Simple device could boost fuel efficiency by 20%

Credit: Temple University

Researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia have come up with a simple device that could boost fuel efficiency by as much as 20%.

The simple device attaches to a vehicle’s fuel line near the fuel injector and creates an electric field that thins the fuel. The result is that smaller droplets of fuel are injected into the engine leading to more efficient and cleaner combustion, claim the researchers.

In road tests with a diesel Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the device boosted fuel efficiency from 32 mpg to 38 mpg, a 20% increase. City driving with the device yielded a 12-15% boost.

Lead researcher Rongjia Tao says that the device could be applied to all types of internal combustion engine and could work with all types of fuel including biodiesel and kerosene. Improving the device could leader to even greater increases in fuel efficiency, he adds.

The patented technology has been licensed to Californian company Save The World Air, which is now working with a trucking company to test the device further.

“This discovery promises to significantly improve fuel efficiency in all types of internal combustion engine powered vehicles and at the same time will have far-reaching effects in reducing pollution of our environment,” comments Larry F. Lemanski, senior VP for Research and Strategic Initiatives at Temple University.

For further information:
R. Tao, K. Huang, H. Tang, and D. Bell. Electrorheology Leads to Efficient Combustion. Energy Fuels (2008), doi: 10.1021/ef8004898

01 October 2008