16 years ago
additive giving much greater gas mileage with almost no emissions. I
read it and I think that this is not evidence of a new gasoline
additive but evidence that gasoline can be refined differently so that
it works the way it ought to work.
My first reaction was that the world could have 20% more fuel with 70%
less pollution using the additive so why haven't they started doing it.
Then it dawns on me that PIB is refined in the same plants that
gasoline is so they could be refining gasoline to have these same or
even greater properties. This whole theory discounts to a great extent
the need for octane.
Is the octane theory like a holy grail that can't be disputed or
something? Did Jesus invent octane? What I mean is that all the experts
I talk to boost with great prowess when expressing their scientific
knowledge related to the complexities of octane. Now, from what I see,
octane is idiocy and they should have known this a long time ago. So
what, does that mean we have to keep pretending that we have all these
global warming issues and energy shortages. Maybe I am looking at it
wrong. Does anyone have any ideas on this?
Polyisobutylene is a polymer. Polymers are usually used to add to other
chemicals or production processes to strengthen or harden components in
a mixture of chemicals. A polymer is used in Epoxy glue kits where you
have two tubes of glue that you mix together which creates a compound
that is extremely durable. One of the tubes contains a polymer which is
the hardener for the glue mixture.
Polyisobutylene is used in making; Adhesives, Agricultural Chemicals,
Fiber Optic Compounds, Caulks and Sealants, Cling Film, Electrical
Fluids, Lubricants - 2 Cycle Engine Oil, Paper and Pulp, Personal Care,
Pigment Concentrates, Rubber Modification, gasoline and diesel fuel
additives - MTBE (methyl tert butyl ether) and has many other uses. It
is used to help clean up oil tanker spills into water ways. When added
to crude oil, it causes it to coagulate, stopping the oil plume from
spreading, making it easier to vacuum from the surface of the water.
Polyisobutylene is produced from isobutylene. It's atomic element is
expressed as C4H8,being a combination of carbon and hydrogen. It is
mostly refined from natural gas or crude oil.
It also has properties that were discovered by Professor Paul Waters of
American University in Washington, D.C. while research using it to make
jet fuel less volatile in order to lessen risk of ignition during
refueling spills and in crashes. He took the initiative to add it to
gasoline in vehicles and machinery around the lab site where he was
working with jet fuel.
While the air force discovered a better way to solve their jet fuel
problem, professor Waters discovered that he increased power and
mileage per gallon and significantly reducing harmful emissions.
Amazingly this could be accomplished with just a few tablespoons to a
full tank of an automobiles gasoline. He discovered that vehicles using
the additive gave 20% more miles traveled for a gallon of gasoline,
reduced engine emissions by 70%, and increased engine horsepower by ten
percent. It also made engines run smoother with less knocks reducing
wear and tear on motors meaning less repair and a longer life. It gives
simular characteristics to diesel fuel.
Polyisobutylene as a gasoline additive works by hardening the molecules
in gasoline so they combust more evenly. It coats each molecule so that
it is independent of the other molecules so that when injected into the
engines piston cylinder and ignited, all the fuel ignites
simultaneously. It also coats the entire fuel system and piston
combustion chamber which protects parts and helps insure that fuel does
not stick to cylinder walls when the fuel is fired. This causes a
smooth running process within the engine while causing more power from
more efficiently burning of the gasoline.
Current theories on solving the problem of even combustion of gasoline
have to do with octane. The higher an octane rating of a fuel, the
thinner and more volatile it is. Other chemicals like MTBE are added to
gasoline to help separate gasoline components which makes the fuel more
gaseous, acting as a thinner. The theory is that it aids the fuel in
misting once it is injected into the piston cylinder.
What Professor Waters claims is that octane boosters although fuel to
mist where the droplets are unevenly dispersed and very in size. Some
of the fuel inevitably sticks to the walls of the cylinder. This causes
it to not combust until it is pushed up to the exhaust valve by the
piston rings. The end result is for the engine to lose power and for
knocking to occur. It also makes the engine run warmer because fuel is
still igniting when it is exiting the exhaust manifold. With
polyisobutylene, the fuel that hits the piston wall bounces upon
ignition because of the additive coating.
Professor Waters has fully tested his theories on Polyisobutylene as a
gasoline additive and got the approval of the American Chemists Society
for his work just as the Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1990 was being debated.
As word leaked out about polyisobutylene's properties as a gasoline
additive, a lot of pressure came to bare on the then President George
Bush, the first Bush President, to force the oil companies to add it to
gasoline. The oil companies however refused saying they would not
cooperate with any mandate nor agree to voluntarily comply with public
wishes for its use. They did however agree that they would be willing
to add another additive to gasoline called MTBE, which has
polyisobutylene in it. It is used to stabilize the very volatile
components that MTBE is made from so it won't simply turn to gas. It is
produced in the same refineries that produce MTBE. MTBE is largely
produced from isobutylene also.
MTBE had been used by the oil companies since 1979 as an octane booster
at 3 percent by volume in gasoline. Added in this low amount, the
polyisobutylene in the MTBE acted to increase the engine performance in
vehicles. It was thought that MTBE increased engine performance.
As the debate over the CAA continued, the notion slowly evolved that
MTBE was not as good an additive as polyisobutylene but almost as good,
and has polyisobutylene in it. It was known at the time that MTBE would
pollute a great deal of US groundwater through leaking fuel tanks and
that there would be a 3 percent loss in miles traveled per gallon and
an increase in some harmful emissions. Due to political pressure in
Washington to pass the CAA, it passed the House and Senate in
unprecedented votes with near hundred percent support. It was later
signed by the President.
The dispute over polyisobutylene was settled by the President
appointing a panel to the EPA to study the concerns of scientist who
thought surely that MTBE would become an environmental nightmare while
polyisobutylene was safe for the environment and would give consumers a
great advantage over their past experiences with gasoline. At issue was
the patent on polyisobutylene as a fuel additive that was held by the
US government. At the time of his discovery, Dr Waters was working on a
government contract. The President had the authority to wave the
regulations that required that Dr Waters follow a ten year waiting
process to allow him to produce and market his innovation. He decide to
wait for the EPA's report on MTBE. The report did not surface until
1999. It concluded that MTBE should be removed from the market
immediately because of groundwater and air quality concerns. It is
still being used today.
At issue also in 1990 was where to come up with the money to build the
infrastructure to produce enough MTBE to enter into US gasoline
supplies at a 15% ratio. As it seemed all was lost for the possibility
for compliance with the CAA mandate for an oxygenate additive, a deal
was struck between international bankers, the oil companies, and the US
government that created a trillion dollar loan package. It was used for
the unprecedented task of building enough refinery capacity to produce
the amount of MTBE needed to meet the EPA's deadline one year later.
This task ended with much fan fair about being the grandest engineering
feat throughout all of history to be accomplished in such a short
period of time.
Enron and the Saudi Government played important roles in this process
of meeting the EPA's requirement for an oxygenate additive to gasoline.
Polyisobutylene was pushed out of the political landscape because the
investment in our nations fuel needs had been made behind a loan that
would not be paid off until 2006. This meant MTBE would not produce a
profit for it's investors for 15 years. Ironically, this is the same
year when Dr Waters patent would be up for renewal and the same target
year for phasing out MTBE's use after the EPA's report. To add insult
to injury, this is also the year we are phasing out most MTBE use in
the country because it has failed miserably as a gasoline additive.
This will mean an even greater increase in gasoline prices as this
election year unflods.
With polyisobutylene's properties as a gasoline additive, it still has
a brilliant future by and large. It however is still banned from
discussion in Washington, DC and in Houston. The issue of
polyisobutylene only brings back bad memories of MTBE. It is too
closely linked to it to discuss without drawing attention to an issue
that the American public is still largely in the dark about. US
producers of MTBE, who have lobbied the government for billions of
dollars to retool their plants to produce other products other than
MTBE are producing polyisobutylene for sale in other industries but not
for use as a gasoline additive.