Diesel Fuel Line Catalyst and Saving Fuel While Reducing Emissions
A diesel fuel line catalyst is unique in relation to other mechanisms manufactured — and chemicals produced — that generate a change in fuels and emissions. The difference between diesel fuel line catalysts, aka, “fuel catalysts” and fuel additives, fuel treatments, and catalytic converters is comparable to that between a fuel, a gas tank, and a muffler.
All serve a purpose on a vehicle or machine, but those purposes are quite different.
Diesel Fuel Line Catalyst Versus Catalytic Converter
There are commonalities between a diesel fuel line catalyst and a catalytic converter. For one, the component parts of both fuel catalysts and catalytic converters contain noble metals. The noble metals in both function as catalysts.
Furthermore, both fuel catalysts and catalytic converters decrease emissions. However, fuel catalysts and catalytic converter reduce emissions using completely different processes.
The biggest difference though, fuel catalysts increase fuel economy. Catalytic converters do not.
Diesel Fuel Line Catalyst Versus Fuel Additives and Treatments
Diesel fuel line catalysts and diesel fuel catalyst additives, on the other hand, have very little in common. Nor do additives and treatments have anything in common with catalytic converters.
Also known as “diesel fuel catalyst treatments,” additives neither increase fuel efficiency nor decrease emissions.
Furthermore, regardless of what phrases and descriptors marketers use to promote an additive or treatment, fuel catalyst treatments and additives are not catalysts.
Inline Fuel Catalyst and Fuel Economy
What separates diesel fuel line catalysts from all other mechanisms and chemical additives/treatments is fuel efficiency. Catalytic converters decrease emissions but do not improve fuel efficiency. Additives and treatments do not change fuel efficiency or emissions.
A diesel fuel line catalyst both reduces emissions and increases fuel efficiency. That is to say, of fuel catalysts, catalytic converters, and additives/treatments, only diesel fuel line catalysts improve the “fuel” mileage of a vehicle, truck, or piece of equipment.
There is only one kind of fuel catalyst, a mechanical fuel catalyst. Therefore, there is only one type of diesel fuel line catalyst, a mechanical diesel fuel catalyst.
Additives and treatments are not catalysts, even those marketed as “fuel catalyst additive” and “fuel treatment catalyst.”
Diesel Fuel Catalyst Additive: What They Are and Are Not
There is a long list of products marketed as diesel fuel catalyst additives. However, again, there are almost no chemical fuel additives that are true catalysts. Diesel fuel catalyst additive is a misnomer. Almost all additives and treatments are solvents. They are not catalysts.
The scientific definition of a catalyst is relatively complex. A definition requires an explanation of chemical changes on a molecular level. But, the layman’s definition of a catalyst is more than sufficient to explain why chemical additives — which burn up during combustion — are not catalysts.
A catalyst is an agent of change that does not, itself, change or dissipate during the process.
Why Additives and Fuel Treatments Are Not Catalysts
The active elements in fuel catalysts — true fuel catalysts — are catalysts.
Qualifying the difference between what is and what is not a fuel catalyst requires a definition of the catalyst. With an understanding of a catalyst, it becomes clear what qualifies as a fuel catalyst and what does not.
What a Fuel Catalyst Is Based on What a Catalyst Is
A catalyst — be it a fuel catalyst or otherwise — is a catalyst because it falls within a strict set of requisites. First, a catalyst must generate change in a chemical compound. Fuel treatments and additives also produce a change in other chemical compounds. But, additives and fuel treatments succumb to change during the process.
Catalysts, on the other hand, do not degrade, oxidize, combust, nor break apart. A catalyst is an element — noble metals like platinum, titanium, palladium, manganese, and cobalt — that produces a change in a chemical compound, but does not itself change.
As explained by the University of Texas Biology Department:
“A catalyst is a substance that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction but is not consumed during the course of the reaction. A catalyst will appear in the steps of a reaction mechanism, but it will not appear in the overall chemical reaction (as it is not a reactant or product). Generally, catalysts alter the mechanism of the reaction in a substantial way such that the new barriers along the reaction coordinate are significantly lower. By lowering the activation energy, the rate constant is greatly increased (at the same temperature) relative to the uncatalyzed reaction.
There are many types of catalysts in the world. Many reactions are catalyzed at the surface of metals.”
Why “Fuel Catalyst Additives” is a Misnomer
The solvents — the active chemical compounds — in additives and treatments are not catalysts. Most are fossil fuels just like petroleum, diesel, natural gas, coal. Or, additives and treatments are biofuels. But they are not catalysts. Like their fossil fuel cousins, additives and treatments combust with the fuel to which they are added.
If the active agent in a fuel additive or treatment changes along with the fuel to which it is added, the additive/treatment is not a catalyst.
That is not to say fuel additives and treatments do not have value, merely that fuel treatments and additives are not catalysts. Different chemical compounds added to fuel accomplish different ends. The active agent in a treatment determines the use of the additive.
Types of Fuel Treatments
Not only do fuel treatments and additives combust along with fuel, fuel additives/treatments do not actually catalyze a change in fuel. Instead, treatments and additives simply supplement fuel. Treatments and additives become an additional component in fuel, but they do not change the molecular structure of the fuel.
This is evident in the fact that additives and treatments often separate from fuel and often evaporate at different rates than petroleum and diesel. There is a long list of chemical compounds used as the active agents in additives and treatments:
•nitrous oxide (nitrous)
•silicone and other anti-foaming agents
Not one of the active above agents used in additives and treatments qualify as a catalyst.
Almost zero fuel catalyst treatments are catalysts. Nor do the active agents used in most additives and treatment catalyze fuel.
Diesel Fuel Additive Reviews – What Different Additives Do for An Engine
Again, because diesel fuel additives are not catalysts does not mean they are without value. Diesel fuel additive reviews by type show that there are indeed advantages to using diesel fuel additives. Additives and treatments serve different purposes. Though none decrease emissions nor increase fuel efficiency to a measurable degree, fuel additives and treatments can increase the efficiency at which an engine runs.
Purpose of Fuel Additives
There are three purposes of fuel additives and treatments. As such there are three types of additives/treatments. Some increase the cetane or octane level of a diesel or petroleum. Other additives are corrosion inhibitors/cleaners. Others are lubricants.
Additives that increase the cetane/octane rating of a fuel are important because they prevent fuels from pre-igniting as a result of the pressure in an engine cylinder. Pre-ignition both damages an engine and lowers the energy output of a fuel. The higher the cetane/octane rating, the greater compression required to combust a fuel.
Corrosion Inhibiting/Cleaning Treatments
Additives and treatments that inhibit corrosion and/or clean the internal combustion components of an engine serve to keep an engine running cleanly. All engines burn fuel incompletely to one degree or another. As a result, all engines develop hydrocarbon residue buildup. Treatments with active agents that prevent hydrocarbon buildup — and clean pre-existing buildup — increase the efficiency of an engine.
While high octane fuels increase power and improve engine efficiency, they burn hot and can lead to higher friction rates. In order to counteract the effects of alcohol and ethanol treatments and additives which strip the protective lubricants off the internal combustion components of an engine, lubricating additives and treatments are available.
Nevertheless, treatments and additives that increase the cetane/octane of a fuel; reduce hydrocarbon buildup and lubricate the internal combustion component of an engine do not increase fuel efficiency nor decrease the emissions of a fuel.
Catalytic converters do not increase fuel economy either, but they do reduce emissions to an exceptional degree.
Catalytic Converter, What It Is
Unlike additives and treatments, catalytic converters are catalysts — every catalytic converter contains several hundred dollars worth of noble metals — and do reduce emissions. While catalytic converters do not increase fuel economy, they are certainly of great value to the environment.
What Is a Catalytic Converter and How Do They Work
A catalytic converter is a post-combustion mechanism. Once the exhaust from an engine leaves the manifold, it feeds into the catalytic converter before escaping out the tailpipe. The inners of a catalytic converter have noble metals that become superheated by the engine’s exhaust.
Once heated, the noble metals in a catalytic converter begin combusting the unburned fuel contained in the exhaust. It is a symbiotic relationship. The exhaust heats the noble metals in a catalytic converter and the catalytic converter combusts the unburnt fuel in the exhaust that follows.
“Catalytic converters contain substances or compounds such as platinum, rhodium, or palladium that act as catalysts and converters. The compounds act like catalysts because they cause a chemical reaction to occur, but they don’t change their original form. The compounds also act as converters because they react with and convert harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides produced by your engine. This conversion into less harmful gases occurs before they travel out your exhaust system and into the air.”
No engine combusts fuel completely. A complete burn is a theory and never occurs outside methodology. Since all exhaust contains some degree of unburned fuel, catalytic converters are invaluable with respect to reducing emissions.
But since catalytic converters never interact with fuel before it is fed into an engine, catalytic converters can do nothing to increase fuel efficiency.
A pre-combustion fuel catalyst does cause fuel to react prior to entering an engine’s piston cylinders.
Fuel catalysts do increase fuel efficiency.
What is a Diesel Fuel Pre-Combustion Catalyst
A pre-combustion fuel catalyst is a mechanism that both reduces fuel emissions and increases fuel economy. Pre-combustion catalysts — as the name implies — mount on the fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine. Like a catalytic converter, fuel catalysts are made — in part — of noble metals. Like a catalytic converter, diesel fuel pre-combustion catalysts reduce emissions.
But as a fuel catalyst interacts with fuel prior to it entering the combustion chamber of an engine, fuel catalysts affect fuel economy.
Fuel Catalysts and Fuel Economy
The fuel economy of a vehicle is not only a factor of the energy required for a vehicle or machine to operate, equally as important is the energy produced by a fuel per unit of measure. Of the fossil fuels, heating oil, diesel, and petroleum have the highest energy densities.
However, no engine is capable of capturing the total energy potential of a fuel. For one, engines burn fuel inefficiently. Another reason energy potential is lost out the tailpipe as the exhaust is that fuels burn inefficiently.
Fuels burn inefficiently, often times, because of a lack of oxygen. Fuel catalysts allow for a great oxygenation of fuel molecules.
Why Fuels Do Not Burn Completely
Refined fossil fuels, on a molecular level, are not a homogenous mixture. Instead, they are a clumpy mix of fuel clusters. And the longer a fossil fuel sits after refinement, the more clusters develop and grow. And the greater the energy density of a fossil fuel, the less homogenous the fuel is.
Diesel and fuel oil, for example, are the least homogenous of refined fossil fuels. Only crude oil is more heterogeneous.
Fuel clusters burn poorly because the fuel molecules in the center of a fuel cluster are not exposed to oxygen. Without oxygen, the molecules in a fuel will not combust. The effect is an incomplete combustion.
“If there is insufficient air for complete combustion, for example in faulty gas fires, we get incomplete combustion instead. The hydrogen is still oxidized to water, but instead of carbon dioxide, we get carbon monoxide. This is a toxic gas that sticks to the hemoglobin in our red blood cells, which lowers the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen to our cells. Particles of carbon, seen as soot or smoke, are also released. These can cause respiratory diseases such as asthma.”
A diesel fuel catalyst breaks up fuel molecule clusters. That allows for better fuel oxygenation.
How a Diesel Fuel Catalyst Increases Fuel Economy
Molecule clusters occur in fuel because of polarization, not a chemical change. The molecules remain independent of one another, but cluster together because of a positive charge. The noble metals in a fuel catalyst remove the charge that binds fuel molecules together in clusters.
Once a catalyst removes the chemical charge from the individual molecules in a fuel, the molecules in a cluster drift apart. Once separated, the molecules are more prone to oxygenize and oxygenated fuel molecules combust.
So, in the simplest terms, a diesel fuel line catalyst is a mechanical device that homogenizes diesel for the purpose of achieving a clean burn.