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Fuel catalysts promise reduced emissions, better mileage

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - With government demanding the trucking industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, a number of new products promising to do just that have recently began popping up on store shelv...


ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – With government demanding the trucking industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, a number of new products promising to do just that have recently began popping up on store shelves.

The trucking industry, for the most part, has opposed ratification of the Kyoto Accord, instead offering to find its own way to reduce emissions. Makers of the Fitch Fuel Catalyst and the Rentar Fuel Catalyst, say they have a product enabling fleets to reduce their emissions, while recouping their investment in improved fuel efficiency.

Fuel catalysts aren’t exactly new technology. In fact, their use can be traced back to World War II when British pilots realized lining their fuel cells with tin prevented degradation of the fuel.

The catalysts available today use a combination of precious minerals, which provide an electro-magnetic reaction causing burnable molecules to reproduce. This allows the engine to burn cleaner, reducing emissions dramatically while at the same time improving fuel efficiency.

“The fuel catalyst breaks combustible components into smaller parts and it increases the number of molecules that combust completely,” explains Gary Sawyer, director of SED Technologies, Western Canadian distributor of the Fitch Fuel Catalyst. The end result is a significant reduction in hydrocarbons (such as NOx) – one of the emissions targeted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sawyer boasts the Fitch Fuel Catalyst is the only product of its kind to be EPA-approved.

“You increase the number of molecules that combust completely, thereby reducing emissions and increasing fuel mileage,” says Sawyer. He adds the Fitch typically results in a 68 per cent reduction in emissions coupled with a fuel savings ranging from five to 12 per cent.

The engines also tend to run smoother, says Sawyer, since the catalyst virtually eliminates pre-ignition.

The Fitch Fuel Catalyst can be installed by any mechanic or shop technician. It’s an inline system, installed along the fuel line after the primary filter. The system can be installed without voiding the truck’s warranty.

“There’s no pressure loss at all and it doesn’t change the octane rating,” says Sawyer. “It essentially just gives you more fuel molecules.”

Another reason fleets and owner/operators may be taking a hard look at fuel catalysts, is the potential savings in oil changes. With the new EGR engines now on the market, one of the disadvantages of the new engine is expected to be increased soot within the oil. Sawyer says test results indicate the catalyst reduces soot content significantly.

“They’re finding that the fleets are having to change their oil twice less per year, which is another significant savings,” says Sawyer.

With oil changes in the US pegged at about $200 a shot, this unit doesn’t take long to pay for itself.

In fact, Sawyer estimates the payback period to be as little as three months. He says it will also outlast the life of the engine and can be re-installed on a new truck.

The Rentar Fuel Catalyst was showcased at Truxpo, and the company says it has seen sales take off over the last year. The Rentar unit operates in much the same way as the Fitch. Eldon Heppner, president and chief executive officer of Rentar distributor, Intelligent Vehicle Systems (IVS), says “Any time you get an improvement in the burn or a more efficient burn, you’ll reduce the emissions.”

He says the Rentar can deliver fuel savings up to 38 per cent and emissions reductions of 50 per cent.

Fuel catalyst users will likely see a reduction in the black smoke emitted from the truck’s smokestack. Oddly, the Rentar Fuel Catalyst has provided better results here in Canada than it has south of the border.

“We’re trying to determine why we’re getting so much better results here in Canada than in the U.S.,” says Heppner. The company is conducting research to determine why the results are as much as twice as impressive in Canada.

Heppner suggests installing fuel catalysts should be viewed as an alternative to other methods of greenhouse gas emissions.

“In most cases, when industry has to do something to reduce emissions, it is an additional cash drain and cost to the business,” says Heppner. “This is something businesses are going to want to do regardless of the emissions because they can save money and secondly reduce emissions.”

The Rentar retails for about $2,395 while the Fitch Fuel Catalyst cost about $1,200. For more information about the Fitch, call Sawyer at 250-352-3903

For information about the Rentar Fuel Catalyst, call IVS at 866-763-1465.


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