TI Group Automotive Systems has developed a 'breakthrough' fuel tank system that will help vehicle manufacturers meet stringent new emissions control requirements.

The new system encloses fuel pumps, level sensors and other components in plastic, blow moulded fuel tanks to limit emissions.

The new technology, referred to by TI Automotive as its "ship-in-a-bottle" (SIB) fuel tank system, is designed to help automakers meet increasingly stringent emissions legislation around the world.

The SIB system requires only one or two openings in a fuel tank shell, whereas past tanks often had up to six or seven.

"SIB dramatically reduces the level of emissions from the fuel tank system," Ron McIntosh, TI Automotive's global technology director said. "When components such as valves, lines and filters are attached to the exterior of the fuel tank and exposed to the atmosphere, as formerly configured, emissions can be released."

McIntosh explains: "The development of this new tank represented a number of challenges. The first was to redefine our blow molding process to permit the inclusion of the required components, with enhanced product integrity.

"A further challenge was to redefine testing routines. For example, extremely low emissions targets mean that a single drop of fuel on the surface of the tank could invalidate testing. The results speak for themselves and we are delighted with the enthusiastic response we have already had from vehicle manufacturers."