Kansas-based No Spill has received a patent for its portable fuel container, specially configured to prevent fuel spills and combustions. The container uses a counterintuitive approach; rather than limiting oxygen with a closure, it keeps the fuel high, allowing an overly rich fuel-to-air ratio in the tank. 

Simply put, fire or explosion results from a combination of fuel, oxygen and a source of ignition. So, most EPA approved portable fuel containers try to eliminate one of these elements. Most commonly, they provide caps/lids/mechanisms that close the fuel container to shut off the source of fuel. However, often combustions happen while the fuel is being poured (i.e. while the container is open).

No Spill’s invention runs contrary to conventional thinking, in that rather than cutting off a source of fuel or ignition sources, it creates an overly rich fuel-to-air ratio; if the fuel-air mixture has too much fuel, combustion cannot occur. It does this by keeping fuel near the opening. When fuel is held close to the opening, any explosive event will be suppressed by the retention of fuel. The tool doesn’t impact normal usage, yet helps to retain fuel near the opening of the container, so as to create a mixture too rich to combust.

Multiple designs were created and patented:

  • A neck dam positioned in the neck of the portable container, to trap fuel during pouring. 
  • An absorbent, sponge-like material in the main body or the neck close to the opening; the absorbent material is saturated when fuel is poured and therefore provides a rich mixture. 
  • An inverted pocket for retaining fuel near the neck area. 
  • A flash suppressor added to the neck or tank walls that extends into the fuel-receiving chamber of the container, which creates a fuel-retaining pocket near the opening; it includes perforations so fuel flows through to fill the container.

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