Vapor Fuels Technologies LLC
1-503-632-1570 ( Hours: 8AM - 5PM Pacific Time )
Beavercreek, OR 97004 USA
A patented, demonstrated system that utilizes the benefits
of HCCI without creating NOx or losing power. Vaporizes fuel
and heats the inlet air prior to entering the engine.
The Oregonian (June 13, 2008)
Clackamas Engineers' Invention
Improves Fuel Economy
Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Five years ago, Ray Bushnell shut down his
engineering office in Oregon City and left the hardwood
floors, 12-foot ceilings and high-tech clients behind for a
pole barn in his back yard in rural Clackamas County.
With money from investors, he installed a
$50,000 dynamometer in the concrete floor and bought a raft
of electronic equipment that rivals a DEQ emissions station.
He then set out on a single-minded pursuit of
what is becoming the auto industry's holy grail: high
Now, Bushnell and company co-founder Bob Reid,
a retired venture capitalist, say they're close to
perfecting Vapor Fuel Technologies' fuel delivery system, a
new twist on the old challenge of optimally mixing fuel and
air before it explodes in a combustion chamber.
Brent Wojahn / The OregonianOregon engineer Ray Bushnell is
working on a fuel delivery device that could cut gasoline
use by nearly a third.
The race for high-mileage gold is crowded with
auto manufacturers, international upstarts and countless
garage tinkerers, all spurred of late by $4-a-gallon gas and
the talk of tougher mileage requirements.
Vapor Fuel's product faces daunting hurdles,
not least the difficulty of adding devices to today's
computer-controlled gas engines, an ambitious 2009
production schedule and the potential for demand to plummet
if gas prices return to earth.
But the company has five patents in hand and
four pending. And a certified testing lab last year in
Southern California documented a 30 percent mileage increase
in a Ford F-150 with the Vapor Fuel system. "Timing is
everything," said Joe Jones, the California lab's research
director. "And certainly their timing is right."
When it comes to improving mileage, electric
cars and fuel cells get a lot of ink. But all the major
automakers are retooling gas engines for better mileage,
Today's engines are far more complex, notes
Jack Friedman, general manager of Unichip of North America
in Hillsboro, which is developing an add-on to sync Vapor
Fuel's device with manufacturers' on-board engine computers.
Computers monitor everything from air
temperatures to throttle position to atmospheric pressure
fast enough to regulate an engine turning up to 100 times a
second. Unichip's software includes 94,000 data points for
engine timing alone.
The engine in a typical muscle car of the
1960s measured about 7 liters (more than 400 cubic inches)
and generated roughly 400 horsepower. Friedman, a former Air
Force fighter pilot, drives a BMW M3 coupe. Its
computer-managed engine generates 420 horsepower -- from
just 4 liters.
"Everybody pooh-poohs the gasoline engine,"
Friedman says. "But it's very powerful. It's relatively
inexpensive. It's relatively available. And engines run well
Vapor Fuel started out far away from Detroit,
moving to Bushnell's spread in part to save money, in part
to keep the work under wraps. "This is such a competitive
field," said Reid, 75.
The company started out by heating gasoline
enough to vaporize it before it entered the piston chamber
-- an idea inspired by one of Reid's acquaintances, who ran
a car off a 6-foot-long tank of vaporized fuel.
The idea isn't new: In patent searches, the
company found a 1940s picture of a guy with a similar tank.
But the vaporized and expanded gasoline burned far more
efficiently than the fuel injection systems that Bushnell
bypassed. Driving up Interstate 5, Reid's acquaintance got
up to 90 percent increases in gas mileage. He could get 50
percent increases without noticeable performance drops.
But the idea had a fatal flaw, pointed out in
2005 by Tony Dean, a Colorado School of Mines chemical
engineering professor who partnered with Toyota on fuel
technology when he worked at Exxon.
The problem, Dean told the company, was one
the auto industry had long faced in trying to increase
mileage. Putting less gas in the mix increased the ratio of
oxygen-to-fuel and caused a condition known as "lean burn."
And the higher oxygen content baffled the pollution control
system's catalytic converter, hampering removal of nitrogen
oxides, a smog-causing pollutant.
"The day that Tony Dean came in to explain NOX
was not a good day," Bushnell said. "It was like falling off
your bike onto the bar in the middle."
Automakers are responding to the problem in
various ways, including technology that explodes gas in the
combustion chamber through compression, like a diesel
engine, rather than a spark.
But Bushnell continued tinkering, now with
Dean's critiques, settling on an idea that they believe the
auto industry hasn't thought of. Why not heat the incoming
That causes it to expand ( the same principle
a hot air balloon relies on) and fill up more space with
less air. Combined with vaporized gasoline, they could keep
the air-fuel ratio the same, dodging the pollution problem.
The heated mixture had another benefit,
Bushnell and Dean said. Its "flame speed" -- how fast it
burned -- and its explosive potential were higher than
normal. That meant much more of it could be exploded when
the piston was at its optimum position. And that meant they
could use less gasoline without sacrificing power.
The system pulls heat from the radiator system
to heat the fuel, and waste heat from the exhaust manifold
to heat the air.
"We're the poor folks from Beavercreek. We
aren't in the (automakers') club," Bushnell says. "We got
outside the box, because we can never be included in the
There's good reason for skepticism, said Jim
Hossack, a market analyst for AutoPacific in Tustin, Calif.,
and a former engineer for Ford, Chrysler and Mazda Motor.
Usually there's a fatal flaw in mileage inventions, he said.
A device doesn't work in cold weather or high
altitude, or it isn't durable enough. It's "hard to imagine
that a small undercapitalized outfit with a few people could
make a breakthrough," Hossack said in an e-mail.
The California Air Resources Board has to
certify any add-on device used in the state, making sure
that it doesn't increase pollution and that it can hold up
John Swanton, an air pollution specialist in
the board's El Monte, Calif., lab, says the board has seen a
spike in interest in mileage-enhancing devices since gas
prices surged. But it hasn't yet seen gizmos that improve
mileage in modern gasoline vehicles. Newer cars are
relatively clean and complex, he said, and hard to modify
without manufacturer cooperation.
On the other hand, Jones, research director
for California Environmental Engineering, a CARB-certified
lab, said the tests his lab ran last year showed
surprisingly strong results, with mileage improving 30.1
"I've been here over 20 years, and there's
nothing that's worked quite that dramatically and
consistently," Jones said.
Vapor Fuels hopes to get CARB certification
later this summer after Unichip completes its work.
Meantime, they're talking with investors and potential
buyers, with plans to start sales by the third quarter of
2009. Its first target market: North America's 102 million
light trucks and sport utility vehicles.
"Is there another iceberg we're not seeing? We
don't know," he said. "But it looks pretty promising."
-- Scott Learn; [email protected]
Vapor Fuels Technologies LLC
VFT Solution for the Future of
Vapor Fuel Technologies has created a system
that is based on vaporizing fuel and heating the air that
mixes with the vaporized fuel prior to entering the cylinder
for combustion. When properly controlled, this vaporization
and heating causes a thermal expansion that accomplishes the
dilution of both the fuel and air in the mixture without
changing the ratio that allows the catalytic converter to
work and provide acceptable emissions, including oxides of
nitrogen (NOx). Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) can be used
in lesser quantities with the VFT System to complete the
dilution process and balance the power requirements of a
normal driving cycle.
The vaporization process and heating of the
fuel vapor and air mixture, along with moderate EGR, also
improves the combustion process by increasing flame speed
and creating the conditions for a chain reaction
Autoignition. The resulting combustion is shorter in
duration and significantly more efficient since it
substantially occurs closer to the optimal crank angle of
the engine. This allows the VFT system to use less fuel yet
provide the power to be used in all normal driving
Vapor Fuel Technologies system and equipment
are, in conjunction with necessary modification of the
onboard-computer system, adaptable to the vast majority of
motor vehicles in either retrofit or new applications. The
added cost to include this technology in a new vehicle is
estimated to be less than one hundred dollars U.S.
Limitations of Current Gasoline Technology
The Auto Industry understands the benefit of
using less fuel to power the vehicle (dilution) and creating
a better combustion event (autoignition) to replace the
power loss due to dilution but they have pursued those goals
in ways that have presented significant and unnecessary
roadblocks. Diluting the fuel using more air or EGR has
created a difficult, and extremely time consuming situation.
Using more air in the fuel air mixture
accomplishes the goal of using less fuel to fill the
combustion chamber but the resulting lean burn event results
in an inability of the catalytic converter to remove the NOx
from the exhaust.
The new regulations, especially in California
and the eleven other states following their lead, are
becoming less tolerant of these emissions. Diluting the fuel
within the mixture to approximately 50% of normal decreases
the NOx production to very low levels but there is so little
power remaining this method can only be used at very light
loads and moderate speeds. Most of the fuel savings are also
lost due to the lack of power.
EGR can be used to dilute the fuel air mixture
by recirculation of exhaust, mostly inert gasses such as
nitrogen and carbon dioxide, into the cylinder with the fuel
and air. This accomplishes the goal of diluting the fuel but
the resulting gaps of inert gas between the fuel and air
components can diminish the efficiency of the combustion if
SYSTEM FOR IMPROVING FUEL UTILIZATION
Abstract -- A vapor fuel air mixture supply system
for a combustion engine, whereby the mixture of air and fuel
is elevated in temperature prior to combustion. The air to
fuel mixture may result in an improvement in fuel
Vapor Fueled Engine
Also published as: WO2005047675 //
EP1700020 // US7380546 // US7028675
Abstract -- A fuel supply assembly is provided that
may allow for use of vaporized fuel to power an engine and
enhance fuel efficiency. The fuel supply assembly may
include a vaporizing tank, a heating source, a temperature
control and a monitoring and control system configured to
control intermixing of ambient air and vaporized gasoline to
maintain a desired hydrocarbon level in an exhaust.