Device Uses Electrical Field to Boost Gas Efficiency


A Temple University physics professor has developed a simple device that could dramatically improve fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent.

According to Rongjia Tao, chair of Temple's Physics Department, 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. With the use of a power supply from the vehicle's battery, 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, he says.

Six months of road testing in a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz automobile showed that the device increased highway fuel from 32 miles per gallon to 38 mpg, a 20 percent boost, and a 12-15 percent gain in city driving.

The results of the laboratory and road tests verifying that this simple device can boost gas mileage were published in Energy & Fuels, a bimonthly journal published by the American Chemical Society.

"We expect the device will have wide applications on all types of internal combustion engines, present ones and future ones," Tao wrote in the published study, "Electrorheology Leads to Efficient Combustion."

Temple has applied for a patent on the technology, which has been licensed to California-based Save The World Air, Inc., an environmentally conscientious enterprise focused on the design, development, and commercialization of revolutionary technologies targeted at reducing emissions from internal combustion engines.

According to Joe Dell, vice president of Marketing, the company is working with a trucking company near Reading, Pa., to test the device on diesel-powered trucks, where he estimates it could increase fuel efficiency as much as six to12 percent.

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