DC Tech. and service
- What is engine decarbonization?
Engine decarbonization is the process of removing carbon deposits in the engine (which accumulate over time due to incomplete fuel combustion) by injecting Oxy-Hydrogen gas (H2/O2) into the intake manifold while idling.
2. Why does soot build up occur in engines?
Since all fossil fuels which are used in IC engines consist of hydrogen (H) and carbon (C) atoms, released energy comes from hydrogen, which drives the engine, but carbon is bound to other elements such as oxygen, so we get harmful exhaust gases such as CO, CO2 etc. In addition to the mentioned harmful gases, soot particles are also formed as a solid substance. Such solid matter forms deposits inside the engine on parts and assemblies, but it is also released into the atmosphere through the exhaust system causing pollution of the environment and having negative impact on human health.
3. On which parts is soot accumulated?
Soot is primarily accumulated where the fuel combustion process takes place – combustion chamber, piston face, intake and exhaust valves, cylinder wall, spark plugs and injectors. After the combustion chamber, soot particles reach the EGR valve, turbine, intake manifold, exhaust gases treatment system and finally there is a certain amount that is not stuck to any part or filter going into the atmosphere through the exhaust system and polluting the environment.
4. What is the negative effect of soot accumulation?
The process of fuel combustion becomes poorer over time so that fuel injection is compromised due to soot generated on the top of the injector, poor valve sealing, disturbed projected “eddy current” (Foucault’s current), failing spark plugs etc. Poorer combustion means less fuel energy utilization and more side effects such as higher temperatures in the cylinders and increasing concentration of particles going further through the system. Higher combustion temperature has a negative effect on the increase of nitrogen oxides (NOx) concentration and more intensive engine parts wear, reducing the effect and service life of lubricants, as well as functionality and duration of sensors, which are extremely important in modern engines. Furthermore, soot buildup on the EGR valve leads to poor operation and functionality and ultimately to its failure. Soot partially reaches the intake manifold through the EGR valve, where it is deposited on the manifold walls, reducing air flow. It is also deposited on the MAF-MAP sensor and throttle valves. Failure of this sensor or throttle valve can lead to poor performance or even engine failure. Also, the exhaust gases pass through the “warm part” of the turbine and thus the soot particles settle on the turbine blades and can block them, which leads to loss of pressure and power of the engine. The most common problem with modern engines is the accumulation of soot in DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filter) and catalysts, where due to their construction a large amount of soot accumulates, which leads to weaker flow of exhaust gases through them and ultimately total clogging.
Poor flow and clogging of the aforementioned filters leads to an increase in pressure and temperature in the exhaust manifold itself, which can often be the cause of failure of parts such as temperature and pressure sensors, poor fuel combustion and extreme temperature increase in the cylinders, as well as turbine or engine failure.
4. How does Hydrogen remove soot buildup?
Hydrogen is an exceptional catalyst by its nature; it easily binds other chemical elements and makes other compounds, which is why it is widely used in various industries. In the case of application in IC engines, hydrogen reacts with soot particles and forms a new chemical compound, but in a gaseous state. Due to this feature, it is extremely effective in removing soot and this new gaseous compound is not retained on any part of the engine or some other system, but is released into the atmosphere through the exhaust manifold.
5. Does the removal of soot from the engine (during the process of decarbonization) undo the reduced environmental impact during the vehicle operation?
The truth is, that during 30-40 minutes of the engine decarbonization process the concentration of harmful elements in the exhaust gases increases, but this is an extremely small amount compared to the reduction of the total amount of harmful gases during vehicle operation, until the next regular (and recommended) engine decarbonization.
6. What engine parts are cleaned?
The greatest effect is achieved in the combustion chamber and all parts inside it, which is the most important in the whole process, for the condition inside the combustion chamber and the quality of fuel combustion depend on engine performance and the amount of harmful gases and particles that reach the rest of the system, thus prolonging the service life and ensuring longevity and functionality of other parts. Some amount of gas that has not burned in the chamber, reaches other parts in the system and cleans them to a large degree, i.e. hydrogen manages to react with the soot particles and remove them.
7. Is any vehicle preparation required before or after decarbonization?
There is no special condition for performing the process of decarbonization of the engine, except that the engine must be healthy and that there is enough fuel for idling 30-40 minutes.
8. Is there any negative impact on the engine or the environment?
There are no negative impacts on engines. Our expert team and our company, which among other things has been researching and developing this and similar technologies for many years, as well as its application in the automotive industries, stand behind it. Also, our statistics of many years of practical application of engine decarbonization on tens of thousands of vehicles around the world show that there was not a single problem of that kind.
9. Is there a general recommendation regarding the age and generation of the engine that should be decarbonized and how often it should be done?
First of all, it is important to note that all IC engines can be treated with engine decarbonization, which is also highly recommended, regardless of whether they are used as vehicle power units in cars, motorcycles, buses, trucks, etc., or they are used in vessels, construction or agricultural machinery, electric generators or water pumps.
The general public opinion is that the best effects are achieved with the engines of the older generation, as well as those that have traveled hundreds of thousands of kilometers. That makes sense and such vehicles are great “candidates”, but when you read the previous FAQs, especially under number 3 and 4, you will realize that newer generation vehicles and engines have much more serious problems due to the
accumulation of soot. They are not only more “sensitive” and can have bigger issues, but the solutions of their problems and repairs are far more expensive. Given that it is much better and cheaper to regularly maintain the vehicle, our recommendation is to start with the decarbonization of the engine” after 30-40k miles, if you have purchased a new vehicle, and it is certainly recommended that regular/preventive “decarbonization” is done every 10-20k miles, depending on the driving style and conditions.
10. Is there a common rule regarding which engines “get dirty” more or less often?
As we have mentioned in the previous answer, it primarily depends on the driving style and conditions. The most intensive negative impact on the accumulation of soot in the engine has driving in urban conditions, driving at low speeds, as well as low quality fuel. For such conditions we recommend that engine decarbonization is performed after every 10k miles. For combined driving (city-open road) the recommendation is after every 15k miles and for the predominant highway driving the recommendation is that decarbonization should be done after every 20k miles. In addition, the quality and correctness of engine parts and assemblies is a relevant factor, which you can understand from answers number 3 and 4. For example, poor fuel injector or poor MAF/MAP sensor parameters have an extremely bad impact on the correct fuel-air mixture, resulting in increased level of harmful exhaust gases and soot formation, while reducing engine performance. Therefore, we always recommend regular and proper maintenance of the engine, especially vital assemblies.
When it comes to machines, vessels and stationary engines, the quality of fuel, working conditions, and above all the number of working hours are taken into account. Some of our estimates are that decarbonization of such engines should be done at every 200 to 400 operating hours.
11. What is the direct benefit of engine decarbonization?
Given that we have previously described the technological process of engine decarbonization and its impact on the engine in detail, we will summarize everything in several points:
- Drastic reduction of harmful exhaust gases and their negative impact on the environment,
- Restoring engine performance to factory (or near factory) values, such as power and torque, if vital vehicle /engine parts and systems are correct
- Reduction of fuel consumption under the same driving modes and conditions,
- Reduction of vehicle maintenance costs and extension of parts and systems duration (reduction of depreciation)
- Quieter and more efficient engine operation
12. What sets your technology apart from others?
Through many years of our R&D team’s work on the technology of extracting hydrogen and oxygen from water (electrolysis), we have managed to develop an extremely efficient technology, which extracts a large amount of gas from water with the help of low amps. This allows us to apply this technology in any standard conditions in workshops or other facilities, with an emphasis on a very important condition for a high-quality and only possible successful process of “decarbonization” – a large amount of gas, proportional to the engine displacement. The ratio of gas volume and engine displacement must be as follows – for every 1000 cm3 – 5 liters per minute, or 300 liters per hour, for engines up to 3000 cm3 the time of decarbonization is 30 minutes, and for larger engines (up to 15,000 cm3 engine) the process lasts up to 40 minutes.
Any smaller amount of gas, regardless of whether the process time is extended to 45, 60 or 90 minutes, does not achieve the desired effects and the process itself is not efficient, for the smaller amount of gas cannot completely “fill” the compression space in a way that hydrogen molecules are close enough to all parts with soot deposits and carbon particles during combustion and chemical reaction. Also, with the application of a small amount of gas, it is impossible to achieve the effect of “cleaning” the parts in the exhaust system from the reason that small amount of hydrogen has already burned in the chamber. In addition to the aforementioned, which is most important for the end user and successful process, other advantages over similar systems include low humidity or traces of water in the gas, safety of the entire system/machine (CE certificate), the possibility of a large number of consecutive “decarbonization” processes in one day without changing the quantity or quality of gas, work at extremely low temperatures (down to -25˚C), knowledge, professional support and extensive experience of our experts, etc.
In addition to the system of engine decarbonization with hydrogen (and we are the world’s pioneers in this technology), there are also systems that remove soot from the engine by means of various chemical agents. The advantage of our system is the simplicity and speed of the process, zero effect on the environment for no chemically aggressive or carcinogenic agents/compounds are used, as well as the fact that the soot buildup does not dissolve and turn into residues (solid or liquid) that could make additional clogging in the engine lubrication circuit or in the exhaust/intake system, nor is there any need for any additional interventions before or after the process (such as oil and filter replacement).