Thursday, April 25, 2013

No. 708: A new spark plug to ignite an engine using laser (April 25, 2013)

Denso and Institute for Molecular Science developed a new spark plug that ignites an engine using laser. It has higher combustion efficiency than the conventional spark plug and can improve fuel efficiency of vehicle and gas engine for power generation. The newly developed spark plug has the same size of the conventional electric spark plug. The research team led by Takunori Taira incorporated ceramic crystals that emit high-power laser intermittently reacting to incoming semiconductor laser. Denso and Nippon Soken jointly confirmed that the new spark plug is applicable for continuous running of an engine.

The new plug can be mounted in a gasoline engine of vehicle, but it will be two times more expensive than the conventional spark plug even if it is mass produced. Therefore, it will be applied to generators for cogeneration used in the plant and building for the time being. Because laser spark plug has excellent ignition performance than the conventional spark plug, a vehicle engine and a cogeneration generator can improve fuel efficiency by 30% and 10%, respectively. The research team wishes to put the new spark plug into practical applications in a few years.    

 Exterior of the microchip laser

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