Nanotechnology to slash NOx and “cancerous” emissions 04 September 2014

Nanotechnology used in the formation of stable fuel emulsions could slash the emissions of green house gases and cancerous particulate matter, according to UK firm SulNOx Fuel Fusions.

The company claims that white diesel – a mixture of fuel and water – cuts nitrogen oxide emissions and significantly reduces PM (particulate matter) by improving atomisation of the fuel, which helps the fuel to burn more fully and efficiently, while also lowering engine temperatures.

"The benefits of adding water to diesel fuel have been known since the early 1900s, but the problem has been stratification of the emulsion and the excessive cost to the consumer," agrees SulNOx director Stephen Bamford.

The problem is water and fuel don't mix and the results of introducing water into a combustion engine can be catastrophic.

But Bamford says SulNOx has overcome this by developing a mixing process that "smashes the fuel together at great speed and under high pressure" to alter the mixture "at a nano, or quantum level".

An additive is then injected into the mix, which helps to further stabilise the emulsion, that can then be burnt just like regular fuel in any engine, he asserts.

The company is holding its first public test of this new technology next today (4 September 2014) at the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge Surrey, where it is demonstrating the benefits of fuel emulsions on a 1959 Routemaster bus.

The test will involve the bus's engine initially running on regular diesel, while measurements are taken of PM, NOx and engine temperature. The fuel supply will then be switched to white diesel, mixed under laboratory conditions at the SulNOx testing centre, and the tests repeated.

Early indications suggest that NOx could be cut by between 50—60%, according to Bamford, while PM is reduced by more than 90%.

To validate its initial test results the company has commissioned global engineering specialist Ricardo and is now in talks with Cambridge University to carry out an independent testing programme.

"The challenge facing every country and company is how to reduce their emissions of toxic gasses and particulate matter, while still remaining competitive," comments Bamford.

"You simply can't ban the combustion engine tomorrow... Now science, and in particular the application of nanotechnology, has provided us with an answer."

Bamford explains that by altering the size of the fuel particles burnt at a nano-level, the efficiency of conventional combustion engines can be significantly improved without the need for costly modifications.

"This solution has the dual benefit of cutting pollution without damaging the economy," he insists.

"We are trying to target the most environmentally damaging industries like shipping first, but ultimately we want every drive to switch to emulsified fuel."

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
Cambridge University
Ricardo UK Ltd
SulNOx Fuel Fusions PLC

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