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Ford Developing Laser Powered Spark Plug for Future Engines

ford laser ignition 300x224 Ford Developing Laser Powered Spark Plug for Future EnginesThe auto industry is pursuing various ways to implement more effective fuel saving strategies. Some of them are based on the development of new technology, electric motors, batteries, etc and others are just improving classic petrol-fueled engines to run better. Following the second trend, engineers from The University of Liverpool, UK, in collaboration with Ford and UK-based GSI Group developed a prototype engine ignition, based on lasers rather than on spark plugs.

Along with their laser ignition (LI) system, the researchers also study an improved injection technology – GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection). Their work is funded by the Carbon Trust, a UK independent company established by the government to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy.

They used lasers that operate in near-infrared spectrum and tested various methods, among which delivering the beam through free space and channeling it into the combustion chamber through the optical plug achieved the best results–reducing the coefficient of variation and making combustion smoother and more fuel-efficient. The team identified the optimum LI configuration to achieve the best combustion stability and showed that LI enabled a greater operational window of engine parameters to be exploited, leading to reduced exhaust emissions over the full range of engine load conditions.

Also, several issues arose in the quest to finding the perfect formula for LI, while trying to direct the beam through an optical fiber: “The fiber didn’t respond well to engine vibration, which increased the divergence of the output beam and reduced the beam mode quality,” Dearden reports. “Bending the fiber was also problematical: up to 20 per cent of the beam energy was lost with small bend diameters, while tight bends caused the fibre to fail altogether after a period. What’s more, the high density of laser energy can cause short or longer term degradation, causing loss of beam transmission–and therefore ignition. Careful design of laser parameters, fibre coupling and choice of optical media is crucial to avoid this. We’re confident that we can solve these problems with further research.”

Ford has always been an innovator in car industry, and I don’t doubt they’re going to make it this time. Following multiple ideas towards a better car is good, but I guess investing more in electric motors technology right now, rather than patching the old ICE is better for today’s economy, for Ford and for the environment.

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About the author

Ovidiu has always been a fan of technology and Captain Planet. Unable to ignore the technical possibilities that exist nowadays, he started collecting and blogging about the most interesting news out there and saw that there were a lot of people interested in the same that stuff he was.

Comments

3 comments
Tom @ SPI Fiber Lasers
Tom @ SPI Fiber Lasers

This is a great product if it can reduce the fuel consumption it is always a good thing. Likely to be a lot more reliable as well.

Henryk
Henryk

New spark plug -plasma spark plug reduce 70% fuel reduce CO2 zero-O- emissions CO2 !!!!! For years now, I have wondered where and when the next Edison with a bright idea will appear and invent a "lean, green, driving machine".I have finally found such a man. He lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and his name is Robert Krupa We have all heard the saying, "If something sounds too good to be true, itsually is". The amazing new spark plug designed by Mr Krupa, which he named "FireStorm", is the exception to this rule. named "FireStorm", is the exception to this rule. I know that when it comes to buying spark plugs, they are all basically the same except for the price. So, why make the same except for the price. So, why makea big deal about another new spark plug? Fire Storm Capabilities First, let look at what Krupa FireStorm spark plugs give an internal combustion engine: More horsepower; 44-50% increase in mpg; Dramatic decrease in emissions. Second, let see what FireStorm plugs eliminate: Smog pump; Catalytic converter; Radio frequency interference (RFI) and the use of resistors in the centre electrode; Gap growth; Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems; Misfire/hesitation/detonation/stutter and stumble. How, you may ask, is all this achieved? In a word, plasma. The revolutionary design of FireStorm spark plugs creates an electric plasmathat fills the entire combustion chamber like a firestorm. It allows youto take an internal combustion engine from the standard 14.7:1 air-to-fuel ratio to an incredibly lean 24:1,30:1,40:1. At this ratio, all the air/fuel mixture is burned much more efficiently without increasing heat, thus giving anengine more power and fuel economy while creating much less pollution.The bad news is that you can buy a set of FireStorm spark plugs anywhere right now.http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=87928 Radio interview with the inventor http://odeo.com/episodes/22575785-Robert-Krupa-Jun-02-2008http://web.archive.org/web/20051216110959/www.robertstanley.biz/firestorm.htmhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abwXApkLhbc

Charnon
Charnon

Why laser ignition can reduce fuel consumption?

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