Improving the efficiency of fossil fuel burning engines is a crucial component in improving air quality and tackling climate change that is being disastrously overlooked, a leading fuel tech company claimed today.
Air pollution and climate change are intrinsically linked, and science and policy around the world must come together to collectively deal with this in a way which, to date, has not happened, says Nawaz Haq, Executive Director of SulNox Group Plc.
Although there are several causes for air pollution such as household energy for cooking, heating and lighting, particularly in less developed countries, a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted the importance of curbing fossil fuel use. In the transport sector, WHO has outlined stricter vehicle emission targets and efficiency standards. Other recent reports by world leading authorities, including the United Nations and the International Energy Agency, have outlined the need for improved efficiencies of internal combustion engines while they are still in use.
Speaking on Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, Mr Haq said: “There are around 1.4 billion vehicles in the world, tens of thousands of heavily polluting ships, mines, power generation and other large sectors that heavily rely on hydrocarbon liquid fuels that are contributing to air pollution and greenhouse gases
“It is important to reduce our reliance on such fuels. Unfortunately, being realistic, such a transition will take some time and time is something we don’t have witharound 22,000 people dying daily from air pollution and rising global temperatures.
“The most immediately-effective solutions to simultaneously tackle air quality and climate warming emissions is to encourage behavioural changes – promoting public transportation for example – and increasing efficiencies of internal combustion engines.”
Some of the most harmful air pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ‘black carbon’, or soot, are released into the atmosphere largely as a result of incomplete combustion in internal combustion engines. Particulate matter can penetrate into the deepest regions of the lungs, contributing to premature deaths with heart and lung disease, strokes, heart attacks and chronic respiratory diseases. Dr James Allan, an expert in ‘black carbon’, from the University of Manchester stated in a recent report that not only was there evidence to suggest ‘black carbon’ is, gram for gram, worse for human health than fine particulate matter, but it also has a global warming potential up to 1,500 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2).
“For land vehicles where electrification is not possible or impractical, the means to improve efficiencies are key. The use of diesel particulate filters and moving to newer vehicles can be effective at curbing some pollution at the ‘tailpipe’, but less developed countries may not have such capabilities. What hasn’t been seriously looked at yet is the huge potential in optimising combustion through fuel formulation, which can be done immediately, and on a global scale for most of transportation and beyond.”
SulNOx Group has developed fuel conditioners made with natural, biodegradable ingredients, that optimise the combustion process and have been shown to reduce the production of ‘black carbon’, and particulate matter by over 50%. This also results in significant improvements in fuel efficiency, reducing fuel consumption by around 8%.
“That represents very sizable reductions in air pollutants and mitigation of CO2 and all other greenhouse gases. It’s a win-win for both air quality and for climate goals,” said Mr Haq.