This is a principle that was already tested in the early days of the automobile industry before the First World War. One hundred and twenty years later, the water engine returns under the hoods of our powerful cars. The main reason ? The staggering price of fuel, which does not seem to want to fall below two euros per liter, forces the French to explore all solutions to reduce their consumption. It was in this context of inflation that Laurent Baltazar’s invention took on a new dimension. Based in Finistère, this jack-of-all-trades has developed an engine kit that saves up to 20% of fuel. His secret? Water!
In March, Laurent Baltazar was still alone in his company. Overwhelmed by demand, he had to urgently hire pickers to deliver his precious kit. The system is called Eco Leau and is very simple and adapts to all engines. It is attached close to the turbo and injects particles of moist air that are added to the fuel to improve the vehicle’s torque. The result: the motorist has less need to “push” 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 when the air is humid,” explains Laurent Baltazar.
The entrepreneur had this idea while reading the article Science and life in 2010, which triggered exhaust gas recovery. He focused on optimizing combustion and achieved surprising results. “We estimate that we will reduce consumption by an average of 20%. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes a little less. We enable people to gain autonomy and above all we pollute less. Because we consume less, but we also emit fewer fine particles,” promises the former IT specialist. The system is particularly effective on large engines and when the engine is hot.
It is more variable with pollutants. The inventor takes as an example the Fiat Punto, whose nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions dropped by 30% after installing the kit. Garage owners confirm and even record disturbing observations. By spraying water vapor into the device circuit, it reduces fouling and especially problems with limescale, which clogs engines and causes unpleasant black smoke.
To be assembled separately or in the garage
Backed by all his arguments, the Brittany businessman naturally sees his order book explode with each oil shock. Since its invention in 2012, Laurent Baltazar has sold 20,000 kits. Fueled by the rise of black gold, the momentum has gone crazy, selling more than a thousand sets every month. The growth is such that partner car repair shops, however increasingly numerous, are struggling to keep up with demand. The kit is offered for 500 euros for a light car and the installation is charged at just over 1,000 euros. “But you can do it yourself. You just have to know how to spot a turbo,” explains Laurent Baltazar, who will soon open a showroom in Sainte-Sève, near Morlaix.
In recent weeks, the clientele has gained ground. While a few years ago it worked with 80% of individuals, Finistère has seen requests from professionals pour in. Because the Eco Leau kit is not only suitable for all cars, it can also be installed on motorcycles, motorhomes, trucks or tractors. Water consumption is minimal: around 20 centiliters per 1000 kilometers. We’re not done talking about it yet.