Engine oil can often be the only ingredient needed to ensure fuel efficiency and efficiency improvements in a range of aircraft, including jets and helicopters.
But the fuel-saving additive is often added after the fuel has been consumed, leaving it behind in the tank when not in use.
Now researchers have discovered a new oil-reducing additive that can also be used in engines without having to be mixed with fuel.
The research, reported in the journal Chemical Engineering & Engineering Science, shows that the additive can be used without needing a catalyst to improve fuel efficiency.
The researchers say that this new fuel-reduction technology could reduce fuel consumption by up to 50% in engines that use a catalytic converter, a component that converts the fuel to a gas or liquid that can be consumed.
The additive has been used before to reduce fuel use in jet engines, but the authors say it has never been tested for use in engines in general.
The team’s findings show that using the additive in an engine is just as simple as it sounds.
“Our team found that by mixing the new oil additive with a mixture of the fuel, oxidizer and a catalyst, the fuel oxidation and fuel efficiency improvements were comparable to the performance of conventional fuel,” says Yvonne Lévi-Strauss, a researcher in the department of chemistry and engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and co-author of the paper.
She says that the researchers believe that by combining the additive with the fuel oxidizer, the new fuel additive can help improve fuel burn efficiency.
Lévis-Straess is now working with her colleague Dr. John Kowalski, an aerospace engineer at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Lierre-Strauses team says the new additive is a potential replacement for catalytic converters and could potentially help improve efficiency of some of the most common jet engines.
But they also say that the new technology could be even more useful in other applications.
The chemical reaction they performed in their laboratory involved a chemical reaction in a solution, so that it was difficult to detect the changes in the fuel that were produced.
“The chemistry was very complicated,” Léveis-Straiss says.
“I didn’t have any idea what they were trying to do.”
The team is working with an international team of researchers to evaluate the additive and determine if it can be useful in aircraft.
“It’s really exciting,” says Kowaleski.
“We know that jet engines are very efficient and it would be nice to be able to see if this additive could be useful to improve the efficiency of those engines.”