With the help of a friend, commercial real estate broker Ryan Persitza has increased the gas mileage in his 1963 Volkswagon Beetle to 128 miles per gallon.
The project is not a business venture for Persitza, a former vice president of Brookfield-based NAI MLG Commercial who recently became senior vice president at KKOM Inc. a Lannon-based diversified marketing company. However, the project is a way for him to make a statement to the auto industry that higher fuel efficiency is possible.
Persitza teamed up with friend and inventor Anthony Lavigne of Michigan to create a vehicle dubbed as the Max Green System, utilizing water-based hydrogen technology.
“He (Lavigne) started talking about various technologies that he has experimented with in the past and the idea of creating a fuel-efficient vehicle in a synergistic way. I decided to offer my car for a project,” said Persitza.
Sustainability has been incorporated in Persitza’s professional and personal lives, most evident in his 2007 land purchase in Jamaica, where he created Camp Cabarita, an eco-focused business resort where he hosts retreats for business executives.
“My interest in getting involved with (the car project) was that I would learn and maybe adapt some of these technologies in a biodiesel generator to produce power at Camp Cabarita,” said Persitza. “This project dove back to my experience with Camp Cabarita, that being the nexus of my real estate experience, my accounting experience and my ideas and values.”
Formerly a sprint car, the Beetle obtained certification at 128 miles per gallon at the Mottville Speedway, a quarter mile track in Mottville, Mich., in October. Acknowledging the cost of storing hydrogen and the lack of hydrogen refueling stations in the Midwest, Lavigne opted for a different form of the fuel.
“My kind of hydrogen is a water state and only turns into a combustible on use,” said Lavigne who also noted that the cost for fueling the car was one third lower than an average vehicle, due to the water state.
To power the engine, Lavigne converted water into a gas blend of both hydrogen and oxygen on demand. With a separate component he produced hydrogen-oxide plasma gas used with conventional gasoline.
“(The blend) is safe and less expensive than compressed hydrogen,” said Lavigne. “The hydrogen and hydrogen-oxide increase the energetic value in a combustion cycle requiring less conventional fuel and can use lower octane instead of premium.”
The Genius Hybrid Efficiency System is comprised of five crucial subcomponents. Lavigne modified various aspects of the vehicle to do what he called a complete combustion enhancement. The system included battery boosters to create a broader spark and Lavigne’s homemade Super Penetrating Metal Treatment (SPMT) applied to the transmission and axels.
“The SPMT is made of fully synthetic engine oil carrying a proprietary blend of nanoparticles that absorb into the micro-pores of the metal to neutralize friction and heat,” said Lavigne.
Hydrogen has been a global focus for alternative fuels since the early 1990s. Europe’s first hydrogen fueling stations opened in Hamburg and Munich Germany in 1999.
Some auto manufacturers such as Honda, GM, Hyundai and BMW have invested in hydrogen technology but have yet to release a vehicle. Honda launched a limited release of the FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) to residents in California only due to access to almost 30 fueling stations.
The Max Green System was a result of 1,500 hours of Lavigne’s work time and about $6,000 in parts and supplies not including the purchase cost and other work Persitza has put into the vehicle. The Beetle is currently being stored in Michigan and the two do not have immediate plans for the vehicle.
“We were doing it to make a statement of what is possible,” Persitza said.
Persitza is currently transitioning to his new role at KKOM Inc. and also plans on expanding Camp Cabarita and starting up a boutique real estate brokerage adopting green technologies, all while incorporating his passion for sustainability.