Expert Insights

Hydrogen Peroxide Powered Vehicles

Dave Nichols
Jul 2023
What if the cleanest fuel on earth turned out to be made from hydrogen peroxide? You know, that stuff that people use to bleach their hair? Cecil Mills thinks H2O2 powered vehicles could be the answer to our current and future energy woes.
Engineers working at a computer

Hydrogen Fuel that Produces Oxygen

We recently got a call from a man in Louisiana who has been a mechanic, racer, and gearhead for over 40 years. Cecil Mills knows how to make vehicles perform and he is working on a patent for a new extremely efficient engine that runs on hydrogen peroxide. Yep, that chemical compound (H2O2) that is used in hair bleaching and for whitening teeth. The difference between water (H2O) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is that the latter contains two oxygen atoms.

In a world that is running headfirst into an all-electric car future, Mr. Mills tells us to consider other possibilities. “Most of us like breathing,” Cecil tells us. “We don’t think about it much or know exactly what we are breathing. Today the subject of air pollution and smog control is on everyone’s mind and there’s a focus on creating zero emission vehicles.” Governments and automakers are focused on reducing emissions by 45 percent by 2030 to limit global warming with the hopes of reaching net zero by 2050.

“Oil companies and the U.S. government are spending big bucks on hydrogen fuel cell technology, mostly produced through the use of fossil fuels, hoping to see how ‘green’ they are,” Cecil says. “The hope and promise of H2 is that we can make an endless supply of it cheaply. But no matter how cheaply you make it, storage of hydrogen is expensive, and liability is high. Most people know that we can produce hydrogen electrolytically from water. Mixing atmospheric O2 and H2 in fuel cells makes H2O, reducing O2 in the atmosphere.”

Cecil reminds us that, “gasoline engines suck a huge amount of air for combustion. They pull from 75 to 100 pounds of air for every gallon of gas used at a ratio of 12.5 to 15 parts by weight of air to each part of fuel, respectively. Oxygen is the ‘active ingredient’ in combustion engines, just as it is in human physiology. Your body converts O2 to CO2 at a rate of six to ten pounds of air per day. In round numbers, our air is composed of about 80 percent Nitrogen and 20 percent Oxygen with a few percent mix of rare gasses and toxic pollutants. Note that a one percent change in the air you breathe, say from 20 percent O2 to 19 percent conversion from O2 to CO2, is actually a five percent reduction in O2.”

Does combining more Oxygen to unburned hydrocarbons to reduce particle size – the EPA standard PM 10 versus PM 2.5 (reducing particulate matter from 10 microns to 2.5 microns) – reduce air pollution? Perhaps not, but it is less visible; still there but harder to see. “NOx is formed from Nitrogen and Oxygen in air, during the heat and pressure of combustion,” Cecil reminds us. According to the World Health Organization, over seven million people die prematurely due to the effects of air pollution each year.

representation of h2o2 hydrogen peroxide molecule

Hydrogen Peroxide: How It Works

That’s where Cecil Mills comes in. “What if I told you there is a fuel that is so clean and renewable, it might reverse both air pollution and Global Warming and we can make it from sunshine and water… even sea water?” Cecil proclaims. “It is safer, easier, and cheaper to store than hydrogen. This fuel is in fact 20 times denser than cryogenic H2 (11.7 lbs./gal. versus .59 lbs./gal.) at ambient temperatures and pressures.”

Interestingly, this proposed “cleanest fuel source” is well known to the world’s fastest racing enthusiasts. It has powered both the World’s Fastest Drag Racer (since 1977) and the last American Land Speed Record Holder. Both World Records were taken through the use of a fuel that is water-based and this Cleanest Fuel actually produces that most immediate human necessity… Oxygen.

Cecil Mills’ hydrogen peroxide engine differs from ordinary combustion engines by the fact that the fuel (90 percent H2O2) bears its own oxygen, more than sufficient for the reaction, so air as a combustion oxygen source is unnecessary. Cecil explains that this has a side effect of eliminating NOx from the exhaust. “And there's no carbon in the fuel, so the best part engine wise, is getting rid of the three parasitic air pumping cycles which improves mechanical efficiency greatly. It's a 100 percent power cycle, just like turbines except it has an enclosed or ‘confined’ reaction volume, unlike turbines or so-called ‘turbo-pumps’ that are used to fuel rockets and it features an internment firing cycle in time to that volume closure.”

Manufacturer’s data by the official U.S. Government contractor/supplier for 90 percent H2O2 (Technical Bulletin #46 from the Manufacturing Chemists Association) indicates it expands 5,000 times as it flashes from a liquid state to superheated steam (hot H20 at 1375`f) and oxygen gas; 90 percent H2O2 decomposes to 57.7 percent water (steam) and 43.3 percent Oxygen gas. That’s 4.94 pounds per gallon. The Contractor’s data also states, “complete safety has been experienced in all Government programs using concentrated H2O2 as a fuel.” Cecil explains that most of the government’s H2O2 projects are “classified.”

“At 5,000 times 14.7 (one atmosphere) that means, theoretically, 100 percent decomposed 90 percent H2O2 could generate nearly 75,000 PSI,” Cecil says. “I have no idea what could contain that. Top Fuel cars reportedly touch 13,000 for an instant, just before exploding. Containment and leakage may be our biggest engine concern in terms of time and is the key to long and successful engine life and happy customers.”

twelve wind turbines spinning in the ocean

Positive Emissions Program

“Our long-range goals are to build a 500 mph ‘OMEGA Class’ Streamliner for the Automotive Prototype,” Cecil confides. His LA.BULLET program was previously sponsored by Chrysler Corporation and Larry Henry of the Original Ramchargers Race Team at Mopar Performance in the 1990’s. “I’ve made an assignment of my Patent to Louisiana State University Alexandria (LSUA) and want to thank my mentor and guidance counselor Dr. Paul Coreil, Chancellor of LSUA. His wisdom, faith and honesty has made LSUA the first University on the planet to be informed and involved with our Positive Emissions program. I am offering other universities a similar patent research license assignment as well as Gretchen Watkins, President of Shell USA, which has an ongoing energy research project in conjunction with LSU,” Cecil concludes.

Shell USA has a history of sponsoring both Formula One and Land Speed cars at the leading edge of automotive technology and has developed what may be the cleanest and most cost-effective method of manufacturing H2O2 yet. “Now it’s my turn,” Cecil Mills grins. “I aim to try it myself.” Mills is trying to get Coreil a plant through Shell, engineering the Shell Titanium dioxide/water/sunshine H2O2 process. Shell recently gave LSU 27 million dollars for energy research.

Cecil was licensed by NASA to investigate improvements to its H2O2 concentration process that used permeable membrane technology, similar to fuel cells, to separate water from the process. It is important to note that H2O2 can be produced through the use of oil, but Cecil explains that water is the better way to create hydrogen peroxide for fuel. “H2O-based fuel is obviously the cleanest fuel on Earth. While oil-based H2O2 is subsidized, hard to make, and expensive, water-based H2O2 is not.”

race car driver tightening helmet before race

Racing with Hydrogen Peroxide

When it comes to racing, H2O2 has been used as fuel for rocket cars since Dick Keller built the environmentally clean X-1 in 1965. His Blue Flame car later went 630.388 mph, setting a World Land Speed Record on the Bonneville Salt Flats that lasted from 1970 to 1983. In December 1976, Kitty O’Neil took her H2O2-powered three-wheeled rocket car called the SMI Motivator through Oregon’s Alvord Desert with an average speed of 512.710 mph. O’Neil’s runs reportedly used 60 percent of the available thrust and Kitty was quoted as saying that she could have reached over 700 mph with full power. The following year, Kitty clocked the quickest quarter mile in FIA history of 3.22 seconds at a top speed of 412 mph, in a H2O2 rocket car called the Pollution Packer.

Richard Brown, a British engineer, became the fastest man on two wheels in September 1999, when his Gillette Mach 3 Challenger H2O2 rocket-powered motorcycle hit 332 miles per hour at Bonneville. “All I can say is the G force is absolutely obscene,” Brown told researchers during a hydrogen peroxide fuel conference. The 26-foot-long vehicle was powered by rockets that used hydrogen peroxide as an oxidizer.

“Unlike the hydrogen peroxide that is found in drugstores, which is about 97 percent water, the rocket-propulsion variety has just the opposite concentration – 3 percent water and 97 percent hydrogen peroxide – and it has had critical contaminants removed,” says Stephen Heister, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue University. “Such a propulsion system would provide an alternative to today's nonrenewable hydrocarbon fuels that are processed from crude oil,” Heister says.

prototype hydrogen powered car from Toyota

The Future of H202

However, Cecil Mills tells us that the world’s cleanest fuel is being stifled by the U.S. government by placing hydrogen peroxide on a “Terrorist List.” On Homeland Security’s list of 344 chemicals that are used by terrorists to create bombs, hydrogen peroxide (used in paper factories to bleach paper), can be used in the production of liquid explosives. Federal law requires 400 pounds or more of a chemical mixture in which the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is 35 percent or higher be reported to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “Safety is our biggest consideration for consumer acceptance,” Cecil says. “The average consumer is unlikely to need 400 pounds of fuel. We advocate for a safe, practical, and tamper resistant system that meets ‘compliance standards.’ H2O2 is nothing to fool around with, just like gasoline or any other fuel.”

According to a detailed study by the National Library of Medicine, H2O2 is regarded as an environmentally benign energy carrier and can be used to produce fuel cells for electric vehicles. As we move ever closer to the use of alternative fuels and EVs to come into alignment with the Paris Accord, vastly reducing the use of fossil fuels, the world may turn to H2O2 since it is efficient, renewable, clean and offers zero emissions. That will certainly be the case if Cecil Mills has his way. He ended our interview by saying, “Shouldn’t H2O2 be the real top fuel?”