Breakthrough in polymer additive to Gasoline

Looks like everyone is on board with polymer additives to gasoline except the scientific community who assures me it is too expensive and complicated to work out. It seems this oyster farmer has more on the ball than our modern day scholars of technology. Of course he would not be eligible for the Nobel Peace prize so what good is he doing

Maine - Boothbay Register Nov 02, 2006 Vol 129, Number 44

"Cheaper fuel and cleaner air on the way?"

Joe Orchulli Ii

Gary Arnold of West Boothbay Harbor displays containers of a special polymer fuel additive that he is offering to citizens in the Boothbay region in a community-wide trial basis. (Photo Joe Orchulli II) In the age of rising fuel costs and concern over the environment, local resident Gary Arnold of West Boothbay Harbor has identified a unique, useful, and readily available technology to help answer some of these problems.

Arnold, who has been attuned to fuel additive technologies since an accident at a salmon hatchery in 1987, is providing bottles of a novel polymer fuel additive to anyone who will report back with results. He is interested in doing a regional test to help to bring Maine and all of New England into the same arena as counties in Texas and California who are now using the additive in fuel to help decrease air pollution.

Developed by Jerry Trippe of General Technology Applications of Virginia, the additive, marketed as Viscon, not only cuts down on noxious emissions, but also has been discovered to save on fuel consumption in diesel trucks and automobiles.

Great Results

In Local Diesel Trucks

Remarkable improvement in fuel efficiency has been seen in local trucks using fuel treated with minute doses of this ultra high molecular weight polymer. This technology has been touted primarily as a method to significantly reduce exhaust emissions.

Boothbay Town Manager John Anderson said, "We are very pleased with the results, we are seeing a 20 to 25 percent savings in all of our vehicles with a high of 28.8 percent savings in our 2006 GMC 5500.

"I looked over all of the material that Gary gave me and called Downeast Energy, and after hearing their results, I asked Tony Goode to try it out at the Public Works Department.

"Eventually we will put the polymer directly into our fuel depot. It is a big help to the community in a time where fuel prices are where they are."

"Gary has been a wonderful person to work with it. A guy who is an oyster farmer and now a polymer fuel expert, who would have guessed it would get a 20 to 30 percent increase!" Anderson said.

Downeast Energy reported an amazing increase of 30 to 70 percent fuel mileage increases in its trucks.

Peter Armstrong of "On the Road" trucks in Warren tested the polymer additive in a truck, which normally consumes $700 to $800 per trip and was reduced to $496, a dramatic percent increase in mileage, plus the driver reported more power in the performance of the truck.

Daren Graves of G&G Towing reported an increase of 28.89 percent in fuel savings in his 2005 Ford Sterling.

"It's saving me money. Gary's been really great about it. We even tried going off of it for a week and it went back to the mileage we started with," Graves said

Not Just For Diesel.

As far as use in gasoline engines, marine scientist Richard Langton of the Darling Center in Walpole, and a resident of Edgecomb has used the gasoline additive on and off for over a year. "My daughter has an old Subaru and is always asking for PIB. Both my son and daughter are interested in the additive because it saves them money at the pump.

"In our four cars, we've seen a range of 10 to 20 percent increase in gas mileage, Langton said.

"It's not snake oil. Gary is on to something here. I would definitely encourage people to try it. It is a simple solution to some of our fuel problems. I believe that it should be in everybody's car.

"If anything, it cleans out your engine and improves things. My mileage is still good even after not using it for a time," said Langton.

Not Just in Maine

Tested extensively in California, this polymer technology was recently approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for use in diesel fuel to improve the air quality of the 110 counties in East Texas (including the cities of Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth) where NOx levels exceeded EPA strictures.

Cleaner Air

John Bastey, former head of the Air Quality Bureau in the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, said that he is getting just over 36 mpg in flat and level driving on the Maine Turnpike, up from

32.5 mpg using the additive . "Cleaner air is what is really important to me, Bastey said.

"What does make the difference using this technology are the emissions, that's an important thing, the environmental impact.

"I arranged an opportunity for Gary to meet with Ron Severance at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection about the polymer technology and Severance actually called officials in Texas about the recent approval and use of the polymer technology. He also said he was going to try the polymer in his personal auto.

"Regulatory officials in other states are looking into what is happening in California and Texas. Hopefully they can help start a trend leading to acceptance of the Texas Model in other states." said Bastey.

Back in 1987

Arnold notes, "Back in 1987, at a salmon hatchery in Bingham, Maine, I lost over 300,000 fry to MTBE pumped in from a gasoline spill. Since then I've been a supporter for removal of MTBE from the nation's fuel supply and have paid more attention to the products represented as offering benefit in reducing emissions.

"I learned about the technology purely by chance a few years ago; it was represented as being so effective in reducing exhaust emissions that it totally obviated need for MTBE in gasoline."

Even in Bubble Gum?

In looking into Viscon , Arnold found that the polymer, polyisobutylene, is a non-toxic, environmentally benign, pure food grade polymer developed in the 1930s during research and development on synthetic rubber. It is currently used as a component in fuel and oil additives (to add lubricity), paint, adhesives, caulk, coatings, and even in chewing gum.

In the fuel additive application, it is used in extremely low quantities, 5 ppm in diesel and 10 ppm in gasoline.

The EPA required no testing for the fuel aftermarket and classifies the product as a fuel complement (more like a constituent) rather than a fuel additive.

"The polymer has a 50-year track record of use in internal combustion engines in lower molecular weight forms.

"Once exposed to combustion, the polymer dissembles into 4- and

8-carbon chains, the same base units of the fuel constituents, and is totally consumed.

"I contacted the manufacturer and talked with Jerry Trippe, the primary developer of this polymer technology," Arnold said. I had no way to verify the claims regarding emission reduction, but it was explained that the polymer also helped fuel efficiency. I bought some product and began testing it in my own auto, some friends' vehicles, and eventually buses, trucks, and even locomotives at Guilford Transportation."

Arnold's Testing Gets

Manufacturer's Attention

"When the manufacturer found out what I was doing, they began to provide me product at no charge and, in return, I provide them with results on my limited field trials.

"Generally improvement in the range of 5-12 percent was seen in diesel applications, but about a year ago some very dramatic results were seen in trials conducted with Downeast Energy on newer model fuel delivery trucks powered by the International DT466 engines.

"With this information in hand, it became easier to arrange additional trials including those conducted locally over the last several months.

"Good results have also now been seen in late model trucks powered by Cummins, Isuzu, and Mercedes engines."

These results involving the newer model vehicles have surprised even the manufacturer of the polymer technology.

"I believe that innovations and technical advances made by engine design teams working to meet impending (2007) emission strictures are significantly leveraged when the combustion environment is optimized using polymer," Arnold said.

Possible explanations include: enhanced onboard computing capacity and more refined programs, high pressure digitally controlled, common-rail fuel injection systems, emission gas recycling techniques, and variable speed turbochargers some having adjustable vanes.

Not all vehicles show improvement. Three school buses (BRSD), a rubbish truck (Giles), and a seafood delivery truck (Mill Cove Lobster) exhibited no benefit using the polymer.

"The polymer technology is novel in that, in stark contrast to the hundreds of other additives on the market, it does not function as a reagent in combustion chemistry, Arnold said.

"The polymer is indeed a chemical, but it serves only to alter the physical behavior of the fuel and it actually functions more like a mechanical device in that exerts physical control over the size and rigidity of fuel droplets during aerosolization.

Can I Get Some For My Car?

"It is a simple and elegant approach to controlling combustion and reducing exhaust emissions and, serendipitously, it appears to dramatically reduce fuel consumption," Arnold said.

If you would like to participate in the community-based trial using your truck, bus, boat, auto, or piece of equipment e-mail Gary Arnold at and log onto

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to post your results.

Reporter Joe Orchulli II, driving a 1992 Plymouth Voyager mini-van reported his gas mileage improving from 17.33 mpg to 21.33 mpg and obtained 24.44 mpg on a recent highway trip using the polymer.

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I'm not sure what you expect from this forum? A quick search indicates that this topic is being researched by a number of universities and even (heaven forbid) big oil companies such as ExxonMobil.

You can buy PIB as a fuel additive from FRAM and Torco now if you so desire at about ~$7/qt. From what I've read PIB typically increases MPG by about

5-10% in most cases depending about the vehicle, driving styles, etc. I'm not sure what the dilution ratio is for the FRAM and Torco products but it better be fairly low to make it worthwhile ecomonically.

From what I gathered PIB works differently than ethanol or MTBE. Ethanol and MTBE work by being a secondary oxygen source and hence help to provide more complete combustion. PIB works by increasing the viscosity of the fuel and preventing droplet sizes that are too small (< 50 microns). Small droplets burn prematurely and lead to poor engine efficiency. Too much PIB in the fuel and the viscosity of the gasoline will become too high and it will be difficult to pump (especially at low temperatures) and can lead to clogged fuel injectors. So like everything there is a proper balance.

That said will we find PIB in our gasoline in the near future? Maybe but if not it will not be because of some grand conspiracy by the oil companies but because it fails the cost/benefits test.

Larry Effler

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Larry Effler

Not sure where you are going with this. It seems that everyone agrees that PIB can be used as an additive. It is obvious that it has been researched and approved for use in gasoline and diesel fuels. The raw material is somewhat pricey, but additive levels are low, so overall cost should not be susbstantial on a per gallon basis. Iguess that it comes down to supply. Can enough be made to support the volume of gasoline consumed? Adding it at home is not for everyone.

Now thinking longer term, fuel additives are a dead-end. What comes after gasoline?

You may want to rethink your approach with people as it obviously impedes acceptance of your ideas.


Bobby wrote:

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"Bobby" wrote in news:

GTA has been working on commericalizing their PIB additive since the early 1990's, and presumably spending money to do so. They got their EPA approval in September 2005. I think 10+ years of research and investment is clear evidence that PIB _is_, in fact, "expensive and complicated" to commercialize. Is it "too" expensive and complicated..? Remains to be seen, but thats probably a better topic for an accounting forum. ;)

You mean the same "modern day scholars of technology" who've been working for the past 10+ years on Viscon at GTA, UMich, and American University? Doubt it.

This is confusing. The oyster farmer handed out samples of someone else's (EPA-approved) fuel additive. How would that qualify him for a Nobel "Peace" prize? Its a generous guy, sure (or is vested somehow in GTA's success), but he's no Ghandi.

If "Peace" was inadvertent, and you meant he is due some prize for his "scientific" endeavors, how does handing out free samples make you a scientist? I got a free sample of Sudafed PE Quick Dissolve Strips at Wal-Mart this past weekend. Does that make the blue-vested old lady who handed it to me a pharmacist? Doubt it,

Regards Dave Z

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You science guys always say the same thing. You are what are called naysayers.

Tests show increases of up to thirty percent from using PIB. But lets say it is only 5-10% like you say. That's 5-10 percent more gasoline for the world. Do you have any idea how much energy that is?

And it is supposed to reduce tailpipe emissions by 70%. But lets cut that by a third too to suit your argument. That's over 20% reduction in automobile pollution. The President signed an energy bill last year that forced gasoline to contain 10% ethanol. I am not going to give you a lessen in ethanol as a fuel additive. It is a loser in so many ways it's ridiculous. But it does cost gasoline mileage and increases pollution. A lot of highly populated communities have to have expensive specially refined gasoline that is so clean, it can handle what ethanol will do to it so that it doesn't poison communities.

Ethanol is supported by ADM, Archers Daniels Midland. They throw a lot of money around Washington. MTBE has a worse track record than ethanol is striking up right now. Ken Lay, Bush 41, and Enron were MTBE's parents. We all know how much money Enron spent buying the powerful capital city in the world.

PIB in gasoline has no big money supporters. The only people who would have an interest in PIB in gasoline are the people who are buying fuel for their cars. But they don't know anything about it. So I reached out to experts in this field who might see a benefit in PIB being added to gasoline that might help me put pressure on people in Washington to stop ripping us off and give us something that works for all the money the oil companies are ripping us off for.

I guess you think that anyone who thinks that big money runs Washington DC is a delusional conspiracy theorist. I guess the fact that the Republicans just lost the House and Senate because of the Presidents handling of Iraq and corruption in Washington must make you feel on top of the world being as you are one of the few people that made it through this election process without becoming delusional enough to think that big money plays a role in how the world works.

I am glad the scientific community can keeps its decorum while the rest of us run amuck of reality.

And by the way, whenever one of you responds thinking I don't know what I am talking about, all you ever reference is news articles or what is put out for popular consumption on the issue. You never dig deep looking for unanswered question. But that is what I do. I did all that already. Then I came here looking for support and all I get is your whining. And your arguments never make sense.

Polymers have a lot of toxic fumes. I think you guys are working in toxic environments for too many hours a day. Your minds are weak. Try astragulus root powder or cordyceps mushrooms. They will flush out your kidneys and help you get your mind right. Then we can talk.

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