Friday, January 26, 2001
In winter, only about 20% of the gasoline injected onto your car's
intake valves vaporizes and powers the engine until the engine warms up. The
other 80% forms a puddle in the intake manifold and evaporates, sending a blast
of hydrocarbons to the atmosphere.
Dr. Ronald Matthews, a University of Texas professor of mechanical
engineering, is developing an on-board distillation system that separates
gasoline into two types of fuel, much like a refinery takes crude oil and splits
it into gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel fuel.
"What we are doing is separating molecules of gasoline that are
easy to evaporate from all others," explains Matthews. "Then, we store those
highly volatile molecules separately and use them to start the car."
Matthews is working with Ford Motor Co. to develop the
distillation system. For more information, call (512) 471-3151 or visit the
University of Texas web site at