AUTO

Plasma Bursts Could Replace Sparks in Car Engines

Federal-Mogul

 (Federal-Mogul)

As automakers strive to achieve gas mileage gains and prolong the life of the internal combustion engine, it’s impressive to see the new areas of efficiency improvements being developed, even some you may never have considered before.

The latest is from Michigan-based supplier Federal-Mogul, which recently received a patent for a new ignition system dubbed the Advanced Corona Ignition System, or ACIS.

Doing away completely with the traditional spark plug used in gasoline engines, ACIS relies on a high-intensity plasma burst, or corona, which works using electrical energy in a more controlled manner than the traditional spark.

Essentially, this corona can spread throughout the combustion chamber, leading to a more efficient burn even when fuel and air mixtures are lean. According to its developer, ACIS can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent over a traditional spark plug engine.

Other benefits include more accurate ignition timing to aid existing direct injection systems and potentially cooler running engines as more energy is converted to motive power rather than heat. Additionally, the units themselves are less susceptible to electrode erosion, meaning they last longer.

Note, ACIS isn’t the only spark plug replacing technology we’ve come across in the recent past. Japanese researchers are working on developing laser based ignition systems, and major automakers including GM, Daimler, and Volkswagen are working on completely sparkless ignition technology for gasoline engines.

Federal-Mogul says it’s still testing its ACIS technology and hasn’t announced any release dates as of yet.

Click here for more from MotorAuthority