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Fuel economy gets a jolt from electric field

Posted: 13 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fuel economy? electric field? Temple University researchers?

Fuel economy could be boosted by as much as 20 percent by adding a small device that applies an electric field to fuel before it enters internal combustion engines.

Researchers at Temple University (Philadelphia) who invented the device, recently completed six months of road testing with a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz. The tests increased fuel efficiency from 32 to 38 MPG on highways (a 20 percent boost) and a 12 to 15 percent gain in city-driving mileage. The researchers claim the device could also be adapted to gasoline, biodiesel and kerosene.

The device draws power from vehicle batteries to electrically charge a tube used for fuel injection, thereby reducing fuel viscosity and increasing MPG. Since the electrically-charged fuel is thinner, the researchers said engine injectors create smaller droplets, enabling cleaner, more efficient combustion.

Save The World Air, a green design and development company seeking to reduce auto emissions, has been licensed by Temple University to commercialize the technology. The company is retrofitting the device onto diesel trucks for testing. It estimates the device could save the embattled U.S. trucking industry as much as 12 percent in fuel costs.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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