I want someone with a little more chem-mystery under their belt to check this out for me.
How much energy is relased when Hydrogen combines with Carbon and how does this compare with Hydrogen and Oxygen PER WEIGHT OF REACTANTS? The motivation behind this question is this: Even if this ratio were improved only by a few percent, the benefit would compound itself many times over since every pound of rocket fuel you don't need is another pound of payload you can carry. If you do it the other way you have to add hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds of fuel to add just one pound of payload.
On the one hand, to burn Oxygen and Hydrogen in a rocket one loses energy breaking up the O2 molecule into two O1's that each combine with one H2 this gives us two molecules of water. On the other hand, one carbon atom can combine with two H2's. The carbon atom not only combines with twice as many Hydrogen atoms as the oxygen molecule, but it weighs less in the first place, having an atomic weight of 14 vs. 16 for oxygen. It looks like it might be as good as two and a quarter to one improvement.