How Start Works
Electro Cracking Technology
Start is a revolutionary new electro-cracking device that uses a high-voltage electric current to break long-chain hydrocarbon molecules at ambient temperature into shorter, lighter more volatile molecules.
This process is known as “cracking” in the petroleum refinery industry, where it is used to convert feedstock oil into gasoline, diesel and other products, including butanes, propane, propylene, ethane and methane.
Start’s patent-pending technology discharges a high-voltage electric current at a specified frequency and wavelength into fuel at ambient temperature prior to its entry into the carburetor.
When conventional gas and diesel fuels are reconditioned by Start, they become more flammable and burn more completely in the combustion chamber.
This produces a number of important benefits, including:
- Lower emissions
- Reduced fuel consumption
- Improved engine performance
The objective of the cracking process is to cause the large hydrocarbon molecules present in the unrefined oil to break down into smaller molecules.
At one time, thermal cracking was the most widely used conversion method. In thermal cracking, heat, starting at about 450-500 °C, and pressure, at about ~700kPa, are applied to the feedstock oil. Under these conditions, the larger molecules begin to become unstable and break spontaneously into smaller molecules of all possible sizes and types. By adjusting the time, temperature and pressure, the degree of cracking can be controlled, and a particular feedstock can be converted to a desired end product.
The more common method of cracking used in refineries today is known as catalytic cracking. Here, the feedstock oil is heated to high temperatures and catalysts such as zeolite, aluminum hydrosilicate, bauxite and silica-alumina are introduced. Catalytic cracking is preferred because it produces larger quantities of gasoline with a higher octane rating as well as other volatile gases that have a greater market value.
Typical Reaction in the Cracking Operation
Straight or branched hydrocarbon chains
• 1— C12H26 → C6H14 + C6H12
As the cracking proceeds, the smaller hydrocarbons that have been formed themselves break down into even smaller hydrocarbons. For example:
• 1a—C6H14 →C4H10 +C2H4
• 1b—C4H10 →CH4 +CH2=CH-CH3
• 1c—C4H10 →CH3-CH3 +CH2=CH2
• 1d—C4H10 →CH2=CH-CH2-CH3 +H2
All these reactions occur simultaneously and at different proportions and concentrations.
Start: Electric Discharge Cracking
With Start, a high-voltage electric current at a specified frequency and wavelength is discharged into liquid gas or diesel at ambient temperatures. Our research shows that when the current is applied, the fuel undergoes chemical and physical state changes consistent with the changes that result when crude oil is cracked during refining.
- Density decreases
- Pressure increases
- The boiling point decreases
- Octane number increases
- Amounts of gas propane and butane increases
As a consequence of the breakdown of the larger molecules into smaller ones, the quantity of the more volatile, short-chain hydrocarbons is increased, although the total number of atoms remains the same.
This result is a major breakthrough since the molecular changes are occurring at ambient (low) temperatures, rather than high temperatures associated with thermal cracking.
Understanding Combustion Efficiency
The combustion efficiency of a hydrocarbon molecule is associated directly with the amount of the molecule’s surface area that is exposed to oxygen. The reason that a small, short-chain hydrocarbon burns more efficiently is that more of the molecule’s surface area is exposed to oxygen. In a hydrocarbon that exists in gas form, such as methane (CH4), the surface area is fully exposed to oxygen. When a methane molecule reacts with oxygen in the air, a large amount of heat is produced and only carbon dioxide and water vapour are left behind. This is known as complete combustion.
Adding Hydrogen to the Mix
Extensive research has shown that introducing small quantities of gaseous hydrogen into conventional hydrocarbon fuels can dramatically improve combustion. The reasons for the improvement include:
- Hydrogen gas molecules are lighter than hydrocarbon fuel molecules and move at a higher velocity; thus, they have more molecular collisions with oxygen
- Hydrogen ignites at a lower temperature than hydrocarbons fuel molecules
- Hydrogen burns more rapidly
- The energy that hydrogen releases at the beginning of the combustion process contributes to the combustion of the less-volatile hydrocarbon fuel molecules
Hydrogen is a byproduct of the breakdown of some hydrocarbon molecules
When cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are broken down during the cracking process, hydrogen atoms are liberated into the fuel mixture. These atoms combine to form hydrogen gas (H2).
By cracking the hydrocarbon molecules in gas or diesel fuel, Start increases the volume of both the lower-weight, more volatile hydrocarbons and volatile, highly explosive hydrogen gas molecules – and both of these outcomes contribute to more complete fuel combustion. Thus, the fuel will:
- Ignite at a lower temperature
- Burn faster
- Combust more completely
- Produce more horsepower
- Distribute power more evenly for smoother performance
- Leave behind fewer unburned hydrocarbons to escape the tailpipe as pollution