On-Board Gasoline Distillation for Reduced Hydrocarbon Emissions at Start-Up

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Sixty to ninety-five percent of the total hydrocarbon emissions from gasoline engines are generated during the first one to two minutes of operation following a cold start. This occurs in part because of the difficulty in vaporizing enough fuel in a cold engine to achieve stable combustion. Over-fueling currently overcomes the challenge but results in massive pollution. This invention uses heat rejected by the engine to separate some of the lighter, higher volatility fuel components from the fuel, and uses these lighter fuel components during the first couple of minutes of cold-start and warm-up. After the engine warms up to a sufficient temperature, the normal fuel delivery is utilized. During warmed-up operation, heat rejected by the engine, possibly in the form of hot engine coolant, is used as a heat source for the fuel distillation process.


  • Simple, cost-effective device for emissions reduction
  • Transparent to the consumer--same performance, same fuel system, requirements
  • Easy retrofit for existing fleets


  • Inexpensive - estimated at $50 per vehicle in mass production
  • Reduces startup emissions by 80%
  • Reduces total vehicle emissions by 50% to 75%

Market Potential/Applications

This invention could be used as an effective emissions-reduction device in all liquid-fueled passenger vehicles, including automobiles and light-duty trucks. The market includes automakers and fuel system manufacturers.

For further information please contact

University of Texas,
Austin, USA
Website : www.otc.utexas.edu