Easy Breathing in Manila

Nov 162004
Authors: Daniel Linn

Energy-efficient automotive technology developed by CSU students and faculty will be on its way to the streets of the Philippines in 2005.

EnviroFit, a CSU student- and faculty-developed nonprofit corporation with a mission to reduce pollution and enhance energy efficiency in developing countries, was developed as a project in a CSU entrepreneurship class in spring 2003.

The Bohemian Foundation, an organization promoting community awareness and involvement, pledged $500,000 on Oct. 28 to EnviroFit, which evolved into a nonprofit organization by October 2003 and is seeking tax-exemption

The $500,000 pledge comes as a result of CSU's Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory direct injection retrofit technology, and it is intended to fund a field test to confirm the technology's viability in an environment outside of Colorado. The direct injection retrofit technology spurs from a snowmobile motor the EECL built in 2002. The motor was found to be one of the cleanest of its kind.

"The potential impact of the technology on the world is exciting," said Cheryl Zimlich, a spokeswoman for the Bohemian Foundation. "The foundation supports EnviroFit in this second phase of the project to do the field trials that prove the technology works on the ground, not just in the lab."

The push for the technology is a result of pollution from 1.3 million two-stroke tricycles in the Philippines.

Bryan Willson, research director of the EECL and executive director of EnviroFit International, said 2,000 deaths and $430 million in economic costs could be attributed to pollution from the tricycles. Much of this could be cut through the use of direct injection, he said.

"The reduced health costs will easily pay for the program," Willson said.

Willson said the retrofit, valued at approximately $200 per bike, would pay for itself in 10 months for the average user because of decreased fuel dependency as the two-stroke motor lacks many of the complicated parts of a four-stroke motor and is powerful and more durable.

Willson said 35 percent of the fuel in tricycles without the technology is lost to open air.

Conventional two-stroke motors emit unused fuel by design.

An air/fuel mixture pulled through a carburetor into the engine is used to "scavenge" spent fuel, in effect pushing it out of the motor to make room for fresh fuel.

Since the scavenging mixture must pass through the carburetor, it is enriched with fuel that is expelled into the atmosphere with the spent fuel, a waste of economic and environmental resources.

Direct injection eliminates the carburetor and injects fuel directly into the motor, allowing clean air to be used to scavenge the spent air and fuel mixture.

Willson said direct injection technology significantly reduces the amount of unused fuel released to the atmosphere, cutting pollution by as much as 90 percent.

"Dr. Willson wants to see his technology make a difference in the world," said Paul Hudnut, president and director of EnviroFit and CSU director of venture development.

Hudnut said he is grateful for the "gracious donation" from the Bohemian Foundation and has a bright outlook on the upcoming field test in Manila.

Pending positive results from the field test, EnviroFit and its partners in the Philippines are expected to establish manufacturing operations for more production by 2006.

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