An Innovative Nanotechnology-Based Clean and Highly-Efficient Combustion Engine

B. Chehroudi
Advanced Technology Consultants,
United States

Keywords: nanotubes, nanotechnology, combustion, engine, light, ignition

Summary:

An ignition event is required to initiate the combustion process in many engines, particularly the popular gasoline-fueled and diesel engines. This is commonly achieved through an electric spark ignition (SI) or by a mere physical act of compression of a fuel-and-air mixture (called auto-ignition). In past fifteen years, the research to improve performance and simultaneously lower emission of pollutants levels led to alternatives to conventional ignition or combustion processes. One very promising concept is referred to as homogeneously-charge compression-ignition (HCCI) combustion. Intensive R&D research efforts are being undertaken around the world to materialize this or a variant of the original concept. One critical technology barrier or operational requirement in this context is precise control of the autoignition timing within the engine operating cycle. In this presentation, an innovative light-activated volumetrically-distributed (LAVD) ignition approach is proposed to control the onset of the autoignition process. This is achieved by taking advantage of the optical ignition properties of some nanostructured materials when exposed to short-duration light sources. The proof of concept experiments conducted by several laboratories have shown that this nanotechnology-based ignition method has the potential to achieve HCCI combustion and more. In this presentation, after describing a historical background on HCCI concept, recent results are presented to clearly demonstrate LAVD ignition in a mixture of a number of fuels with air with the aid of nanostructured materials. The use of this new nanotechnology-based ignition system is therefore proposed as a promising technology for the combustion management in internal combustion engines, specifically for the HCCI engines.