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(photo credit: Courtesy)
Zion Badash, 18, from Savyon, has invented a device to reduce emissions from internal combustion engines in most vehicles by as much as 40 percent and significantly cut gasoline consumption.
The compact contraption called Z5 has no moving parts and can be easily self-installed in cars.
After two years of research and development, it went on the market three months ago - and by all accounts is selling like hot cakes.
"Some of the people who come to us want to reduce their emissions and others want to save money on gas," Badash told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.
While it is being marketed for automobiles, the Z5 will theoretically work with any type of engine, from huge electric turbines to home generators.
The initiative has been a private one, with no government funding contributing in any way, according to Z5 marketing director Eli Mor. Zion's father is securing the patent.
"We've started marketing the Z5 in Israel, Turkey, Great Britain, the US and on the Internet," Mor told the Post. "It goes for $208. We are also in negotiations with automobile manufacturers."
According to an IBA English News report on the Z5, a government-approved mechanic independently confirmed that the device reduced emissions in all sorts of vehicles, from trucks to cars.
The story of the Z5 began two years ago, when Badash was 16.
"I was walking down the street in Tel Aviv, noticing how hard it was to breathe and watching the exhaust come out of cars, and it really personally bothered me," he said.
"I came back home and thought to myself, 'Even after all of the technological advances, it still seems like an old movie with black smoke belching out behind the cars.'
"At that time, I didn't have a lot of knowledge about engines. I knew that there must be some problem with the engine's combustion [to have all that black smoke coming out] and I knew that an engine is about the combination of two elements: gas and air. I started looking into the gasoline side, but there had been lots of efforts to improve the gas - all sorts of additives - and none had really worked.
"So I started to think about the air side. I realized that if I wanted to change anything, I had to treat the air before it reached the combustion chamber."
From that initial brainstorm, after much trial and error, the Z5 emerged. In layman's terms, the device, built from a special alloy, improves the air flow into the engine in such a way that the combustion is much more efficient. By being more efficient, the car both uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions.
How does a teenager with a dream and lots of will power actually create a product? Trial and error, according to Badash.
"We had an old large generator in our house that used to put out lots of black smoke. I started trying to put different metals into the air filter. Then I would measure the amount of gas used and try and gauge whether less black smoke was coming out."
"It took a long time, with a lot of trial and error, until one day I realized that I was actually making a difference in the amount of smoke coming out," he recalled. "Well, I was very excited when I realized that I had discovered something which worked. It's not every day that a 16-year-old invents something.
"I went to my father and we took it to the next level. We spent two years perfecting it, finding the right metals. Now we've started to market it."
The next step for this budding inventor and entrepreneur is one familiar to most 18-year-olds here: Badash will soon be drafted into the IDF.
Asked whether he had any other ideas up his sleeve, Badash replied with a laugh, "We'll start with this right now and see where it goes."