Plasma assisted engines fuel efficient, cleaner

Aug 30, 2006

Gasoline, diesel, and turbine engines could soon burn cleaner or be more fuel efficient through the application of Plasma Assisted Combustion, a technology originated and developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and now poised to enter the marketplace.

The Laboratory has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with PerriQuest Defense Research Enterprises, LLC to advance the technology for commercial refinement and implementation. PerriQuest, based in Meriden, CT, Los Alamos, and Idaho National Laboratory are collaborating on the research and development of Plasma Assisted Combustion, under a licensing agreement with Los Alamos, for turbine and internal combustion engine applications.

Los Alamos scientist Louis Rosocha and his team have been working on the technology for about four years, with the goal of making fuel-efficient or cleaner burning engines through more complete combustion. The technology consists of an electronic device that can be attached to an existing fuel injector that applies electrical voltage to the atomized fuel stream prior to combustion - generating a plasma in the fuel. This effect essentially breaks down the long chains of hydrocarbons in the fuel into smaller parts - allowing the fuel to be burned more completely, resulting in more miles per gallon, or reducing harmful emissions.

"The research was really driven by market needs," said Rosocha. "In 2004, regulations were announced about air pollutants by all vehicles. In the future, air pollutants by vehicles, on- and off-road, are supposed to be more highly regulated. We knew that this was going to create a great opportunity to develop a technology that would supply the demand for cleaner burning vehicles. So, we decided to see if we could do something about it."

With fuel prices at all-time highs, the need for better fuel efficiency is also market driven, but the technology is limited. "The technology does produce cleaner emissions, and can lead to better fuel efficiency, but probably not at the same time," said Rosocha. "Maybe if Mother Nature was super-kind you might get both."

PerriQuest founder and CEO, Nicholas V. Perricone said that his company, which routinely works with the U.S. Government on defense technologies, is dedicated to turning the plasma combustion technology into a commercial product that will improve turbine and internal combustion engines.

"We knew we wanted to work with Los Alamos because, not only are their scientists world-renowned, they also have some of the best plasma technologies in the world we already have and hope to commercialize the plasma combustion technology for fuel efficiency and reduced pollutants for the American public."

Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...