Partners Work on State-Funded Project for Cleaner Natural Gas Engines


Thanks, in part, to a $749,868 grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), Enerpulse Technologies has partnered with Power Solutions International (PSI) to further reduce emissions from natural-gas-powered engines.

Enerpulse says the CEC grant is helping the company develop its C2 ignition system. According to the CEC, ‘ignition characteristics of natural gas fuel represent challenges to engine manufacturers working to satisfy tighter emission standards, achieve lower fuel consumption and higher engine performance.’ The CEC's stated goal is to ‘advance the functionality of natural gas ignition under high boost pressure and heavy [exhaust gas recirculation (EGR)] conditions to facilitate the development of engines with lower nitrogen oxides (NOx) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.’

Enerpulse says C2 will build upon the company's patented plasma-assisted combustion technology, which is currently found in its commercially available Pulstar spark plugs. The company will integrate proprietary electronic controls, creating a system that increases the size and duration of the plasma field during ignition and combustion. Enerpulse claims this strategy will enable reliable ignition timing and more efficient combustion of natural gas fuels, particularly under high boost and heavy EGR conditions.

Enerpulse is partnering with PSI to deliver a commercially viable natural-gas-fueled product that meets the CEC's stated objectives. Enerpulse's C2 ignition system will be incorporated into PSI's turbocharged 8.8-liter CNG engine, which is currently under development. In addition to turbocharging, PSI's new engine will employ cooled EGR to reduce emissions and improve fuel consumption. Enerpulse says introducing substantial amounts of cooled EGR presents significant challenges to conventional ignition systems in natural-gas-fueled engines, which will be addressed by C2.

‘Most automotive original equipment manufacturers are already using cooled EGR in gasoline engines to meet emissions standards, but similar use of cooled EGR in natural gas engines has been impossible until now,’ claims Lou Camilli, president and chief technology officer for Enerpulse Technologies.

‘We're very excited to collaborate on this ambitious project and to showcase the capabilities of our turbocharged, 8.8-liter CNG engine,’ adds Jeremy Lessaris, PSI's vice president of marketing and communications. ‘The goal of the CEC is to develop a power system that advances engine performance, improves exhaust emissions and increases the economic viability of natural-gas-fueled engines for mid-size commercial vehicles. We believe the technologies developed for this project can help accomplish all three objectives and that there is great commercial potential for an ultra-low emission, CNG-engine platform.’

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