STAR EnviroTech Inc. recently won the final U.S. patent challenge by Redline Detection in the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. A 33-page court opinion1 upheld STAR’s “nitrogen smoke” patent, according to the company. The technology is used by every major automaker (OEM).
STAR EnviroTech worked in collaboration with various partners, including Ford, GM and Chrysler, through the OEMs’ USCAR organization, to develop a universally-accepted vehicle fuel evaporative (EVAP) and vacuum system leak detection technology, according to the company.
STAR’s nitrogen smoke patent uses an exclusive method of producing smoke with any inert gas to virtually eliminate the risk of a vehicle fuel tank fire or explosion during an EVAP test. Papers published by SAE International and other empirical data support this method as safer than testing with shop air in a fuel tank. Adding air containing oxygen to a volatile environment, such as a fuel tank can create a flammable mixture inside the fuel tank, but nitrogen smoke eliminates the risk of fire during the testing process, according to STAR.