Inventor's steamy idea may reduce fuel costs
EAST Ballina inventor Brett Head has developed an idea he claims reduces greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle exhausts that could save you cash at the bowser.
And his technology is based on the power of steam.
Mr Head, who has been a mechanic for 25 years and works in the petroleum industry, took seven years to develop the Vapour Draw Systems.
But it's an "outside the box" idea he has been stewing over for longer than that.
Simply, the system uses the pulses of a vehicle's exhaust to force the exhaust gases - which includes steam - through a copper pipe and into a chamber. The copper aids the condensation process for the gases.
It's at this point confidentiality kicks in for the patent-pending technology.
But there is a filtration system in the chamber and steam is generated which is then, through a vacuum created by the running engine, pulled into the engine's air intake and into the combustion chamber.
Mr Head said the steam keeps the internal workings of the engine clean and reduces the amount of soot expelled through the exhaust.
A clean engine, he said, runs more efficiently and reduces the amount of fuel needed.
He said once the engine has been running with the system, the soot produced, and left on the exhaust pipe, is reduced significantly, leaving a clean exhaust pipe.
He said there is a simple experiment anyone can do to test his system, and that is to force steam into the air intake of a generator and run the exhaust through a glass of water to see how clean the water is after running the engine for a time.
He has had his system tested in several vehicles - including a car owned by Brisbane City Council, a truck and a motorcycle - and endorsed by a mechanical engineer.
While he said the tests he has undertaken - covering hundreds of thousands of kilometres - don't allow him to accurately give a generic claim on how much fuel can be saved, each test, run in different vehicles being used in various driving situations, showed a saving.
However, a paper titled Investigation of Steam Injection with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) on a diesel engine by Turkish academics reports the study of a similar technology in a laboratory led to a fuel savings of 6%.
Mr Head says his system doesn't have any moving parts - it uses the a vacuum created by the engine to force the steam into the engine - and he estimates it would cost about $50 for an after-market fit-out.
He did receive endorsements from former Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, while she was in office.
Mr Head says he is going to try and get his idea to market by himself rather than sell the technology to a larger company.
He is committed to the technology and has already spent about $250,000 getting it to prototype stage.