Evidence that inexpensive device boosts fuel economy by up to 20 percent

Sep 29, 2008
A new device could enhance fuel economy by up to 20 percent. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Amid sticker-shock fuel prices, researchers in Pennsylvania are reporting results of laboratory tests and road tests verifying that a simple, inexpensive device attached to a car engine's fuel injector can boost gas mileage by up to 20 percent. That translates into several more precious miles per gallon, they say. Their study is scheduled for the November 19 issue of ACS' Energy & Fuels.

In the new study, Rongjia Tao and colleagues describe development and testing of a new fuel economy booster. The small device consists of an electrically charged tube that can be attached to the fuel line of a car's engine near the fuel injector.

The device creates an electric field that thins fuel, or reduces its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. That leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion than a standard fuel injector, the researchers say.

Six months of road testing in a diesel car showed that the device increased highway fuel from 33 miles per gallon (mpg) to 37 mpg. "We expect the device will have wide applications on all types of internal combustion engines, present ones and future ones," the report states, citing engines powered by gasoline, biodiesel, and kerosene. Further improvements in the device could lead to even better mileage, they suggest.

Article: "Electrorheology Leads to Efficient Combustion", dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef8004898

Source: American Chemical Society

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User comments : 25

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a3an
2 / 5 (10) Sep 29, 2008
Wow, something the Russians won't like !
Velanarris
3.6 / 5 (5) Sep 29, 2008
4 mpg on a diesel isn't a huge breakthrough, but it's a breakthrough none the less.

My question would be did they test this with a propane injector unit already installed on the vehicle, as a propane injection unit goes from an 80% efficient diesel engine to a 98% efficient diesel engine, and they've been in common usage in the heavy trucking industry for a long time.
NeilFarbstein
2 / 5 (11) Sep 29, 2008
OK Looks like it will take minimal R&D money from other important projects.
Thadieus
1.7 / 5 (9) Sep 29, 2008
Dame it!!!
Sincerely,
Mobil, BP, Chevron, Etc.
jeffsaunders
5 / 5 (3) Sep 29, 2008
ok what is the difference between this news article and this news article?

http://www.physor...725.html

enquiring m inds would like to know.
Glis
1 / 5 (4) Sep 29, 2008
Jeff: Nadda.

I'm suprised that they don't mention hexane cracking anywhere.
mike352
2.4 / 5 (5) Sep 30, 2008
Look at the source of each of these articles ... one is published by the American Chemical Society and the other by the university of the researchers. Physorg doesn't write hardly any of their own articles.
Soylent
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 30, 2008
Dame it!!!
Sincerely,
Mobil, BP, Chevron, Etc.


Fuel saving devices that increase the utillity of oil products is exactly what oil companies want; that makes oil harder to replace and allows people to spend just as much money for less oil.

Further, the "big oil" companies you listed are now bit players of little significance to anyone.
Roach
3.3 / 5 (3) Sep 30, 2008
I can see how better atomization in a Diesel is a big breakthrough, but isn't it less of an issue with Gasoline since the fuels is already volitile and atomizes rather easily.
Velanarris, It wouldn't do anything for an LPG or natural gas vehicle since those use a gaseous fuel and don't require vaporization of the fuel.
Bazz
3.3 / 5 (6) Sep 30, 2008
I am very skeptic about these claims, as every device claiming similar gains failed to deliver.

If there would be a 20% gain in fuel efficiency, expect it to be mandatory in the near future, this would be the easiest way to reduce CO2 so far, Its just too easy imo.

I hope its real, but hope alone wont change fuel consumption.
Pedro16
2.5 / 5 (2) Sep 30, 2008
Looks extemely fishy to me.
A claimed 20% improvement is enormous, the worlds energy problems would be solved at a stroke. Incredible. Nobel prize material.
Funny there is no mention of it on Professor Tao's webpage:
http://www.temple...tao.html
Also I can find no independant corroboration of the article which does not originate from STWA Inc. who sponsored it.
So don't believe everything you read on the web, even on Physorg.com.
lengould100
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 30, 2008
I'll still need to see proof. Truck engine manufacturers worldwide have been spending huge funds to gain 1/2% in diesel efficiency. For something as simple as this to gain 20% in net efficiency seems too good to be true. Possible I suppose, but .... One question is, where does the gain come from? Is it reducing the total energy going out the exhaust as heat (typically 40% of total energy in). Must be, because it's VERY difficult to see how simply electrifying the fuel can reduce the thermal conductivity of the cylinder walls, valve cooling circuits etc. Possibly if the engine power increases a LOT with no increase in cylinder wall temperature, but how likely is that? To gain 20% of total from the exhaust heat loss would mean that the engine only would put out 20% instead of 40% total energy as exhaust heat, which means that the pistons must expand the exhaust gases by a very much larger ratio, again highly questionable.

Don't invest until an independent engineer knowledgeable in thermodynamics investigates the workings.
SLam_to
4 / 5 (1) Sep 30, 2008
What car did they test, what type of diesel engine was it?

It was an old diesel engine, then I could possibly see a 20% increase. But if it's a recently developed engine, those suckers really atomize the gas through very fine injectors.
googleplex
1 / 5 (2) Sep 30, 2008
It sounds like the device imparts an electric charge on the fuel mist particles. Presumably this encourages repulsion between the particles and improves the fine particulate size. This leads to an increase in surface area of the fuel and improves combustion efficiency. The side effects are more heat, less big chain hydro-carbons (smoke).
The 20% efficiency is useless because it is based on road driving. The road conditions could have changed which would swamp this with error.
holmstar
4 / 5 (4) Sep 30, 2008
Electrorheology generally relates to fluids that become MORE viscous when an electric field is applied, not less... keep your skeptic hats on people.
holmstar
5 / 5 (2) Sep 30, 2008
It sounds like the device imparts an electric charge on the fuel mist particles.


Actually, no. Their paper states that such a method could be used but would probably use too much electricity to be practical.
googleplex
3 / 5 (1) Sep 30, 2008
It sounds like the device imparts an electric charge on the fuel mist particles.


Actually, no. Their paper states that such a method could be used but would probably use too much electricity to be practical.


Thanks.
Soylent
4 / 5 (2) Sep 30, 2008
Oh, looks like I really twisted some nipples with that response. You hippies can't stand a little reality intruding on your big oil fantasies?
Glis
not rated yet Oct 02, 2008
If this is the kind of crap you like to defend then take a trip on over to keelynet.com. Don't get me wrong, it's an interesting idea, but most likely complete BS.

Keely is cool, but as Holm said, keep that skeptic hat on. Just because something is published doesn't mean it's true.
Velanarris
not rated yet Oct 02, 2008
Roach, a propane injection unit is added to a diesel engine to atomize the diesel fuel. Not to run the vehicle on propane.
bmcghie
not rated yet Oct 04, 2008
I have an idea that will increase your gas mileage by 100%. First, find somebody with the same mass as you, then drive them somewhere when you both happen to have the same destination in mind. Failing that, buy a bike. It should be possible for everybody in good shape to bike about 30km a day. If you commute further than that each day, I would like to extend my sincerest condolences, and curse the guy who planned the city in which you live.
Crossrip
not rated yet Oct 05, 2008
I have been following this technology for months. I manage a fleet of large diesel powered vessels (ships) and would love to fit these on my engines. I contacted the company via email after I read an article about how they fit these devices to trucks and have not heard back from them. Nor have I seen any real hard data to support their claims. My fuel bill for one ship can be upwards of $20,000.00 per week, I would love to knock $4000.00 per week off that bill and would gladly pay to do it.
Velanarris
not rated yet Oct 05, 2008
I have an idea that will increase your gas mileage by 100%. First, find somebody with the same mass as you, then drive them somewhere when you both happen to have the same destination in mind. Failing that, buy a bike. It should be possible for everybody in good shape to bike about 30km a day. If you commute further than that each day, I would like to extend my sincerest condolences, and curse the guy who planned the city in which you live.


That's a great idea unless you live in a regional climate that is absolutely brutal to do that in. I bet there isn't much bike riding going on in Alaska. I know there is none around MA in winter time.
BeastOfBodmin
not rated yet Oct 05, 2008
4 mpg on a diesel isn't a huge breakthrough, ...

It is significant on an American car. And they are the world's largest consumers, as well as having the lowest statutory efficiency limits of any country that has such limits.
doubletide
not rated yet Nov 25, 2008
This is a first class scam. However I am not sure whether Dr. Tao, a physics professor with no previous interest in internal combustion engines, had been taken advantage of by STWA people and got the "study" published in the well-known scholarly journal Energy and Fuels. But the story is not over yet. A university of Toronto combustion professor wrote a Comment on Tao's paper claiming that laws of thermodynamics are violated. See "Gulder "Comments on Electrorheology Leads Efficient Combustion by Tao et al." Energy and Fules, ASAP in press (doi:10.1021/ef800829v). Prof. Gulder's Comment can be accessed at http://arrow.utia...Z_Energy&Fuels2009comb_eff.pdf