HC Deb 09 July 1979 vol 970 cc9-10
5. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what study he has made of aquapet, mixing petrol with a combination of oxygen and hydrogen, which is claimed to reduce petrol consumption by up to 40 per cent. while increasing power output; what help he is giving to firms pioneering such experiments; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Moore

An independent consultant has reported on the " Aquapet " system and Department of Industry experts have carried out tests on the modified engine. These have shown that its application could not lead to energy savings and this is the view of my experts. I am always interested to learn of schemes for energy conservation, but the question of support for the development of more efficient engines is a matter for the Department of Industry.

Mr. Dalyell

Why does it not lead to greater energy savings?

Mr. Moore

It is difficult enough being a politician without being a chemical and industrial expert. I am giving the details as briefly as I can of the view of the independent and outside consultant. The conclusions seem to be clear. They were provided to the inventor. If there is a request for publication, I shall discuss the matter with my officials. But we are dealing with an outside consultant as well as with officials. I can see no reason why such a request should not be put to my officials.

Mr. Whitehead

Will the Minister's advisers also examine the new combined alcohol and petrol engines which have been used in California? Surely that is a better use for alcohol than some of the uses to which we put it?

Mr. Moore

I do not wish to enter into a discussion about what use of alcohol is better for the country. Any such ideas should be examined. Nobody suggests that any one expert opinion is sufficient. Any suggestions made by hon. Members will be pursued.

Mr. Adley

Is my hon. Friend aware that those of us who have had contact with the Warren Spring laboratory will be faintly depressed by what he has said? Is he aware that the laboratory's activities generally revolve round the opinion that if it has invented something it is good and that, if anybody else has, it is not?

Mr. Moore

I hear my hon. Friend's comments. However, when we employ vast numbers of officials and people with knowledge in this sphere, occasionally we should concern ourselves more rationally with what they say.

Dr. M. S. Miller

Will the Minister ensure that his advisers have no financial connection with the oil industry?

Mr. Moore

I do not think that question merits an answer.