Magnets to make fuel go further?
CARMARTHENSHIRE Council is to spend thousands on using magnets to make its vehicles more fuel efficient despite conventional science saying the idea doesn't work.
The council has been running trials using special Magno-Flo fuel technology magnets over a six-month period.
The magnets are connected to the fuel system and are said to reduce fuel consumption, and therefore emissions.
The trials conducted by the council have recorded an increase in vehicles' miles per gallon figures by as much as 14 per cent.
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The council is so impressed that it has bought 25 units for refuse vehicles and 150 units to light commercial vehicles.
The company prices heavy duty units at £349, and lighter units suitable for cars at £60 each.
Speaking at a meeting of the full council, former chemistry teacher Councillor Meilyr Bowen Hughes disputed the claims made by manufacturers of such products.
After explaining the chemical composition of fossil fuels — such as petrol and diesel — at length, he added: "It is claimed by some companies that connecting a powerful magnet will align the carbon chains, increasing efficiency.
"Unfortunately there isn't an ounce of scientific proof that a magnet can have such an effect. The whole idea is a load of bunkum."
He then conceded: "However, the authority has conducted a trial with around 22 vehicles and the result is there has been an improvement somewhere around 20 per cent."
He admitted: "Quite frankly it's a conundrum."
He went on to label claims for dramatic improvements in similar products as "snake oil".
Councillor Pam Palmer said: "While science is a wonderful thing, no-one has yet found out how a bumblebee flies."
Glanaman councillor David Jenkins warned that buying the magnets en masse could result thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money spent on "a load of magnets".
Director of technical services Richard Workman stressed the drivers were unaware the magnets were fitted during the trials.
He said the systems would be further trialled, and offered an opportunity for significant savings, both in fuel use and in carbon emissions.
Speaking after the meeting, John Brown, managing director of Magno-Flo, stressed his magnets differed from previous magnet-based fuel treatments, using far more powerful magnets.
"We've been going a lot longer, it's the strength of the magnets. Other producers gave it a bad name, I've been researching for over 20 years."