A new diesel engine technology is getting close attention this week from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) science and technology review committee.

The technology is called a power cell – an electrolytic fuel ionizer designed to give diesel and gasoline engine operators an inexpensive way to comply with the 2000 Clean Air Act. According to the Empower Group, which makes power cells, unlike exhaust scrubbers, whose backpressure on engines reduces horsepower, power cells make fuel burn cleaner to begin with, which yields more horsepower and torque and can improve miles-per-gallon or gallons-per-hour by 3% to 16%.

The Empower Group says its power cells are installed between the final filter and injection pump or fuel rail inlet. Fuel passing through a power cell picks up a precise dose of pure electrons moments before combustion. When the fuel is sprayed into a combustion chamber, the negatively charged electrons repel each other, break the surface tension of the drops and atomize them into microdrops, which also repel each other, mix better with air and can burn clean through, the company says.

By increasing the energy released per ignition stroke, power cells thereby increase horsepower and torque which in turn leads to improved fuel economy.