Eliminating Microscopic Particulates

While regulating CO2 emissions occupies an ever increasing share of policymaker and environmentalist priorities, which translates into countless new businesses and technologies to address this new challenge, there are still all those other air pollution emissions that we used to worry about exclusively, and almost, but not quite eliminated.

While impressive results in air pollution have been logged ever since the introduction of the catalytic converter and unleaded gasoline, microscopic particulates are still not being captured by conventional systems. The problem with these microscopic particles is that even though they are invisible, they actually pose greater potential health threats because they are so small the lungs are not able to expel them. Finding a product that improves automotive fuel efficiency – which translates into lower CO2 emissions – but also helps eliminate whatever other emissions we haven’t yet tackled is a rare treat.


A new aftermarket tailpipe filter that works on virtually all automobiles is now available from Sabertec, a three year old company based in Austin, Texas. Called the “Blade,” this filter can eliminate another 70% of microscopic particulate emissions, greatly improving air quality. Because this filter also alters the volumetric efficiency of the engine and accelerates the speed at which the catalytic converter reaches its optimal operating temperature, engine efficiency is improved up to 12% or more.
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Sabertec claims that BLADE is the only automotive afterproduct
that both reduces emissions and increases fuel efficiency.
(Photo: Sabertec LLC)

These achievements are apparently well documented. After acquiring the Blade technology in 2005, Sabertec went to CARB in California to ask them who they would recommend to test the unit for emissions reduction. They were referred to ATDS in Ontario, California, where most all major automakers test their vehicles. The standard they wanted to measure the performance of their unit against was the EPA protocol 511 – a test created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate aftermarket retrofit devices that claim to reduce automobile exhaust emissions and/or improve fuel economy.

The results were encouraging. The blade unit, which costs $200 and requires a new $20 filter about every 10,000 miles, improved fuel economy by 6% in a four cylinder Honda Civic, by 12% in a six cylinder Hyundai Sonata, and by 5% in an eight cylinder Ford E-250.

Sabertec began when their CEO, William O’Brien, learned of an inventor in Brazil who had been developing this unit since 2000. O’Brien acquired the technology and hired the scientists who were working on it – since 2005 they have been working for Sabertec. They began installing devices on a fleet of test cars in August 2007 and at that time they also began testing the device with ATDS. The results from ATDS were released in December, 2008, and since then these devices have been available at select retailers as well as on the internet. If you include the many fleets who have already purchasing these products – including early adopters – Sabertech has already equipped over a thousand vehicles.


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