- The cause of excessive CO2 emissions should be found in automotive engineering.
- Newly-patented “automatic fuel supply adjustment” technology is set to transform the landscape of the car industry and serve as an alternative to carbon tax.
As of now, approximately 7.1 billion people are living on earth. The number of vehicles running on fossil fuels, like gasoline, diesel and LPG, exceeds one billion. On average, one out of every 7.1 people owns a car around the world.
However, global drivers, who drive over one billion cars, would stop short of offering clear-cut answers to this question: Do you know how your car’s fuel supply system works. As such, global car buyers have trusted car makers blindly when it comes to fuel supply systems.
These days, imposing carbon tax on cars has become a hot button issue. CO2 emissions exceeding the permissible limits mean a wasteful use of fuel. In conclusion, car makers have yet to be technologically advanced enough to make sure of efficient fuel consumption, though several hundred years have passed since the advent of cars. As a result, they have shuffled off their responsibility for fuel efficiency onto customers.
The engines inside cars, heavy construction equipment or vessels are called “internal combustion engines” in automotive engineering. The cause of a wasteful fuel use by vehicles lurks in their internal combustion engines.
South Korea has witnessed considerable controversies going on over the government’s move to introduce a low carbon vehicle fund system (the so-called carbon tax system), which provides buyers of low-carbon vehicles with subsidies and imposes extra charges on buyers of high-carbon vehicles.
The proposed low carbon vehicle fund system is viewed as a carbon tax system because most of the buyers of new Korean-made cars - most of which surpass the 131 g/㎞ - 145 g/㎞ CO2 emission range (the neutral zone, where there is neither subsidy nor additional tax burden) - have to pay tax under the system.
Yet, the Ministry of Environment of South Korea said that the low carbon vehicle fund system, which either hands out subsidies or levies a tax according to the car’s CO2 emission levesl, is different from other carbon tax systems that unilaterally levy a tax on people. The Ministry added that under the low carbon vehicle fund system, consumers would be given an opportunity to make a choice between receiving a subsidy and paying a tax.
In other words, consumers, who buy low-carbon vehicles like electric vehicles (EV), hybrids and small-sized cars, will be offered subsidies while those who purchase high-carbon, large vehicles have to cough up more money. The low carbon vehicle fund system aims to reduce green house gases, emitted from transportation. Deliberation on the introduction of this system is currently underway in the nation to curtail excessive CO2 emissions and energy consumption by encouraging lovers of big cars to have a change of heart.
The secretariat of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC, founded to counter climate change, has been set up in the new Songdo district of Incheon, hence raising expectations of a rise in cross-border Certified Emission Reductions (CERs)or carbon credit projects. Against this backdrop, the carbon vehicle fund system was initially scheduled to take effect starting July of this year.However, the initial plan prompted a strong outcry from industries, led by the auto sector, and therefore was postponed to January 2015. Once this system is put in place, buyers of Korean-made cars with an engine displacement of around 2,000㏄ (cubic centimeters), the most popular models in the nation, have to pay KRW 250,000–KRW5 million in taxes. In some cases, a maximum of KRW 7 million in tax can be levied, the industry says.
Furthermore, there is a fear that the low carbon vehicle fund system would hamper fair income distribution by financially burdening the middle-class buying mid- and small-sized vehicles and giving relative benefits to the buyers of imported cars.
As a matter of fact, some Korean-made small cars’ mileage is lower than that of imported cars, which are slightly smaller than mid-sized cars but three to four times the prices of their Korean-made counterparts. Thus, the buyers of compact cars have to pay a tax while the buyers of imported cars receive subsidies, depending on where the line is drawn between subsidy-eligible and taxable bands.
In response to such concerns, the Ministry of Environment said, “Inter-ministerial consultations are underway on how to draw a line between subsidy-eligible and taxable. And we are also set to listen to what consumers and the industry say. So nothing has been set in stone yet.”
It is not a matter of consumer choice but a matter of automotive engineering.
Then, what is the underlying cause of such controversies First of all, we need to take a look at why car exhaust fumes are emitted. The answer is simple. It is because of incomplete combustion of fuel.
When does incomplete combustion of fuel occur An insufficient supply of oxygen or low temperatures results in incomplete combustion of fuels and the generation of toxic soot or carbon monoxide. In particular, an uneven mixture of fuel and oxygen entails incomplete combustion of fuel, therefore discharging soot, carbon monoxide and hydro carbon (CH).
Compressed natural gas (CNG), LNG, LPG, gasoline and diesel are commonly used as car fuel. When LNG (CH4) and LPG (C3H8) burn, complete combustion often ensues because hydrogen atoms outnumber carbon atoms, which means that LNG (CH4) and LPG (C3H8) require less oxygen during combustion.
But, when gasoline (C8H18) and diesel (C16~C18), in which carbon atoms outnumber hydrogen atoms, burn, more oxygen is needed. Thus, they tend to go for incomplete combustion, which gives rise to soot, carbon monoxide and hydro carbon (CH) in large qualities.
On top of that, the boiling points of gasoline and diesel are higher than other fuels. The higher the boiling point of the fuel the more likely the incomplete combustion takes place. The fuels made from crude oil, such as gasoline and diesel, have a higher density of carbon, so incomplete combustion is highly likely.
Automotive engineering recommends “suction”-compression-ignition-exhaust cycle while the industry follows “injection”-compression-ignition-exhaust cycle .
For such reasons, inducing complete combustion is the key to reducing car exhaust fumes. To that end, the right amount of fuel should be supplied to the car engine. The amounts of fuel the engine needs differ according to speeds, driving patterns, etc.
Let’s take a closer look at the instructions contained in automotive engineering textbooks. As you may have learned during your high school tech classes, a four-stroke engine goes through four steps: suction, compression, ignition and exhaust.
What is important here is that the suction stroke is not doing its “suction” job properly. As mentioned before, appropriate amounts of fuel should be sucked into the engine for the sake of complete combustion. But the car industry has employed a method, in which a certain amount of fuel at certain fuel pressure levels, set by car makers, is being “injected,” not being “sucked,” into the engine.
It is obvious that the amounts of fuel the engine needs vary according to driving circumstances. For example, more fuel is needed during acceleration while less fuel is needed during deceleration.
However, the industry’s car engineering disregards this simple logic, opting for forcefully injecting a specific amount of fuel into the engine. Consequently, excessive amounts of fuel are injected into the engine, causing incomplete combustion, more car exhaust fumes, more noise and vibration. To top it off, the soot generated by the incomplete combustion will linger inside the engine, therefore shortening the life span of the engine.
The prevalently used four-stroke combustion cycle consists of “injection,” compression, ignition and exhaust, not “suction,” compression, ignition and exhaust. Therefore, the industry’s car engineering should be overhauled to change the “injection” stroke into the “suction stroke” both literally and genuinely.
At the moment, unnecessarily excessive amounts of fuel are injected into the engine in the form of liquid, so incomplete combustion is bound to occur. The right amount of liquefied fuel should be sucked into the engine to ensure complete combustion.
To do so, cars need an automatic fuel supply adjustment system, which can automatically supply foamy fuel into the engine according to changes in the car’s rpm(revolutions per minute).
Development of technology-intensive automatic fuel supply adjusters that ensure complete combustion and slash carbon emissions
Since automatic fuel supply adjusters make sure that the right amount of fuel is sucked into the engine according to driving circumstances, they induce complete combustion and therefore make a huge dent in car exhaust fumes. Moreover, since excessive fuel injections are prevented, the noise and rattles during the ignition stroke will drop, therefore furnishing drivers with smoother driving experiences. What’s more, since they promise complete combustion, they will keep the inside of the engine cylinder clean, thereby lengthening the engine life.
A Korean company has been in the spotlight as it has obtained a patent on its technology-intensive automatic fuel supply adjuster, called “Magic Capsule.” This company is 3EN Tech, led by CEO Choi In-seop. The Magic Capsule can improve mileage by over 15% by preventing unnecessary fuel consumption and can dramatically diminish exhaust fumes, thereby truly realizing the suction-compression-ignition-exhaust cycle. 3EN Tech’s Magic Capsule has been better received in overseas markets. China is pressing ahead with a national project, in which 3EN Tech’s Magic Capsule plays a role.
Above all, as 3EN Tech’s Magic Capsule can be applied to all kinds of products, let alone the internal combustion engines of cars, it is expected to appreciably contribute to national endeavors for efficient fuel consumption and environmental protection. The Korean industry also reacted to 3EN Tech’s remarkable achievement. At the end of last year, CEO Choi In-seop received “Korea New Intellectual Award” from the Korea Association of New Intellectuals in the invention category.
Unless the prevalently used “injection” stroke in the four-stroke combustion cycle is replaced with the “suction” stroke (though the Korean car industry currently uses the expression “suction” to describe their “injection” stroke), controversies over the low carbon car vehicle fund system and environmental improvement charges will persist.
Once car manufacturers start to equip their models with automatic fuel supply adjusters at their production plants, a plunge in CO2 emissions, a 30% improvement in fuel economy and longer engine lifespan would be possible. The introduction of automatic fuel supply adjusters will also ease carbon tax burdens and transform the landscape of the domestic car market, as well as the global car market.
The excellent, patented technology, developed by 3EN Tech, should be protected by the S. Korean government. And the application of this technology to all the cars being built at production sites should be highly recommended after relevant institutions and organizations finalize their technology verification processes. And car manufacturers need to forgo their vested interests and selfishness in order to enhance national interest and public safety.