Seawork's catalyst for success

The Fitch 500 catalyst in place on Barrus' test engine.

The makers of the Fitch Fuel Catalyst report that the first major UK endorsement and display of the system at Seawork 2009 was a huge success for the product – with great interest from all sectors of the workboat market.

Since Seawork, Fuel Harmonics PLC is in discussions with Smit, Svitzer, RNLI and HMRC with a view to long term evaluations of the FHD10 amongst others, dependant on engine capacity and vessel performance expectations.

Marine engine supplier EP Barrus was on the quayside exhibiting the F500 fitted inline with a Yanmar 4LHA – the very engine that EP Barrus successfully evaluated the performance of the Fitch on during March 2009.

The resulting evaluation demonstrated that the Fitch gave fuel savings that peaked at 5.7%, throughout the entire rev range tested, while pollutants such as CO2, NO2, carbon monoxide and nitric oxide were also reduced, an effect explained by the more complete combustion of the fuel.

It works through an amalgam of alloys which return the fuel, be it diesel or petrol, to its pre-refined state. The molecular chains of refined fuel typically become degraded and disorganised and are therefore less effective in combustion. So the Fitch brings the chains back to lengths of, typically, between 16 and 32 molecules.

This regularity reduces pre-ignition and ensures a more complete burn, also reducing excess from being emitted in the exhaust as hydrocarbons. Further, this increases hydrogen content, calorific value and cetane number. Further, it seems that the test, which ran for 24 hours, stopped short of evaluating the full benefits of the catalyst which would show up after longer running times. It also seems that as the combustion chamber is kept cleaner there will be additional benefits with regard to the life of the injection equipment and reduced quantities of sulphur from unburnt fuel finding its way into the engine lubricating oil so also extending the service life of engine components.

On the basis of this precise and successful evaluation, Barrus is offering the Fitch for sale to diesel engine customers, under an ‘emissions and fuel saving device’ banner.

Interestingly, the Fitch Catalyst can be used in both diesel and petrol engines in exactly the same way. The makers say it is relatively cheap to buy and in most commercial applications you can expect to see returns within 90 days. It is also fairly easy to fit, and an in-line unit will typically only take between 30 minutes and two hours to install.

Fitch units are already in place on Condor Express and Condor Vitesse – both SeaCat fast ferries.

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