Fuel additives for on-road vehicles are nothing new. The history is well documented and perhaps the best known is the lead-based anti-knock additive used as an octane booster and valve seat recession additive for forty or so years after the Second World War (it had its origins in the 100 octane fuel required for supercharged combat aircraft).
From the late 1970s, however, it became increasingly apparent that engine design and technology were starting to outpace anything that was happening in fuel science at the refinery and engine manufacturers started to demand higher ‘quality’ fuels. Couple this with the advent of bio-components in road fuels – ethanol in gasoline (petrol) and FAME in diesel – along with the removal of lead and the steady reduction of sulphur, then the industry was set a huge challenge. No longer were engines being designed around the fuels available but fuel would need to be supplied to meet the demands of engine design.