It is now the year 2008 and the world has changed remarkably from what it was 35 years ago. Population has increased dramatically and there has been a substantial transfer of wealth from the “have” nations to the rising economies. People who rode donkeys and bicycles several decades ago now want to join the automotive way of life, and they want it now.
From a global standpoint this has introduced a strain on what was more or less a balanced supply / demand situation with respect to world oil supplies. Supply is now trailing demand and the gap continues to widen. This situation has become very evident and is now reflected in gasoline prices at the pump. The problem is especially traumatic for North American families who generally live in suburban areas and are very much dependant on the family car for every day activities. Euoropean drivers have become accustomed to $8 /gal. gasoline, but $4 /gal. fuel shocks North Americans. WHAT TO DO?
It goes without saying that this type of scenario has triggered the interest of those who would like to sell information and hardware to alleviate the problem . This ranges from basic advice on driving habits to more sophisticated solutions involving the installation and maintenance of complex hardware. Some of these “solutions” have merit based on technical analysis, others are questionable. Most however require substantial knowledge of how the gasoline engine works especially with respect to the complex interactions between the ECM (control computer) , the performance sensors, and the factory program written to maximize efficiency and observe government imposed restrictions. There are also important safety and warranty requirements to consider. All of this indicates the need for substantial expertise before embarking on the installation of components and modifications advocated by the purveyors of such systems.
One area of consideration where there has been documented proof of successful energy savings is that of fuel enhancement. It is not as simple as some would suggest, it does require considerable expertise, but if correctly implemented it actually does save on consumption This involves the hydrolysis of water in an onboard sealed container to produce hydrogen and oxygen in the form of oxyhydrogen. The process only produces while the vehicle engine is operating and the resultant gases are immediately drawn into the intake manifold thus removing the problem of hydrogen storage. However the design must include prevention of hydrogen back-fire, a most important consideration.
Hydrogen for general commercial usage is manufactured from petro-chemical stock . The process is expensive and dangerous and requires extensive safety measures, especially for storage purposes. Stored hydrogen has been used experimentally directly as a fuel and as a fuel additive but the over all costs have proven too high for any benefits obtained. As already documented the most practical and economical way to produce hydrogen in small volumes is by the electrolysis of water. The resultant gases ( H2 & O2 ) can be utilized as they are produced. For the purpose of fuel enhancement there is a two stage benefit :
These benefits are not obtained without the requirement of extra input energy because the electrolytic process is powered by the on- board alternator which provides power in accordance with demand.
The basic costs of installing such a system are quite reasonable in view of the potential benefits. However the expertise required and careful selection of materials do pose an extra cost factor. In addition there is the question of any existing warrantees and the issue of safety.
The many installation kits available contain all major components as well as numerous auxiliary pieces. However some include the use of bungee cords and glue which does not instill a feeling of confidence. Professional assistance should be called upon to choose parts that are reliable in all respects, and to help ascertain that a given system will be compatible with the vehicle in question.
The two major components of such systems are as follows:
Potentiometer input correction is not required for older cars with carburetor fuel control. In such cases fixed carburetor adjustments and/or modifications should be effected by a competent mechanic.
There are other fuel saving considerations that are quite different in form and theory. These encompass procedures such as fuel additives and fuel line modifications. Some fuel additives have shown possible improvement but the underlying science has to be further defined and professionally proven. Direct procedures that are invasive to the fuel line should only be considered when factory warranty no longer applies and professional advice is obtained.
Fuel economy can be achieved with professional tune-ups on a regular basis, maintain recommended tire pressure, and by driving conservatively. These contribute to saving cash, however the degree of savings will vary depending on the type of vehicle in question and the determination of the owner to follow the above consistently. Additional procedures that involve modifications and the installation of extraneous devices have been proven to offer considerable savings, however these should be assessed by a qualified professional, taking into account operating procedures and cost versus benefit profile.
Further information concerning potential fuel economy is available at www.magnumperformance.info .