May 2002 Newsletter
There has been much talk in the supercarbs e-group at yahoo about Thermal Catalytic Cracking (TCC) of gasoline into Methane. Below is a discussion on how much could be achieved by accomplishing this feat.
Methane Efficiency Comparison to Gasoline
2-27-01 (email letter to my friend in South Africa)
Dear Brother Eugene:
I just thought you might be interested in the following calculations that I made that support the theory that breaking down gasoline into a more uniform molecule fuel would increase mileage.
I took these mileage figures from the EPA web site:
Model city gas hwy gas city CNG hwy CNG
Ford F150 16 21 12 16
Ford F150 dual fuel 11 15 11 14
Honda Civic 30 38 31 34
Chevy Cavalier 23 30 20 28
Comparing the average mileage of the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles to that of the gasoline vehicles we find that the CNG vehicles get only about 90.2% of the mileage per gallon as the gasoline vehicles.
Then I compared the energy content of a gallon of CNG to that of gasoline. Since gasoline is a mixture of compounds from hexane (C6H14) to dodecane (C12H26) or larger, I figured the energy content of gasoline to be about 159,000 kJ/gal or about 150,000 BTU/gal. This was done by calculating the energy content of numerous compounds by using density, molecular weight, and heat of combustion figures obtained from the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. The energy content of Methane is about 103,573 kJ/gal or 98,173 BTU/gal. Comparing these numbers we find that CNG has only about 98,173/159,000 = 61.75% of the energy content of gasoline.
If we calculate the average mileage per 100,000 BTU we get:
23/1.5 = 15.33 miles per 100,000 BTU for the gasoline vehicles and
20.75/.98 = 21.14 miles per 100,000 BTU for CNG vehicles.
Comparing these mileage figures we find that CNG vehicles get 138% of the mileage of the gasoline vehicles. Or to state it another way, CNG vehicles are 38% more efficient than gasoline vehicles. So if a process can be found to use TCC or CCC or Plasma reforming on gasoline to transform it into methane, we could improve the mileage by 38%.
That doesn’t sound like much when Hydrogen-Boost claims 50% to 100% increases in gas mileage, but you must remember that the Hydrogen-Boost system is a whole system that includes improvements due to many factors including engine friction, rolling friction, wind resistance, inertia, and other factors affected by driving habits. A 38% increase due just to increased thermal efficiency would produce closer to 75% to 150% total increase in mileage with the complete Hydrogen-Boost System.
See ya later,
In His service and for His Glory,
Dear Brother in Christ:
Upon closer examination of the discussion I sent earlier today I want to add further discussion of the increase in thermal efficiency by substituting CNG for gasoline. The following discussion will show that there is actually a 81.5% increase in thermal efficiency rather than the 38% I reported earlier. See if you can follow the discussion.
Let me start with a graphic supplied by Chevron Company, a major petroleum company:
Here we see that in a typical vehicle spends 62% of the energy in the fuel to satisfy engine heat waste, 16% goes to engine mechanical friction, 10% goes to power train mechanical friction and only 12% goes to actually moving the vehicle down the road by overcoming inertia, rolling resistance, air resistance, and gravity.
Now if we make no improvements to reduce engine friction, or drive train friction, or rolling resistance than the power to overcome these must come from increasing the engine thermal efficiency. Let me assign real numbers to each of these categories. For the examples from our earlier discussion the average mileage of the gasoline engine fleet was 23 miles per gallon of gasoline, or for our present discussion 23 miles per 159,000 kJ. This is an average of 6913 kJ per mile. If we split this total up into the four categories we get 4286 kJ per mile for engine heat, 1106 kJ for engine mechanical friction, 691 kJ for drive train mechanical friction, and 830 kJ for rolling and air resistance.
Now, for the CNG vehicle fleet the same amount of energy must be expended to overcome the engine friction, the drive train friction and the rolling and air resistance; a total of 2627 kJ per mile. Leaving the remainder of the energy used per mile as engine heat waste.
In our CNG fleet we had a mileage average of 20.75 miles per gallon of CNG or 20.75 miles per 103,573 kJ, for an average of 4991 kJ per mile. Of this remember that 2627 kJ per mile had to go to overcoming friction in three categories. This leaves 2364 kJ per mile for engine heat compared to 4287 kJ per mile for engine heat with a gasoline engine. This means that we did the same work with 2364 kJ in a CNG fleet that it took 4287 kJ to do in a gasoline fleet. That is doing the same work with 55.2% of the energy. Looking at it another way, with the same energy the CNG motor did 1/55.2= 1.815 times the work as did the gasoline. That’s an improvement over gasoline of 81.5%.
The same engine is 81.5% more thermally efficient with CNG as it is with gasoline. Now let’s see what Sasol has to say about that.
Until we touch base again I am:
I might add at this point an examination of the reverse of the concepts in the previous letter. If a 38% increase in mileage was obtained by making the engine 81.5% more efficient, it might make you wonder about whether the calculations are correct. Wouldn’t an 81.5% increase in engine efficiency cause an 81.5% increase in mileage? No. It might be true that an 81.5% increase in power might increase the mileage by 81.5% but we are not getting 81.5% more power with an 81.5% increase in thermal efficiency.
But the point is that if you are interested in the greatest possible gas mileage, you need to reduce the inefficiency in all areas of the above chart. In fact the categories further to the right are even more important than those on the left. In fact if we could cut the total amount of drag and friction in the last category (energy at the wheels) we could double the gas mileage without any other changes to the vehicle. That is why the Hydrogen-Boost System is not just an engine efficiency system, but an entire vehicle efficiency system.
Letters from web site visitor:
I need some confirmation on the Xcelplus product advertised on the web by the Xcelplus company.
Do you distribute this product? And if so, what are your recommendations on the validity of the product as described by the Xcelplus web site. There doesn't seem to be many places that sell this product. Is this from poor results of the product or the lack of a substantial business base. The formula used to make this product apparently has been around awhile, has it been used by any racing organizations or engine builders in the racing world? I'm considering trying the product, but am wondering if this stuff, being a solid film lubricant would tend to collect in certain engine areas. Does the product really not use halides or chlorinated carbon molecules to bond the coating to metal engine parts. What would be the ratio to add this stuff to lawn and garden equipment that only holds one quart of oil? Could the additive be used in air compressors that are oil lubricated? How about hydraulic systems? Is it true that almost all of the oil additives use some form of halides and chlorinated molecules to achieve friction reduction in engines?
According to Bill at XCEL PLUS the formula is the old Lubrilon formula which later sold as Slick-50 when they added a little teflon as a sale tool because "everyone understands teflon." I bought some of this early 1980'3 Slick-50 and treated on engine on my twin-engine ultra-light airplane (2-stroke engines). From that time on I had to run the throttle on the treated engine back almost to 3/4 throttle to synchronize the vibrations of the motors. That engine lasted 6 months longer before rebuild than the untreated engine. in mid 1980's Slick-50 split off and subsequently sold only teflon and oil.
According to Bill there are basically 4 engine treatment formulas:
1. teflon in oil: does nothing but clog a little
2. molybnium (soft metal) based formula lubricates by soft metal particles
3. halide (mostly chlorinated carbon based molecules) that you described
4. Lubrilon formula (XCEL PLUS)
All I know about what works is that my ultr-alight test sold me on the Lubrilon formula, over the years I have tried Prolong, Duralube, and Slick-50 many of which are prohibited from making increased mileage claims because they were sued by the Federal Trade Commission. I even recently got a rebate check from a Duralube purchase I made a few years ago because
of the lawsuit. A lot of money has been made on fraud and the FTC does a lot of lawsuits to stop the claims. As far as air compressors, I don't know, I am a fuel mileage expert, not an XCEL PLUS expert. I just use XCEL PLUS as a part of the Hydrogen-Boost system because I know it worked for me. In a lawn mower engine I would use a 10-20% ratio of XCEL PLUS to oil, based on the ratio used in auto engines. I think it would be a waste of money to use it in hydraulic systems.
Glad to help,
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