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Sunday, April 06, 2008

 

How to make your own fuel catalyst (and why it would give you nothing but trouble)

I've previously criticized the Tornado Fuel Saver, Vortec Cyclone, and similar gadgets as well as ridiculing their knock-offs on eBay. Up until now, I've left the Fitch Fuel Catalyst, another device that I was pretty certain was a rip-off, alone. It wasn't because I thought it might work, mostly because I didn't have that much information on chemistry and the effects of catalysts on gasoline. Well, thanks to some searching that SlantSixDan did on the slantsix.org forum, that's changed. And, of course, Tony's Guide to Fuel Saving has some very good analysis of the Fitch Fuel Catalyst already.

So, first, I'm going to mention the fuel catalyst that popped up on the slantsix.org forum: Copper has a very strong catalytic effect on gasoline, so replacing a length of your fuel line with copper tubing would put a catalyst in the fuel system.

The trouble is, what would a catalyst in your fuel supply do? A catalyst causes a reaction that would already happen to go forward at a faster rate or with a lower activation energy. Catalysts do not put energy into the fuel, or cause reactions that absorb energy to happen. Fitch claims that their catalyst is a metal alloy catalyst that reverses the reaction of oxygen with the fuel. Um, no. Copper and other alloys actually cause fuel to react with oxygen to form gum and varnish. In other words, a fuel catalyst would cause the very reaction that Fitch is claiming it prevents!

But if you wanted a fuel catalyst anyway, you could accomplish the same thing with five dollars' worth of copper hardline from your local hardware store that Fitch would charge you well over a hundred for.

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