Our dependence on oil and gas to fuel our transport, heating and industry continues to grow, providing ever increasing revenue and power to the giant companies that provide the fuel. Governments around the world use our absolute dependence on fuel as a major source of inflation proof income. Politicians promise to reduce fuel consumption and the devastating effect on our environment, but their sincerity has to be questioned. Taking the UK as an example, of every £30 spent on transport fuel more than £24 is tax. Forget the ozone layer, forget the pollution, because the fact is without the revenue from fuel there would be one enormous deficit and probably no health service.
In recent years legislation has been introduced ensuring all new cars are fitted with catalytic converters as these systems reduce many of the pollutant exhaust gases. A step in the right direction certainly, but it is not all good news. A catalytic converter will not work when it is cold, that is when the engine is first started and when the pollutants are at the highest level. A catalytic converter produces more carbon dioxide, the gas that is responsible for the greenhouse effect and the one that governments continually promise to reduce. But perhaps most significant is the fact that a catalytic converter reduces the efficiency of an engine and therefore helps it to consume more fuel. Good news if you are an oil company or government.
Recent years have also seen an ever increasing amount of additives in fuel on the understanding that they help reduce the impact on the environment. But do they? They certainly reduce the amount of actual energy available from each litre you buy because part of each litre is additives and cleaning agents. During the 1997 Peking to Paris Classic Rally competitors were experiencing a much improved fuel consumption from Chinese 90 octane fuel compared to the ‘refined’ fuel of Europe. In the case of the Ecoflow(R) entry using a Ford 1600cc engine this improvement from the ‘lower grade’ fuel averaged 26. The question is does the fuel with additives reduce the pollution produced from each litre by a greater percentage than the reduction of available energy from the fuel, or is it just a cheaper fuel to produce?
Discrepancies in the energy content of fuel is not limited to petrol and diesel. The calorific value of gas changes continually. All may not be quite as it appears.
Nigel Broderick, inventor of Central Reverse Polarity(R)