located within the heat exchanger that is connected to an alternator located in the heat exchanger that is attached to the first battery and the second battery.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This United States Non-Provisional Patent Application does not claim priority to any United States Provisional Patent Application or any foreign patent application.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to the office and home heating industry. The invention discussed herein is in the general classification of alternative furnaces.

BACKGROUND

Heating homes, offices and other structures is a necessity in many regions of the United States and throughout the world. This is particularly true during winter months when exposure to extreme temperatures can be uncomfortable and dangerous to humans. However, heating any structure requires energy. In many cases, gas or electric energy is used.

To heat a structure, warm air is typically forced or blown through a system of air ducts to each of the rooms in a home or office. Air from a home or office is drawn into the furnace and passes through a filter, where dust and other small particles are trapped. A blower unit blows the filtered air through the furnace and the air absorbs heat.

In a gas furnace, the heat is supplied by the burning of fuel such as gas, oil, or propane. A mixture of gas and air flows into a burner that is ignited by a pilot. Combustion occurs, and warm air from the burner flame rises to fill a chamber known as a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger becomes hot, and air passing around the heat exchanger absorbs that warmth and continues into the air ducts to be distributed throughout a home or office. The gases that are created by the burning fuel are released outside the home or office through a vent pipe. Even a gas furnace utilizes some electricity to power the blower unit.

In an electric furnace, heat is generated by an electric heating element. Electric current traveling through the element creates heat. By the heat transfer process called conduction and convection, heat is transferred into the air stream and flows through the air ducts into the rooms of a home or business.

Numerous problems can arise with both gas and electric furnaces. A gas furnace that is cracked or contains holes or small leaks can release carbon monoxide into a home or place of business. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and is virtually impossible for the human senses to detect. Most accidental carbon monoxide poisonings occur from house fires, malfunctioning home-heating systems and hot-water heaters. While the symptoms vary significantly, the most common symptoms are of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and fatigue. On-going carbon monoxide poisoning may lead to more serious conditions such as coma and even death.

In addition to the dangers to humans, gas furnaces can also present danger to the environment. Hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide are often dispensed into the atmosphere during gas furnace use, causing damage to the ozone layer and other parts of the environment.

As the cost of oil energy increases and pollution rises, scientists are continuously researching alternative sources of energy. The United States Department of Energy is actively researching solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, and ocean energy.

Electric furnaces present their own unique set of problems. The primary problem associated with electric furnaces is the cost. Heating a home or office exclusively with an electric furnace can dramatically increase a user's electric bill. Electric furnaces also can lead to electrical fires and other dangers to the occupants of a home or business.

Hence, there is a need in the art for a convenient to use, inexpensive, durable, safe and effective device for heating a home, office or other structure.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Hydrogen Fired Heat Exchanger is an alternative furnace design that utilizes the conversion of hydrogen and oxygen to water to produce heat as opposed to combustion of a fuel like natural gas or oil.

The preferred embodiment of the invention utilizes a fuel cell having an anode and a cathode and containing an electrolyte and a catalyst, a water tank, hoses, a gas valve, a spark plug and a heat exchanger.

Other embodiments of the invention may utilize alternative power sources to the fuel cell to generate the electricity to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.

The invention utilizes two abundantly available elements, hydrogen and oxygen. Water, which contains both hydrogen and oxygen, is converted into hydrogen and oxygen gas during the operation of the invention. The following reaction must occur: 2H2O→2H2+O2. Because this reaction is endothermic, energy and often a catalyst must be provided. However, the reverse reaction, 2H2+O2→2H2O, is exothermic which means the reaction will provide energy. The combustion of hydrogen gas and oxygen gas yields water and a significant amount of energy that can be dissipated as heat.

The principal object of this invention is to provide a device to heat homes, offices and other edifices.

Another object of this invention is to provide a device to heat homes and other structures that is environmentally friendly.

Another object of this invention is to provide an alternative to gas and electric furnaces for heating homes or offices.

Another object of this invention is to provide a device for heating a home or office that operates cost effectively.

Another object of this invention is to provide an affordable device to heat a home or office.

Another object of this invention is to provide a safe device to heat a home or office.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a durable device to heat a home or office.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiment of Hydrogen Fired Heat Exchanger is comprised of at least some of the following: a fuel cell having an anode and a cathode and containing an electrolyte and a catalyst, a water tank, hoses, a gas valve, a spark plug and a heat exchanger.

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention. A water tank 1 that is approximately rectangular and made of metal is connected to a fuel cell 2. The water tank 1 is approximately twenty-four inches long, twelve inches in height and eighteen inches in width. The water tank 1 utilizes a pump (not shown) powered by electricity from the home or office to provide water to the fuel cell 2. The fuel cell 2 has an anode 3 and a cathode 4. The anode 3 and cathode 4 are made of platinum though graphite or a variety of other materials would also work. The fuel cell 2 is approximately twelve inches in height and eighteen inches in width.

A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction. Every fuel cell has two electrodes, a cathode and an anode. The cathode is positive and the anode is negative. The reactions that produce electricity take place at the electrodes. Every fuel cell also has an electrolyte, which carries electrically charged particles from one electrode to the other, and a catalyst that speeds up the reactions at the electrodes.

A hydrogen hose 5 and oxygen hose 8 connect the fuel cell 2 to a gas valve 6. The hydrogen hose 5 and the oxygen hose 8 are approximately cylindrical and made of metal and extend through the gas valve 6 and into a heat exchanger 7. The hydrogen hose 5 and oxygen hose 8 have a diameter of approximately one inch and a length of twenty inches though a variety of sizes may be utilized.

The gas valve 6 has two inlets and two outlets to handle the hydrogen hose 5 and the oxygen hose 8 in this preferred embodiment. For safety reasons, the separate hoses will keep the oxygen and hydrogen from mixing until later in the process. Alternatively two separate gas valves, one to handle the hydrogen hose and one to handle the oxygen hose, could be utilized. The gas valve 6 is approximately rectangular and made of metal. The gas valve 6 is five inches in height and length and two inches in width in this preferred embodiment though the exact dimensions are not critical.

The heat exchanger 7 is also approximately rectangular and made of metal. While the dimensions are not critical, the heat exchanger 7 is approximately eight inches in height and width and five inches in length in the preferred embodiment. A spark plug 9 is located on top of the heat exchanger 7 for initial ignition of the hydrogen and oxygen gases. The heat exchanger 7 is the location where the hydrogen gas and oxygen gas mix and combust, emitting heat and creating water.

Two check valves (not shown) are located in the heat exchanger 7 to control the flow of hydrogen through the hydrogen hose 5 and oxygen through the oxygen hose 8. The check valves close to stop the flow of the hydrogen and oxygen gases when the explosion created by the spark plug 9 occurs. When the explosion dissipates, the check valves reopen to let more gas enter the heat exchanger 7. When the hydrogen and oxygen gases are mixed properly in the heat exchanger 7, they ignite and shut the check valves to prevent too large a quantity of hydrogen and oxygen from entering the heat exchanger 7 which potentially could cause too large of an explosion.

A water hose 10 is located at the bottom of the heat exchanger 7. The water hose 10 allows the water created from the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen to return to the water tank 1. The water hose 10 is made of similar materials and has a similar shape as the hydrogen hose 5 and the oxygen hose 8 in this preferred embodiment. The water hose 10 has a larger diameter than the hydrogen hose 5 and the oxygen hose 8 in this preferred embodiment and allows water to recirculate to the water tank 1 to split again. If the system is air tight, there will not be any need to refill the water tank 1 from an external source after initial filling.

Other embodiments of the invention may utilize alternative power sources to the fuel cell to generate the electricity to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. For example, two car batteries could be utilized-one to split the water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas and one to run the blower system and the water pump. In this embodiment, a water wheel would be placed inside the heat exchanger. The explosions that combust the gases and create heat will also be used to turn the water wheel which in turn will turn an alternator located inside the heat exchanger. The alternator will be used to recharge the car batteries. Ideally, the timing of the explosions within the heat exchanger would permit the spark plug to ignite the first explosion that will allow the hydrogen gas and oxygen gas to flow into the heat exchanger such that the tail end of the first explosion ignites the second explosion. When this occurs, the spark plug will only need to ignite the first explosion to set off a chain of explosions.

To use Hydrogen Fired Heat Exchanger, an individual connects the water tank to the office or home water line to allow it to fill with water. The fuel cell attached to the water tank provides the electricity necessary to transform the incoming water from the water tank into hydrogen and oxygen gas. A catalyst to expedite the reaction is also utilized in the water. The hydrogen and oxygen gas travel through separate hoses into the gas valve and then into the heat exchanger where the gases are mixed and ignited by the spark plug. The hydrogen and oxygen gas are transformed back into water and emit energy in the form of heat during this combustion process. The heat warms the heat exchanger. The warm heat exchanger functions in a similar fashion to gas heat exchangers. Air from an office or building is sucked through a filter and blowing system past the heat exchanger causing it to warm, and the warm air is then distributed throughout the office or home through a series of ducts and vents. The water created during the combustion of oxygen and hydrogen in the heat exchanger drops to the bottom of the heat exchanger and into the water hose to be returned to the water tank for further use.

The materials utilized for Hydrogen Fired Heat Exchanger may vary widely but will likely include metals, plastic and electronic components. The metals would ideally be selected from available steel or alloys of steel and aluminum. The production process related to the use of these metals insures that the metal is non-corrosive, durable and strong. The selected metal should have high impact strength and be capable of accepting and retaining coloring materials for an extended length of time.

The plastic used in the production will ideally be selected for durability and longevity. Thermoplastics are commonly used in the manufacturing of components similar to those used in this invention. Polyethylene, polypropylene, and other similar thermoplastic materials would be among those with the necessary traits. Members of this family are recognized universally as being versatile and of high quality.

The plastic components of Hydrogen Fired Heat Exchanger can also be formed with the use of plastic molding techniques, such as injection molding or blow molding. Injection molding requires melted plastic to be forcefully injected into relatively cool molds. As the plastic begins to harden, it takes on the shape of the mold cavity. This technique is ideal for the mass production of products. Alternatively, blow molding, a form of extrusion, could be utilized. Blow molding involves a molten tube being pushed into a mold. Compressed air then forces the molten tube against the cold walls of the mold.

All electronic components of the invention will also be ideally selected from those currently having the highest industry ratings. These components will also meet and/or exceed all safety and usage regulations. Wiring and associated connecting hardware should be insulated and otherwise protected from intrusion by any harmful or degrading elements, including water, medium level temperatures, and low to medium impact force.

It should be obvious that the components of the present invention can be of various shapes and sizes. It should also be obvious that the components of the invention can be made of different types of metals, plastics or other suitable materials and can be of any color.

It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that changes or modifications may be made to the above-described embodiments without departing from the broad inventive concepts of the invention. It should therefore be understood that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments described herein, but is intended to include all changes and modifications that are within the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth in the claims.