02 Oct 2008 05:10:29
Diesel viscosity lowered for higher efficiency
Diesel engines can improve fuel efficiency by up to 19 per cent and generate less emissions with the help of a new device.
The gadget, developed at Temple University in Pennsylvania, uses a strong electric field to reduce the viscosity of the fuel prior to injecting it into the engine.
Researchers used the new physics principle that electrorheology reduces the viscosity of petroleum fuels.
Runnier fuel is then sprayed in smaller droplets which burn more completely as there is a higher surface area than with the bigger drops of more viscous fuel.
"This is the biggest efficiency increase since the advent of fuel injection," Rongjia Tao from Temple University told New Scientist.
The prototype, which underwent six months' worth of tests on a 2002 Mercedes-Benz 300D, showed a 12 per cent to 15 per cent increase in fuel efficiency in urban conditions and 19 per cent boost under highway conditions.
The device, which cost less than $200 (£113) to produce, has been licensed to Save the World Air, which is testing it in haulage vehicles.
According to the company, its technologies have reduced air pollution in combustion engines by as much as 98 per cent while boosting fuel efficiency by up to 33 per cent.http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn14833-fuel-t...