July 25, 2009
His Mercedez Benz parked in front of the garage in Padil is the clue he had given me and I reached there without any difficulty. He greeted me on reaching there and went about his work of dusting off some parts of machinery in the garage for some time not wanting to put an abrupt end to what he was doing. With his long grey locks and equally long silken creamy beard I initially mistook him for a cleric. But 72-year-old Ben Rodrigues is no cleric and my doubt was soon cleared as he introduced himself and ushered me to his work place. In the course of the next 60 minutes it was the life story of his struggle, the difficulties he faced, the hard work he has put in, trial and error methods he has experimented etc., unfolded in front of me to give me a glimpse of his obsession in finding an alternative system of energy that can also be environment friendly.
Yes, for 40 years Ben has single-handedly worked with unflinching devotion to innovate a machine – RBF OTTO TECH (REOTECH), a fuel conservation and pollution management device, which has the capacity to save one billion tons of fuel for an eight hour operation of an automobile in a day. In the process he has spent about Rs 2 crore in its invention. That’s not all. This device can cut down one million tons of exhaust emission for the same hour operation. It is highly economical and can help cut down global warming effect up to 90 per cent.
Ben’s relentless quest for finding a perfect device was ready a few months ago and he is now trying to get it patented. He has fitted this device in his 1963 model Mercedes Benz, improving its fuel efficiency from 12 km per litre to 40 km per litre, a quantum jump of over 300%. But he is not promising the moon to anyone and claims only a 50 to 100 per cent increase in the fuel efficiency under normal conditions and reduction of emissions of carbon-heat and noise down to 90 per cent. By doing this he wants to convey a message that all efforts should be made to reduce global warming and make the earth a liveable place to all.
Grit and Determination
Ben Rodrigues is a gritty man who never gave up his passion for inventing his dream machine despite grave hurdles in his way. But it is yet to fructify in the true sense that patenting requires spending about Rs 6 lacs specially for getting certificate from Auto Research Institute of India, for which he is in the lookout for a sponsor. Considering the usefulness of his new device he expects that he might get a reliable sponsor for it. Still he is keeping his fingers crossed. But his eyes indicate the same resoluteness which has seen him through the four decades of life which has witnessed many ups and downs.
Ben had his education from Padua High School, Mangalore. He followed it up with an apprenticeship from Canara Workshop in 1953-54. After a brief stint in Mumbai where he worked for Bombay Electricity and State Transport (BEST) as a technician, he joined Indian army as a trainee in 1960. After the Chinese aggression he left the army and joined TELCO in Jamshedpur before settling with his own tractor service form in firm in Shimoga in 1969. He handed over the same to his nephew and came back to Mangalore in 1972 to start his fuel injection service system. He shifted to Baikampady in 1996 with the intention of expanding his business. He had taken loan from KSFC and was financially broken having paid back huge sums in terms of interest alone. He sold his land property in Baikampady and settled all his dues and shifted to Padil in 2006 having left with only tools and equipments. Here he started working on the fuel conservation and pollution management project and innovated RBF Auto Hydrogenics and Global Eco Tech Asset named Reotech.
How the System Works
Reotech is an apparatus that can work in all types of petrol, diesel or farmable gases to absorb the greenhouse emissions (GHGs) exhausted by the engine like heat, carbon and unburnt fuel molecules. The emitted GHGs mix with water hydrogenically, transmitting the Water Greenhouse Gas (WGHGs) on to the combustion chamber of the same engine. When WGHGs consisting of water molecules along with carbon and unburnt fuel enter into the chamber and mix with regularly charged fuel, combustion efficiency increases because water molecules break into hydrogen and oxygen and hydrogen being highly flammable helps to increase heat in the combustion chamber to burn carbon completely and optimize combustion. This improves fuel efficiency by 50 to 100%.
Reotech works with water to absorb the emission and recycles the same at a very affordable rate. It requires only 100 ml of water per horse-power of engine capacity and 1 litre of fuel consumption. It can be fitted in every make, type, power capacity and fuel system of the automotives operating on road, air and water. The weight of the smallest unit will be 500 gm. While the minimum investment is Rs 5000, cost of the device depends on the horse power of the engine, at the rate of Rs 500 per horse power. For example fixing the device in an 800 cc Maruti with a horse power of 80 may cost about Rs 40,000 including fabrication of the unit, fitment, tune up and certification.
The device comprises water container, exhaust-in-and-out pipes, carbon filter, and heat and water censor and pipe connections to recycle the greenhouse gases into transmittable water greenhouse gases to the combustion chamber of the engine. The apparatus is locally made, doesn’t require import license and is made from locally available materials. The system is fitted in between the inlet and exhaust manifolds of the engine, without changing any part of its parts. While the device is permanent it needs tuning up every 10,000 km. The process of fitting for all types of vehicles takes a maximum of 4 hours for fitment and tune up may depend on the condition of the vehicle.
The censor buzzing will indicate the water level in the vehicle but no harm will be done if the water gets dried up. Though hydrogen is highly flammable element, in this device hydrogen is produced and consumed instantaneously within the combustion chamber and hence there is no danger or transfer of hydrogen outside. It is absolutely safe.
Though Ben approached the government of India for permission in 1976 it took nearly 16 years for the concerned government departments to recommend the same to the United Nations. Now to implement this project Ben has decided to form an association of eco-economic thinkers. A base workshop and training centre needs to be set up in Mangalore that involves a cost of Rs 2-7 crore. Former minister Oscar Fernandes recently tested his technology and promised full cooperation. Ben cannot put his technology to use unless he gets the nod from the government.
“The technology dates back to early 1930’s but was lost in translation due to unknown reasons. In 1967 information about this technology was published in papers, which is my primary learning source. I have collected information and worked on this project ever since,” he reveals, speaking to Daijiworld.
Despite age catching up, Ben exhibits a rare zest towards his passion of redeeming the planet earth from the harmful gases and reducing our dependency on oil. It is high time adequate and timely action is taken to promote people like Ben who are driven by the pivotal objective of doing something good for the environment we live in.
Ben Rodrigues can be contacted at:
White Rose Complex
Padil, Perla Post
Mangalore - 575 007
Tel: 0824 - 2277979 (office), 0824 - 2435114 (res)
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