In the "are you kidding me" department, we find this report of a simple device consisting of an electrically charged tube that can be attached to the fuel line of a car’s engine near the fuel injector. Using power from the vehicle’s battery, the device creates an electric field that thins the fuel, reducing its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. That leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion.
And who says so? Has to be a quack, a jerk, some backyard mechanic? Errr. no, actually, it's Temple University.
"Six months of road testing in a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz automobile showed that the device increased highway fuel from 32 miles per gallon to 38 mpg, a 20 percent boost"
"Temple has applied for a patent on this technology, which has been licensed to California-based Save The World Air Inc., an environmentally conscientious enterprise focused on the design, development, and commercialization of revolutionary technologies targeted at reducing emissions from internal combustion engines."
I believe the patent application is for number 20080190771 It seems to be for a device that uses the electric power from the battery to create a magnetic field around the fuel.
So do those con artists who sell the perminant magnet thing you put on the fuel line actually have something going on? Mythbusters, and many others, proved that they don't. So what gives?
The patent application says: "It has been surprisingly found that if the applied magnetic field is a short pulse, the induced dipolar interaction does not have enough time to affect particles at macroscopic distances apart, but forces nearby ones into small clusters. The assembled clusters are thus of limited size, for example of micrometer size. While the particle volume fraction remains the same, the average size of the "new particles" is increased. This may lead to the reduction in apparent viscosity because the value of the crowding factor k, is reduced. "
So it's a pulse, not a continuous application, that makes the difference.
Pulsing a magnetic coil with a specific, adjustable, duty cycle and pulse width is taylor made for microcontrollers like the PIC or MSP430, and pretty easy to do.