Gunnerman Fuel

What happened to Rudolf Gunnerman and his fuel? The world was all aga-ga over it when it was announced. Since then, nothing. I know he went to work for Caterpillar, but I’ve not heard anything else on it.

Well, searching Caterpillar’s site for “A-21,” “Gunnerman,” "clean alternative fuel,’’ “Advanced Fuel” and “Fuel” turned up nothing, so I’d guess that partnership did not yield the hoped for results.


Water does not burn.

Uh, Stan, Gunnerman never claimed to make the water burn. What he did claim was to be able to make water and naptha stay in solution, and that when you burned the naptha the water would flash to steam, thus increasing the power of the explosion. This is a variation of the water injection system that was first used on the P-51 Mustangs during WW II. (The Mustangs ran ordinary av-gas, and in order to enable the planes to take-off with a heavy load, the pilot could inject water into the combustion chambers.)

So the fuel is the naphta or otehr hydrocarbon and it just adds water in order to get more energy out of the fuel. Twio thoughts: you may get a bit more out but you are not going to get a lot more out. And the engine would have to be specially built because any conventional engine where you insert water regularly is not going to last very long. So my guess is the process is too complicated and too expensive to be worth the while.

Gunnerman claimed that the modifications to a conventional engine were rather simple. He never said (that I heard or read, anyway) what those modifications were, but he seemed to indicate that they simply consisted of nickel plating the pistons and changing the compression ratios.

I can speak as someone that has experience the effects of water injection in a standard combustion engine. Both times involved a Chevy Vega race car I drove many years ago. Some engineers at Chevrolet were on drugs when they designed the engine for the Vega, an aluminum block with a cast iron cylinder head. This design did not work well and the Vega, a well built car, suffered because of the piece of crap engine.

Due to financial contraints at the time (I wasn’t working), I used junkyard leftovers and would piece together engines for the Vega. A good engine would last me 2 or 3 races while one time I blew an engine loading the car on the trailer. Twice though, while on the track competing, my car would suddenly running real good with lots of extra power. The first time I didn’t know why my car was suddenly faster but for 3 laps I enjoyed it. I was passing cars that usually blew my doors off. Coming out of the corner, there was a sudden boom and my race was over. The engine grenaded and pieces of it were everywhere. After being towed into the pits, there was a piece of a connecting rod on the roof of the Vega. It happened again a few months later but I shut off the engine before anything blew up. The block cracked and was letting water into the cylinders.

It may increase power, but what about the latent heat losses involved and efficiency? I mean, girlfriend, they must be on the order of 10-20% or so?

Well, without knowing Gunnerman’s formula, it’s hard to say. I think Gunnerman claimed that if you ran an engine on strictly naptha and his formula sans the water, the combustion temps would be waaay higher than normal, and would result in higher NO[sub]x[/sub] emissions. The water’s supposed to cool the cumbustion down and provide more power. It’s been too long since I’ve heard the interviews with Gunnerman to remember exactly what he said.

The whole thing sounds totally implausible to me.