Friday, September 26, 2008

Electrorheology Leads to Efficient Combustion

I find it amazing that I just read this at and haven't heard of it before. If this is workable on standard production cars and trucks at reasonable cost and with reasonable reliability it's amazing news. Yet it hasn't leaked to the popular press despite the fact that it was sent to the American Chemical Society on June 12th. The Temple professor who did the research must be very closemouthed indeed given the significant implications. For one thing it has the potential to reduce U.S. oil usage by something like ten percent and reduce oil imports by something like twenty percent. That's a greater impact than all the windmills and solar energy plants Al Gore envisions being built in the next ten years in his wildest dreams. For another thing the patent on it is probably worth more than Temple University spends on it's entire science program in a decade.

I'll be interested to see what Alex thinks of the original paper on which the science daily article is based. Given what this paper claims this may be totally bogus, or else it may be hugely expensive or impossible to manufacture on a large scale. It's claims are not quite like claims to be able to run a car on water, but they are almost as remarkable given the maturity of internal combustion engine technology and the huge efforts automotive engineers put into improving fuel efficiency by one or two percent.


Anonymous said...

When it comes to making more fuel efficient vehicles, I think that American car manufacturers don't want to incur the costs of design and retooling.

From what I was able to get from the article, this device would require minimal design changes.

I do wonder at times if the oil companies try to discourage the auto makers from becoming too fuel efficient.


Sully said...

I'm still skeptical about this. One thing I didn't mention is that the researcher only ran the test car for 6 months. Detroit has to test things and know they will work for years with little or no maintenance. Another thing the engineers will need to look at is the effect of the more efficient combustion on the cylinder linings and the engine overall.

You're not alone in your suspicions about oil interests trying to influence auto interests. I think the typical auto executive would gladly run right over the typical oil executive and his whole family if it would increase sales, profits and his annual bonus; but I can understand the concern.

TrekMedic251 said...

Nice blog, Sully! I'll have to drop by more often!

Anonymous said...

This is a first class scam. However I am not sure whether Dr. Tao, a physics professor with no previous interest in internal combustion engines, had been taken advantage of by STWA people and got the "study" published in the well-known scholarly journal Energy and Fuels. But the story is not over yet. A university of Toronto combustion professor wrote a Comment on Tao's paper claiming that laws thermodynamics are violated. See "Gulder "Comments on Electrorheology Leads Efficient Combustion by Tao et al." Energy and Fules, ASAP in press (doi:10.1021/ef800829v). Prof. Gulder's Comment can be accessed at