Mary Meadows, a resident of Chandler, Ariz., says she can increase mileage and reduce emissions. As reported by the Arizona Republic, Meadows is the founder of a company that makes a system that converts cars, pickups, trucks, boats and recreational vehicles to hydrogen hybrids.
“We’re not replacing the fuel; we’re just supplementing the fuel to make it highly efficient,” said Meadows, CEO of H2 Pure Power, which is based at the Innovations incubator in Chandler.
The company manufactures the Hercules Hydrogen System, which is about the size of a car battery and can be installed under the hood or in the trunk. The system manufactures hydrogen, mixes it with gasoline and puts the mixture into the engine by air intake.
“It’s a very sophisticated system,” Meadows said. “A lot of systems out there don’t work; they don’t last.” She says her system works and lasts.
One of the problems to overcome was that cars and pickups newer than 1996 models contain computers that sense when a vehicle is using less fuel. That triggers the computer to increase gasoline or diesel to compensate.
To counteract that problem, Meadows has a chip that affects the air/fuel ratio and allows the hydrogen mix to power the vehicle without triggering the computer.
Meadows recommends that mechanics install the system, but some vehicle owners have installed it themselves. She provides buyers with detailed instructions on how to install, and she will stand by on the phone to advise mechanics.
Hercules retails for $3,500, but Meadows is offering it at a discount for $2,500. The system works with any kind of fuel: gasoline, diesel, propane or biodiesel. It can also be traded among vehicles, such as moving it from an RV to a car.
Long-haul truckers can expect a 30% increase in mileage, she said. Cars and pickups have seen increases of 30% to 50%, and RVs, 50%, Meadows said.
Meadows installed the system on her car, a 1977 Cadillac El Dorado. “That car went from 8 miles per gallon to 32,” she said.
Others reporting good results with the system include a company engineer, Gary Miller, who has it on his pickup; a Western Power vehicle; an independent trucker; a 2007 Cadillac Escalade in Casa Grande; a panel van driven by a Phoenix locksmith; a panel van in Yuma and a pickup truck in Golden, Colo., that pulls a large trailer.
Meadows is an environmental medicine physician who had a clinic in Texas. When she retired, she looked for something to invest in that helped the Earth.
“I have been very concerned about pollution issues, and this hydrogen system takes vehicles to near-zero emissions,” she said.
The technology has been around, but it’s getting more attention now because fuel costs are high, and the federal government is encouraging alternative and sustainable energy.
“We’re always making changes and modifications,” she said. “We’re taking on more engineers who can design a new system even though we have a good one.”
The Canadian government, which has a great interest in hydrogen, is paying Meadows’ way to the conference “Hydrogen+Fuel Cells 2011” this month in Vancouver; it is one of the leading international conventions of the hydrogen and fuel-cell industry.
“The future is hydrogen, and the future is now,” Meadows said.