Local firm produces emission technology

EDINBURG — For five years, Wholesome Energy, a subsidiary of Wholesome Foods, has partnered with NoNox, a Florida based engineering firm, to manufacture and distribute a fuel emulsion system for industrial and naval uses.

The NoNox fuel emulsion system is designed to reduce emissions by 60 to 90 percent in diesel engines and boilers, leading to a 1 to 2 percent increase in fuel economy and a longer lifespan for parts.

The system works by running the fuel with water and forcing the two over an anvil, which causes a drop in pressure. The pressure drop creates a fine mix between the two, creating a greater distribution of soot and smoke, thus reducing emissions.

Wes Pence, vice president of Wholesome Foods, said the system was introduced to three automobile freighters owned by the Norwegian based Wilhelmsen Shipping. Pence said the system saves fuels on those ships.

“We’re still in testing as far as the fuel economy, but a ship is burning 2,000 gallons an hour, so a 1 percent savings equals to 20 gallons,” Pence said. “Now if you’re running the ship for 24 hours, that savings adds up.”

The company has also installed the system in a boiler for a building heating system in New York City as well as an industrial boiler for fish factory in Chile, Pence said.

Pence said the main thing with boilers is trying to save on heating oil by reducing soot.

“The main thing with the soot in a heating system is that the more soot you have in your pipes, the more insulated they become,” Pence said. “If it gets insulated, then heat doesn’t get transferred as well, therefore more fuel has to be burned to get the same amount of heat.”

Pence said he was introduced to the technology in 2008, when the company was building a bio-fuel processing facility to turn cooking oil into diesel.

“When you make bio-fuel, you have to have, say, a big 7,000 gallon tank, you put so many gallons of cooking oil in there, so many of methanol and so many of catalyst, then you let it sit for six hours,” Pence said.

A North Carolina based company which was consulting with Wholesome Energy told Pence there was technology available to mix the fuel components instantaneously. That’s when he was introduced to Eric Cottell Jr., of NoNox, Pence said.

Pence said fuel emulsions was a passion not only of Cottell, but Cottell’s father as well.

“His dad had a fuel emulsions system back in the ’70s, but it never caught on because it had moving parts to shake the water and fuel, like a martini shake,” Pence said. “The parts would wear out too fast.”

So Cottell Jr. perfected the present-day system, which does not use moving parts, Pence said. After meeting with Cottell, Pence decided to try the technology on one of his semi-trucks.

“I had the system up in the sleeper of the truck and I had all these hoses and everything,” Pence said. “We called it the Barney Clark artificial heart.”

Pence said the components of the system have remained the same, but Wholesome has introduced automation to the system over time.

“Sitting in my office, I can pull up a system on my computer screen, no matter where it is in the world, and see what’s happening,” Pence said. “We also have alarms that will cause the system to go off line if a problem arises, like too low of pressure or the water getting too hot.”

The next project will be a generator-operated cruise ship, Pence said.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com