Washington, September 30 : A Temple University researcher has come up with a simple device that can help improve automobiles' fuel efficiency by 20 per cent.
Rongjia Tao, Chair of Temple's Physics Department, has revealed that the small device harnesses a power supply from a vehicle's battery to create an electric field that thins fuel, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine.
He says that the process, in turn, leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion than a standard fuel injector.
The researcher says that six months of road testing in a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz automobile has shown that the device can increase highway fuel from 32mpg to 38mpg, a 20 per cent boost, and a 12 to 15 per cent gain in city driving.
"We expect the device will have wide applications on all types of internal combustion engines, present ones and future ones. Electrorheology Leads to Efficient Combustion," he wrote in the study papers, published in the bi-monthly journal Energy and Fuels.
Tao believes that even better mileage can be achieved with further improvements in the device.
He insists that the device can be best utilised for engines powered by gasoline, biodiesel, and kerosene.
Temple has licensed the new device to California-based Save The World Air, an environmentally conscientious enterprise, which is currently working with a trucking company near Reading to test it on diesel-powered trucks.
Joe Dell, the Vice President of Marketing for STWA, estimates the device can increase fuel efficiency of truck by as much as six to 12 per cent.
According to him, such an increase in fuel efficiency can save tens of billions of dollars in the trucking industry, and have a major impact on the economy through the lowering of costs to deliver goods and services.
"Temple University is very excited about the translation of this new important technology from the research laboratory to the marketplace," said Larry F. Lemanski, Senior Vice President for Research and Strategic Initiatives at Temple.
"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."