Whenever Arvind Khandke, a cloth merchant, rode his motorbike from Kolhapur city to the nearby towns, one thought refused to leave him alone. Fuel consumption. Every trip would incur him a high petrol cost. Just like you and I, Khandke too wondered if a more efficient vehicle would bring his fuel expenses down. If petrol and diesel prices cannot be controlled on an individual level, he wondered if an updated engine could do that for him.
Accordingly, Khandke, a class 10 pass out from Kolhapur, started experimenting on a valve that could reduce his bike’s fuel consumption. “All old petrol vehicles had carburettors attached in the engine, and I tested a valve to aid this carburettor in a way that it uses water along with fuel and air to run the engine,” the 71-year-old tells The Better India (TBI).
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A carburettor is a part of a motorcycle and other small-engined vehicles that mixes the right proportion of fuel and air for the engine to start. A miscalculation in setting the carburettor results in either the engine running inefficiently or not starting at all.
This shows how crucial this mechanical part is to a vehicle. So Khandke decided to experiment and the innovation did not go unnoticed.
In 2005, the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) awarded Khandke for his eco-friendly innovation. While researching on Khandke’s innovation, the Central Government body noted, “While studying the process, one day in 1980 he found that the air filter was oily and he inferred that there was some loss as the air-fuel mixture from the cylinder rebounds and was escaping from the carburettor. To stop that wastage, he decided to fit a valve type device. Thus in 1983, he designed the prototype of the valve out of mild steel. But during the trials, he found that the flap of the valve was too heavy to work effectively. He changed the material of the flap and designed a new valve using nylon and Polypropylene to suit 1 HP to 1.25 HP engines.”
Khandke himself tells TBI that this 1983 valve was updated last year, in 2018, to accommodate a water pressure kit. While the first did wonders to ensure fuller combustion of the air-fuel mixture in the carburettor, the updated version also added water to the mix to help it reduce petrol consumption by up to 30 per cent.
“The idea is to heat the water and use the steam as an energy source to boost the performance of the engine.
When the petrol gets burnt in the engine, the water supplied through a separately attached tank gets converted into steam and helps increase the average of the engine,” he explains. “Due to hybrid fuel, the petrol supply percentage gets reduced. The carbon deposits also reduce resulting in slower wear and tear of the engine and thus, the life of the engine oil also extends,” he adds.
Taking the example of his bike which has the valve attached, Khandke said that he used to change the engine oil every 2000 km earlier and now he changes it after 5000 km. Since the Kolhapur cloth merchant frequently uses his bike for intercity travel, this difference is very evident to him.
“As per testing on the premier Padmini car on the road, the average mileage was found to be 10 km without valve and 13 km with a valve attached. This shows fuel savings of 30 per cent. Tests were conducted for Carbon Monoxide & Hydro Carbon emissions on Enfield (350c.c) with and without valve at the Government Polytechnic at Kolhapur in 1999. At 120 rpm the % of CO reduction with valve is 8.3 per cent while that at 2000 rpm is 19 per cent. Also, HC % reduction at 120 rpm is 28 per cent while at 2000 rpm it is 82 per cent. As speed rises, the turbulence rises and with the valve and combustion is effective, and losses are minimal as compared to without valve condition,” show the NIF results.
Khandke got both of his devices patented, in 1999 and 2018 respectively. When asked about whether he is open to the commercial sale of the valve, he tells us humbly that he is a simple cloth merchant who does not have enough resources to scale this up commercially. Since auto-innovation was his passion and fuel consumption his need, he experimented with the valve.
If someone is willing to take this device forward, I would be glad to share my expertise on it, he says.
You can get in touch with Khandke on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature image courtesy: Arvind Khandke.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)