Nanosecond Plasma Ignition for Improved Performance of an Internal Combustion Engine

Paper Number: 10.1109/TPS.2007.907901 Published: December 2007 Authors & Affiliations: Charles D. Cathey, Tao Tang, Dr. Andras Kuthi, M. A. Gundersen University of Southern California Dr. Tomonori Urushihara, Taisuke Shiraishi Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. Enerpulse, the manufacturer of Pulstar, took no part in this study. The methodology and findings strongly support Enerpulse’s claim that a nanosecond high-energy pulse produces fuel enhancing plasma; thus increasing power, improving fuel economy, and reducing emissions. Conducted by Nissan and University of Southern California and funded by Nissan and Air Force Office of Scientific Research, this study researched the benefits of using plasma to cause ignition in comparison to traditional spark ignition. A nanosecond short and powerful high-voltage pulse was used to create the plasma. The study showed that plasma-assisted combustion, brought about by a nanosecond pulse similar to Pulstar’s, “initiate(d) combustion rapidly, approaching an ideal constant volume cycle; has potential for improving lean combustion operation; is energy efficient; and is potentially useful for gasoline engine emissions reduction.”