Tin has been used in engines to increase performance since World War II when RAF fighter jets struggled to run on inferior fuel supplied by the Russians. Scientists discovered that by using pieces of tin alloy the aircraft could run sufficiently on the low octane fuel.
Research studies have proven that minute particles of metallic tin can change the combustion characteristics of fossil fuels. The tin, with the aid of vibration and a rubbing action, is released into fuel and carried in colloidal suspension through into the combustion chamber. As the fuel starts to ignite a chemical reaction takes place changing the way the fuel burns. It extends and produces a more complete combustion.
According to the International Tin Research Institute (ITRI), fuel catalysts based on tin alloy pellets have been marketed as low tech fuel-saving devices with the added benefit of significantly reducing toxic emissions. This will be of benefit to the environment along with saving money for the consumer.
At least 10 manufacturers currently operate globally and sales have mainly been in the automotive and marine sectors.
ITRI is actively working in this field, both with regard to substantiating performance benefits and clarifying the mechanism of action of the catalyst on the fuel.
Although current tin usage in this field is only a few tens of tonnes per annum, a successful outcome to ITRI’s studies and further improvement of catalytic efficiency by radical re-design of the product could realistically lead to annual tin consumption in the 5,000 – 10,000 tonne range.
As the image below displays, tin does not only feature in the fuel tank of your car.