Leap Forward Lab Annual Report Pt. 1 — The HHO Story (Alan Smith)

The following report has been submitted by Alan Smith of Leap Forward Laboratory



Leap Forward Laboratory (LFL) was set up initially with a promise of support and funding via the services of a new and different kind of ‘fringe bank’. Sadly they had the not very different idea of running away with the majority of Leap’s initial deposit which is now holidaying in the Cayman Islands.  Due to an NDA – signed as part of the legal row which resulted (LFL got some money back) – these rogues cannot be named, but readers should be cautious about believing promises from any finance outfit whose legal title spells ‘bank’ with only three letters.

Carrying on more or less regardless of these financial woes, LFL was invited to investigate claims that Hydrogen and Oxygen extracted in a perfect 2:1 ratio from electrolysed water could be persuaded to produce anomalous heat when recombined again. This work was supported by a donation from ‘E-Cat World.com’ readers, and in return we reported on our findings, though donations eventually comprised only about 25% of the total cost.  The photograph below left shows the whole set-up. Mixed gas (referred to as HHO by many) is generated in the stainless-steel electrolyser on the right –shown with its 175A power supply – passes through an anti-flashback bubble tower and orange gas-drier. Then it recombines inside an inverted steel beaker full of air, which was in turn inside a water-filled calorimeter tank. The inner stainless steel combustion chamber is shown in the image on the extreme right.



The claim we were asked to investigate was that HHO recombined by blowing it onto the surface of a chunk of car exhaust catalyser – as can be seen in the central image above – produced more heat than simply burning an equivalent volume of gas as a naked flame.  It was hypothesised that the cause of the excess heat claimed was LENR (low energy nuclear reactions) taking place on –and because of – precious metals used to coat the catalyser matrix.

Testing involved a pretty steep learning curve. HHO is wildly explosive even in small amounts. Pure Hydrogen is a pussy-cat in comparison, hardly any wilder then Propane, but mixed with pure Oxygen it is like Nitroglycerine. After several small explosions (only 12mm thick Lexan Polycarbonate was harmed) we arrived at a moderately safe setup which on occasions gave what seemed to be reliable and repeatable results. By using comparative calorimetry to avoid many complications and taking steps to equalise gas volumes, start, finish, and ambient temperatures etc. we eventually felt confident of our methods and findings.

The reality was we can find no significant difference between the heat produced by catalytic re-combination and by using a simple flame. Also there was no radiation detected from open-air catalytic recombination tests in terms of betas, gammas, or X-rays. At the time we had no Neutron detector, or any fool-proof Alpha detection method. Perhaps someone else using a different method – or a different catalyser sample – will demonstrate a real and solid anomaly, but LFL could not. We very much hope someone else will be successful – strange events are by their very nature more interesting than non-events – and look forward to hearing about it.


Alan Smith, with grateful acknowledgment of the support of ECW members and LFL’s right-hand man, Martin. 20 sept 2015

















  • Mats002

    Great news! I was thinking about the HHO discussions the other day – what happened?
    The concept was named H-Cat, right? Of course finding excess heat would have been more interesting but this is anyhow a step closer to truth.

    I also remember some HHO (browns gas) products on the market that claim for higher effiency in normal car motors: http://oktanplus.com
    But that might be another story of known chemical reactions.

    • builditnow

      The effect of HHO in internal combustion engines (which wonder about the claims) may be improving the burn speed or completeness. I get the impression that it may work in some engines but not in others. It may allow for a much leaner fuel mix for instance, but, this would not work for modern engines with smog controls as they are have tightly controlled fuel mixtures and all sorts of tricks with valve timing, chamber shape, stratified charges (where the mixture is rich around the spark plug but leans out elsewhere).

      The other possibility is faster burn speeds, so, instead of igniting the fuel 30 degrees before top dead center, ignition could be closer to top dead center, resulting in some increased efficiency.

      Fast burn speed could help engines with large cylinders.
      And then there is the question as to whether HHO in internal combustion engines works at all to improve efficiency. I doubt it’s LENR.

  • builditnow

    Alan, thanks for all the good work and thanks for all those who donated to the effort.
    Feeling for you about being scammed.

    What temperatures did you achieve in the catalyst?
    Did you get to white hot?

    The other factor is that the claims were made by blowing browns gas at the catalyst, so, some air would have been mixed in. I have doubts as to whether this matters or not.

    A test rig that blew the browns gas through the catalyst mixed with air, where the gas could be ignited before going through the catalyst or allowed to react in the catalyst, then measure exhaust and input temperature under the same conditions. Alternate between the two conditions and watch the temperature rise. There would be challenges preventing the gas from igniting in all cases.
    Preheating of the air going in could help alter the temperatures in the system. Perhaps a car catalyst fully assembled would work.

    My bias is that if there is an LENR effect, it will be quite small in comparison to the chemical energy. But, hey, who knows.

    • Alan Smith

      Thank you for the sympathy re being scammed. An old story- if it seems too good to be true, it is!
      To answer some of the questions, comparing the observed colour with a material colour temperature chart suggests raw HHO will heat a small spot on the catalyst to 900-1000C – orange to yellow.
      Heating the same matrix at the same distance with a flame or catalytically is problematic as proof of much at all unless done inside a calorimeter – where it is not so easy to be sure that the almost invisible flame is alight or not.
      Why the calorimeter requirement? Because the presence of the flame changes the airflow pattern around the matrix -and also the flame radiates heat away from the system before it even touches base. There is another issue- some of the gases might only recombine deep inside the chunk of cat – whereas a flame impinging on the surface delivers most of its heat at the surface.
      Potentially this makes such methods very prone to errors.
      As you suggest, maybe an experiment done at a different scale would work- but the lack of any detected radiation suggests to me that this is a dead issue. But it has been fascinating, fun, and at times a little scary.
      HHO is dangerous stuff, mess wuth it at your peril!

  • Allan Shura

    This whole experiment was prompted by claims of a high temperature without the flame when
    HHO was directed inside a muffler in contact with catalyst. To be honest I suspected a hot spot from the type of measurement. There was no mention of the effect of the confined space on the heating result by those who first theorised about this phenomenon.

  • Agaricus

    Thank you very much for the update, Alan. I hope that some of your other lines of enquiry yield more positive results. At least (as Edison might have observed) we have not failed, we’ve just found one more way that doesn’t work.