We're still talking about fuel catalysts? Really?

After my lengthy series of posts following the Sydney Morning Herald's entertaining deconstruction of the Firepower "fuel pill" saga, a reader felt compelled to bring this new Herald article to my attention.

The article sings the praises of the Moletech - or possibly MTECH - Fuel Saver, a catalytic device that allegedly changes the properties of the petrol, blah blah blah.

I saw it mentioned on the gadget blogs, too - these upstanding businessmen must have a stand at CES '08. At least the Engadget piece was properly derisive.

Moletech seem quite proud of their supporting evidence from one "California Environmental Engineering laboratory". Assuming I've found the right site for the lab, it looks kosher at first glance. But then you discover that the CEE lab has previously "proved" that the "Advanced Fuel Carburetor and Cat Converter" does the usual miraculous things. That was back in 2000.

And then there was the "Green Plus" fuel catalyst, also claimed to do similar things to the Moletech gadget, which the CEE lab also said worked.

And then there's the "Rentar Fuel Catalyst", also proclaimed genuine by CEE.

And that was just from the first page of Google results.

Gee, that oil company conspiracy that keeps all of these miracles off the market must be working pretty damn hard, huh?

There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of "fuel catalysts" marketed in the past, many of them with claims indistinguishable from those made for the Moletech gadget.

But this one's the one that actually works. This time for sure, Rocky!

(The end of the Herald article makes reference to another report on the gadget, this time from the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services, which has recently and very helpfully been renamed the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. I've used their Publication Information Request form to ask them whether the quoted report even exists. Hope springs eternal.)

UPDATE: What do you know, they actually replied! Read all about it, including some fresh weirdness, here!

11 Responses to “We're still talking about fuel catalysts? Really?”

  1. tgdavies Says:

    I've just written an indignant letter to the SMH.

    What about Dr Dingle's report? (he has a beautifully designed website by the way)

  2. jakes Says:

    I particularly liked this on Dr Dingle's site:
    'Dr Dingle's passion is to live to 140 healthily'.
    Also, he's associate prof and 'leading researcher' in Health and the Environment at Murdoch (not a chemist or physicist) - so I'm not sure how well placed he is to be making claims about the efficacy of the Fuel Saver. In fact, having looked quickly at the report he doesn't appear to have tested the device himself at all (surprised, anyone?) but just summarised test results from elsewhere. And the Australian tests referred to appear to amount to 'tests' on a single vehicle by a 'private taxi company' (although there might be more but I couldn't be bothered wasting my time reading the whole thing). The whole thing just shouts snake oil (although the SMH apparently doesn't think so - when will they learn?)

  3. robzy Says:

    I have also sent in a Publication Information Request form. Interesting to see what happens.


  4. Odeen Says:

    Umm.. if the oil conspiracy is alive and well, then these ineffective "catalysts" are released to distract us, and to make us believe that the effective ones do not exist.

    Isn't that what the oil conspiracy would WANT the consumers to think? "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia, cars that can sit 5 185cm tall people always use 11L/100km fuel"

    Just saying that absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. For all we know, there are hulking pickups out there that use less gas than a Smartcar, but no one except oil company execs know about them, and their creators have been effectively silenced.

  5. Alan Says:

    "Just saying that absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence..." and just because every Santa I've seen is a fake, doesn't mean there isn't a REAL Santa Claus at the North Pole.

    It's mighty hard to prove a negative. But I would offer this: How do the oil companies control EVERY effective fuel additive?

    No- if there is any improvement in efficiency to be made, I'd suggest a re-design of the basic 4-stroke Kettering cycle engine itself is required. Perhaps incorporating aspects of the Stirling engine, or even the triple expansion chamber system of steam engines.

  6. arteitle Says:

    "Kettering cycle"? Don't you mean Otto cycle?

  7. Daniel Rutter Says:

    No, man - the Kettering cycle. For engines with Bussard-Jeffries ignition nacelles.

  8. AlanO Says:

    Oops. Ok, I had a "Senior Moment".
    But I think my point is valid- between a more efficient fuel and a more efficient engine, I'm less likely to dismiss the engine.

    Damn. Now I have images of hybrid Otto and Stirling engines whirling around. Maybe I should make an animation.

  9. Alan Says:

    So much for trying to add a link...

  10. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I fixed the links. I consider fixing that stuff to be the price I pay for providing a crappy no-preview textbox for comments :-).

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