This is a principle that has already been tried out in the early days of the automobile industry before the First World War. One hundred and twenty years later, the water engine is making a resounding comeback under the hoods of our powerful cars. The main reason ? The staggering price of fuel, which does not seem to want to drop below two euros per liter, and forces the French to explore all solutions to reduce their consumption. It is in this context of inflation that the invention of Laurent Baltazar took on a new dimension. Based in Finistère, this jack-of-all-trades has developed an engine kit that saves at least 20% fuel. His secret? The water !
In March, Laurent Baltazar was still alone in his company. Overwhelmed by demand, he had to urgently hire order pickers to deliver his precious kit. Called Eco Leau, the system is very simple and adapts to all engines. Connected close to the turbo, it injects moist air particles which are added to the fuel to improve the vehicle’s torque. Result: the motorist has less need to “press” to move forward and consumes about 20% less. “Everything is purely mechanical and simple. An engine is like a human body, it needs air to function. But it works better if the air is humid,” explains Laurent Baltazar.
This idea, the entrepreneur had it while reading an article of Science and life in 2010 which mentioned the recovery of exhaust gases. He focused on optimizing combustion and obtained surprising results. “We estimate that we reduce consumption by 20% on average. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes a little less. We allow people to gain autonomy and above all, we are less polluting. Because we consume less, but also because we emit less fine particles, ”promises the former IT specialist.
The latter takes the example of a Fiat Punto whose nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions had fallen by 30% after the installation of the kit. The mechanics confirm and even note a disturbing observation. By spraying water vapor into the circuit, the device limits clogging and in particular the problems of scale which clogs the engines and causes nasty black smoke.
To be assembled alone or in the garage
Backed by all his arguments, the Breton entrepreneur naturally sees his order book explode with each oil shock. Since its invention in 2012, Laurent Baltazar has sold 20,000 kits. Boosted by the surge in black gold, the dynamic has gone crazy and more than a thousand kits are sold each month. Growth such that the partner garages, however more and more numerous, are struggling to keep up with demand. Offered at 500 euros for a light car, the kit is charged just over 1,000 euros with the installation. “But you can also do it alone. You just have to know how to spot the turbo”, specifies Laurent Baltazar, who will soon open a showroom in Sainte-Sève, near Morlaix.
In recent weeks, the latter has seen a clientele assert itself. While it worked with 80% of individuals a few years ago, the Finistère has seen requests from professionals pour in. Because the Eco Leau kit does not only fit on all cars, it can also be installed on motorcycles, motorhomes, trucks or tractors. As for water consumption, it is minimal: around 20 centilitres per 1,000 kilometres. We haven’t finished hearing about it.
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