This was prompted by thisthread on vehicle antistatic chains.
I knew a talented engineer who did some interesting developmental work on the petrol (gasoline) internal combustion engine. He had a theory that he could make it more efficient by ionising the air intake, the theory being that the fuel and air molecules would find each other easier if they were oppositely charged.
So he fits an ioniser to the air intake, boosting the power of the engine briefly before it melted. Next!
He trys again, and again, and eventually comes up with something that works. He eventually managed to get the engine cool by introducing steam into the mix, and he also reduced the carb size to about 1/3 of the original. This produced a huge increase in power, as well as a huge increase in efficiency.
Alas his house was raided by agencies who shall remain nameless, and they confiscated his prototypes, tooling, books, paperwork, and computers. He was warned to cease any similar future developments he might be thinking of.
The question is: How viable is this? The engineering bit, not the conspiracy theory. It sounds pretty plausible to me, yet I don’t know why someone else hasn’t independently come up with something similar.