The Simple Facts
Retrofit device means any component that is designed to be installed in or on a motor vehicle as an addition, replacement, modification or alteration of any original component or equipment that would result in better fuel economy than the vehicle had when originally equipped. Retrofit devices include fuel additives and lubricants.
A motor vehicle is a machine used for transportation. This means its main mechanical function is movement or motion. The laws of physics limit the act of motion.
Motor vehicles need an energy source to overcome the obstacles of motion. Fuel provides the energy through combustion (oxidation) to release “heat.” The engine transforms the heat into kinetic energy (energy that is moving or causing motion) that turn the wheels propelling the vehicle down the road. So the heat of combustion is the key to propulsion of the vehicle.
Inertia, aerodynamic drag, road grades and rolling resistance all hamper motion:
- Inertia (Newton’s Law) is an object’s resistance to being moved or turned when it is moving (When you make a sharp turn in your car, you seem to be pushed to the outside of the curve. This is referred to as the centrifugal force. This force is not due to something actually pushing you in that direction, but by your body’s inertia trying to keep you moving in a straight line). Round objects on a flat surface have less resistance to being moved than square objects. The most efficient way to move a motor vehicle is on a round object called a wheel propelled along a flat surface called a road or track.
- Aerodynamic drag is the air standing in the way of the vehicle as it moves along. To demonstrate the air drag of a vehicle simply hold your arm out an open window as the vehicle travels down the road. If you hold your hand straight out, palm down, you have little aerodynamic drag, but if you turn your palm up you immediately feel much more drag. This is why motor vehicles are designed aerodynamically – with as little air drag as possible.
- Road grade is simply the course the road takes going in degrees of elevation up or down. Going up hill takes more energy than going down because of the effect of gravity. Gravity, as described by the dictionary, is “the natural force of attraction exerted by a celestial body, such as Earth, upon objects at or near its surface, tending to draw them toward the center of the body.”
- Rolling resistance comes from the friction on tires, wheels and axles. Friction is the resistance encountered when one object is moved in contact with another object. Wind blows harder over the ocean where it is not hampered by the same amount of friction it encounters when blowing over the rougher surface of land.
The inefficiency of the internal combustion engine takes an enormous amount of the energy (approximately 70%). This leaves only about 30% of the energy to be used to move the vehicle (this varies depending on the particular type of vehicle) or run other energy users like air conditioning and power steering, which take as much as 2% of the energy. Approximately 17% of this 30% is wasted as the motor vehicle sits at idle. In short, this means any retrofit device applied to the vehicle to conserve fuel only deals with approximately one third of the fuel. Retrofit devices, including fuel additives, cannot change a vehicle’s inertia, aerodynamic drag, the road grade or rolling resistance, but can only add power to overcome them. This means it is virtually impossible to improve fuel economy over a few percentage points by using a retrofit device alone.
Each obstacle to motion (inertia, air drag, road grade and rolling resistance) provides potential room for huge improvement in fuel economy, but they must be looked at as individual parts and not just as a whole.
As mentioned above motor vehicle fuel provides the energy through combustion or oxidation to release heat, which is converted into kinetic energy by the engine. Most motor vehicles use gasoline or diesel fuel as this energy source. A gallon of gasoline contains 114,100 Btu, while Fuel Oil #2 contains 129,800 Btu. The energy taken from this fuel is used to turn the wheels and propel the vehicle down the road or track. It is the heat of combustion then that is the key to propelling the vehicle.
Testing Fuel Efficiency
Most mileage claims made by retrofit devices are made based on improvement in fuel economy on motor vehicles that are in less than perfect condition. These claims are based on “restoring” economy lost as the vehicle declines, not on actually increasing the amount of heat taken from the fuel source. A true test of a retrofit device is how much additional energy can be gained by its use. In the case of RxP a recent test demonstrated that a 13.2% increase in thermal value could be gained burning biomass (tree parts) when RxP was added. This is a significant increase, but this increase was recorded on a flame. This flame was not a machine in motion. If we apply this figure to a motor vehicle (and assume it is utilizing 13% of the fuel to propelling the vehicle) we come up with 1.7% (13.2% of 13 = 1.7%). In tests conducted at Metro East Industries on locomotive engines RxP increased the fuel economy by 2.56%. In these tests the fuel was weighed and the engine was put under load on a dynamometer for specific lengths of time. RxP was added and the tests were done again. The measurements were compared and the results were that one gallon of fuel was saved for every 39 gallons that was burned. This is a significant improvement in fuel economy that results in a true savings in fuel cost, however even better results could have been achieved had this engine been run using RxP for a longer period of time.
Any vehicle’s fuel economy is the direct result of its resistance to movement. A vehicle sitting at idle gets zero miles per gallon. A locomotive engine sitting at idle in a switchyard, or an automobile, or bus sitting at a stoplight has this in common. It is estimated that 17% of the fuel used in a motor vehicle is wasted in this manner. Owners of automobiles equipped with instruments that report miles per gallon (MPG) could watch as the vehicle goes from zero MPG when stopped, and then climb as the vehicle overcomes the initial inertia and rolling resistance and achieves speed. When the driver lets off the accelerator and allows the vehicle to come to a drifting stop MPG shoots up. It is the average of all these different load levels that determines the average MPG. This is also where the technology that makes RxP work comes to play.
Using our 13.2% increase in thermal output as mentioned above we use the same procedure: 13.2% of 17 = 2.24%. Add 1.7% and 2.24% and you get 3.96%. This is the potential fuel savings using RxP in an efficient motor vehicle that is using 13% of the fuel it burns for propulsion and 17% as waste while idling or sitting in traffic.
This leads us to the theory of what makes RxP actually work, which is called “radiant containment.” We have found it very difficult to explain this theory in layman terms, but here goes. Basically, when fuel is combusted in an internal combustion engine it causes an explosion that drives a piston down, which in turn eventually drives the wheels, overcomes inertia, etc. and propels the vehicle along. When a fuel like gasoline or diesel is completely combusted it is transformed into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). That part of the fuel that is not totally combusted is converted into carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). These are harmful pollutants. CO is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause fatality in human beings. VOCs (largely hydrocarbons) lift into the air and are associated with a host of ill health effects including cancer and emphysema (liquid gasoline is basically VOCs). Also, VOCs mix with the nitrogen oxide to create smog. NOx is generated by the internal combustion engine as a result of heat. While nitrogen is not necessary for combustion to take place, 78% of the atmosphere is made of this element. The atmosphere also contains 21% oxygen, which is used by the engine as the oxidizer in the combustion process.
If you look at all the test performed on RxP related to emissions you would see a steady pattern of overall reductions in CO, VOCs and NOx. This means the fuel is being consumed, less is converted into air pollution, and that the engine is running cooler, as shown by the reduction in NOx. Why?
Few people on this earth really understand combustion. So many things happen in such a short period of time that some are still not fully understood. One thing is for sure – if more of the fuel is consumed and converted into kinetic energy, which is used to power the motor vehicle, less escapes as radiant heat (radiant heat is energy transmitted by radiation. These rays proceed directly away from the heat source like light rays from the sun). This is the theory of radiant containment. When the hydrogen-carbon based fuel is mixed with oxygen and ignited a flame is formed. The RxP technology causes a water barrier to form on the outside of the flame wall because of the effect RxP has on the host fuel. This prevents heat from escaping, or going to waste, and causes the internal flame temperature to go up – thermal value is increased. The center of the flame is hotter and the outside is cooler. Less “heat,” the driving force of the fuel is lost as radiant energy and more is used as kinetic energy (energy in motion). Even though the center of the flame is hotter the engine itself is cooler.