We have had inquiries from potential customers asking about using our Hypochlorous Acid Generators for use as Hydrogen Generators. Being that our HOCl Generators were not designed to be used as a food grade product, we discouraged the purchase of it for that purpose (it's a good thing we did, but we'll get to that later).
Up until that point, we had been unaware of the popular trend of drinking Hydrogenated Water. However, once it was brought to our attention, we did a little research. Their has been minimal studies regarding the efficacy of drinking Hydrogen Water (not a lot of money in it for the big business, so they haven't sponsored any studies). The basic premise is that Hydrogen is full of anti-oxidants, so by infusing the water with pure Hydrogen it will vastly increase one antioxidant intake, leading to a variety of health benefits.
What we also noticed was, that like many other products we sell, there was a lot of misinformation regarding the available Hydrogen Generators on the market. Some of it was exaggerated claims, others were straight out fraud.
The most efficient way to produce Hydrogen Water, and the only way to keep the Ozone out of the water, is by using an SPE/PEM membrane (for details so more about this later one).
High quality SPE/PEM membranes are not cheap and add a significant cost to the Hydrogen Generator. As a result, many Hydrogen Generators that are advertised as containing and SPE/PEM membrane, do not actually have one. We have even seen products that advertise a vent for expelling Ozone, yet do not have the PEM membrane that would be necessary to separate the Ozone.
So how do you know if your Hydrogen Generator has a good SPE/PEM membrane
That is a great question, and even if you would want to open it up, and check out the guts, you still may not be able to figure it out. So here are some tips.
1) Smell, Ozone has a strong chlorine like odor. If the water produced by your hydrogen generator smells like chlorine, then it likely does not have and PEM membrane
2) Increased bubbles over time. In order for a Hydrogen Generator to work optimally, the membrane needs to be saturated with water. Typically, this involves filling it with water and running it 6-8 cycles. If it has a PEM, then you will notice a vast increase in the amount of bubbles produced.
3) Self Cleaning Function. Over time, mineral deposits can build up on the electrodes. Some Hydrogen Generators have a self cleaning function. This works by releasing concentrated ozone into the electrodes and up through the bottle. However, if the Hydrogen Generator has a PEM, that would not be possible, as Ozone can not penetrate through a PEM membrane
4) Price, I hate to use this one because some might think I am trying to justify the cost of our Hydrogen Generator, but the fact is that quality PEM membranes are not cheap (and FYI, our are priced very well considering the cost of the quality parts used)
HOW SPE/PEM HYDROGEN GENERATION WORKS (if overly technical stuff bores you, stop here)
Hydrogen exists in every water molecule (it is the "H" in H20). By electrolyzing water, it causes the Hydrogen to separate from the Oxygen and form pure Hydrogen Molcules. So far so good, but here is where it can lead to problems. This process also generates pure Oxygen Molecules that bind to form Ozone (O3), unless something prevents the Ozone from doing so, it will mix with the water together with the Hydrogen, causing the water to not only be Hydrogen enriched, but Ozone enriched as well, not something one would want to drink.
There has been a solution for this problem by using a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane, otherwise known as a SPE/PEM Membrane .PEM membranes block protons, while allowing electrons to pass through.
PEM electrolysis consists of 2 electrodes seperated by a PEM Membrane. The lower cathode electrode, separates Hydrogen Ions from the Oxygen, the PEM membrane only allows electrons, in this case the Hydrogen Ions, to pass through into the bottle, while the Oxygen (and the Ozone that forms) is blocked, and vents out through the bottom.
As the Hydrogen passes through the membrane it makes contact with the Anode electron, forming pure Hydrgoen Gas, that infuses the water in the bottle, thereby creating Hydrogen Water.