For most of us, it’s simply one of life’s little annoyances ... those last few drops of fuel that dribble out of the nozzle at the gas station. For the guys at Canada’s Dram Innovations, however, that run-on is a serious problem – and one that they’re addressing, with their Fuel Nozzle Drip Retainer.
According to the company, drippy fuel nozzles result in approximately half a billion liters (132 million US gallons) of fuel falling to ground globally, every year. Not only does that represent waste to consumers, but it is also a source of pollution – the spilled fuel evaporates into the atmosphere, or is washed into storm sewers by rainfall. Although Dram doesn’t mention it, that fuel also often ends up trickling down the outside of the car, or even staining the user’s shoes.
The Drip Retainer appears to be a fairly simple device, not unlike the mesh aerator on a kitchen faucet. It reportedly combines “surface tension and pressure differential properties” to create a vacuum within the nozzle, which largely eliminates drips. Although the fuel remaining in the nozzle will still be somewhat subject to evaporation, the effect should be much less pronounced than if it were spilled. Approximately 89 percent of the fuel that would have been wasted is instead retained.
Dram also claims that the system will be appealing to consumers’ pocket books, as they won’t be paying for fuel that ends up on the ground. That said, they’ll still be paying for fuel that remains in the nozzle instead of going into their gas tank, but that’s also already the case with conventional gas pumps.
The device can be pressed into place on existing fuel nozzles, or can be integrated into the design of new ones. It can apparently also be used to minimize waste with any other type of nozzle-dispensed liquid.
The company is currently looking for buyers for the technology.