FEV testing finds Transient Plasma ignition system increases fuel efficiency and decreases emissions


FEV, a leading service provider in vehicle and propulsion system development and testing, has evaluated the performance of the Transient Plasma Systems Inc. (TPS) nanosecond pulsed power ignition system (earlier post) on the current Toyota 2.5-liter, direct and port fueled injection, inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine commonly used in the Camry line of vehicles. The “Dynamic Force Engine” achieves one of the world’s best thermal efficiencies of 40% in gasoline powered vehicles according to Toyota.


Based on our testing, TPS ignition technology offers potential significant benefits toward improving combustion, engine efficiency and performance.

—Michael Franke, Senior Vice President of Engine and Hybrid Powertrain Systems of FEV

The Toyota 2.5L engine was tested at FEV North America and results indicate improvements over the stock ignition system. Data was collected with the stock ignition system with a representative ignition strategy, followed by comparison to a drop-in replacement with the TPS nanosecond pulsed power ignition system (coil and plug).

Results indicate a brake-specific fuel consumption (BSFC) benefit of up to 6% with minor calibration changes, which include a multi-pulse ignition strategy, increased external EGR, and optimized spark timing. With the TPS ignition system, there was no degradation of combustion with increased EGR.

The TPS Ignition System allowed for stable operation beyond an air fuel ratio of 30 (λ>2), with the potential of enabling ultra-lean burn strategies such as the one found in the Mazda Skyactiv-X.

The combustion strategies enabled by the TPS Ignition System could result in fuel economy gains greater than 20% across a drive cycle, as illustrated by the simulation results in the 2020 report by Sandia National Labs to US DOE.

The world cannot transition to widespread electric vehicle adoption overnight, despite the ambition and commitments of automakers and legislators. Hundreds of millions of internal combustion engine vehicles are projected to be sold round the globe in the next decade. There is an immediate need to produce cleaner gasoline engine vehicles to meet the global CO2 target and automakers recognize advanced ignition systems as a necessity to achieve the last great CO2 reduction. These test results, along with our significant progress in reducing cost, size and energy consumption of the TPS ignition system, demonstrate its nearing commercialization.

—Dan Singleton, CEO & Co-Founder of Transient Plasma Systems

TPS Transient Plasma Ignition System is a new tool for high-dilute combustion strategies, reduced NOx emissions, and efficient engine modes in challenging situations. The low-energy/high-power ignition system increases efficiency in a variety of combustion engine designs, including gasoline-powered, hybrid, and natural-gas-powered vehicles as well as green fuels such as hydrogen.

Unlike competing systems that involve costly engine redesigns and displacement of current engine architecture, the TPS Transient Plasma Ignition System works alongside existing engine designs and efficiency techniques such as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), gasoline direct injection (GDI), turbocharging and e-boost, significantly enhancing performance with a simple solution. TPS, as a technology development firm, has taken the technology to the point of a design that has the potential to meet size, cost, and performance metrics of gasoline and natural gas engine OEMs.

Lastly, the TPS surface treatment solution has been shown to very effective in treating hard-to-bond materials like ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber (EPDM) as well as depositing dense, defect free coatings for biomedical applications, corrosion protection and barrier coatings. It has also achieved precision functionality in coatings via finely tuned polymerization.


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