Responding to growing demand for large-vehicle LPG Autogas systems, South Australian Company Diesel/Gas Australia has developed an LPG injection system for diesel-powered four-wheel drives.
It claims the system increases torque and horsepower while simultaneously reducing exhaust emissions and overall fuel costs.
The feat is achieved by improving diesel combustion via the addition of LPG Autogas.
The Diesel/Gas Australia system is an add-on rather than standalone alternative fuel system.
"LPG is introduced to the engine via the air intake" explained Diesel/Gas Australia general manager Kingsley Songer.
"Because LPG has a higher octane rating than diesel, the system helps diesel burn more efficiently, with more energy being extracted from it."
"The first thing people who use our system notice is that it provides more horsepower and torque- anything from 25 to 30 per cent extra for turbo engines and up to 20 per cent for naturally aspirated engines."
"General drivability is improved and the extra power is especially handy for heavy-duty applications"
Mr Songer said a key advantage of the system was that no vehicle modification was required other than, in some cases, the exhaust having to be moved to accommodate an external LPG tank installation which preserves interior space.
"It's a non-invasive bolt-on system that runs independently of the vehicle's existing computer and fuel system" he said.
"If you run out of LPG or there is a gas system malfunction, the vehicle automatically defaults to run on straight diesel again."
The Diesel/Gas system also benefits from LPG Autogas' significantly lower cost which is around half the price of unleaded petrol and below half diesel's price.
"About 20 to 25 per cent of the diesel normally used by the engine is replaced with LPG, which can achieve a 20 per cent fuel cost saving over straight diesel fuel - depending on driving style." Mr Songer said.
The improved combustion process is also claimed to reduce exhaust particulate and oxides of nitrogen emissions.
"Diesel engines fitted with our system, particularly turbo diesel engines, run much cleaner" Mr Songer said.
"The black exhaust smoke associated with them, which is mostly unburned fuel, is almost eradicated".
Peak industry body LPG Australia said particulate matter emissions from an average Autogas-powered vehicle were just 3.4 per cent of those of a diesel-powered equivalent and that oxides of nitrogen emissions from LPG combustion were 10 per cent less than those of a diesel engine equivalent.
"Autogas itself burns cleaner than diesel and, when used in the Diesel/Gas system, also causes the diesel to burn more completely", LPG Australia industry development manager Phil Westlake said.
"It's a win-win situation from an air quality perspective."
Mr Songer said cleaner-burning fuel also had mechanical benefits.
"Cleaner-burning diesel means less carbon contamination in the engine," he said.
"You get less carbon deposit build-up so the engine components and oil stay cleaner for longer."
While most of Diesel/Gas Australia's systems are installed in four wheel drives such as Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol, it is popular in other vehicles such as motorhomes, tractors, harvesters and garbage trucks.
It is also used on stationary farm equipment such as diesel generators and irrigation pumps.
The standard Diesel/Gas Australia 4WD system costs $3850 plus GST to install and qualifies for the federal Government's LPG Vehicle Scheme, which provides a $2000 grant to eligible motorists who perform LPG conversions.
Over 40,000 motorists have received grants under the scheme, totaling over $79 million since November 2006.
Pictured, Kingsley Songer, Diesel/Gas Australia General Manager