Spark Anemometry for Efficient Power Units

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As a technology, spark ignition power units feature high degree of maturity. On the other hand, incremental benefits on a wide scale mean significant impact!

Spark anemometry leverages exactly this: increased efficiency for new and existing engines. Improved control margins are obtained through in-cylinder fluid motion data that renders cylinder-to-cylinder optimal ignition adjustment possible. As an overall result, fuel conversion efficiency is improved, especially in conditions such as lean fueling or high rates of exhaust gas recirculation.

State-of-the-art solutions for applying spark anemometry imply measurements of secondary circuit voltage, which are costly and difficult to implement. Our technology uses secondary current measurements, practically signifying no need for additional sensors: hundreds of millions potential applications! Key advantages can be summarized as:

  • optimal ignition control tailored to actual in-cylinder conditions,
  • no need for additional components in most applications,
  • possible implementation of the control algorithm through ECU software updates,
  • completely compatible with standard ignition diagnostics,
  • fuel economy benefits are most prominent in extreme conditions such as high levels of EGR and ultra-lean fueling.

Competitive edge

Improving efficiency on a wide scale means that the technology offers significant competitive advantages in the reference automotive market; spark anemometry can also be applied on stationary engines, even if the off-road market can be heterogeneous to a high degree in terms of control methods. Given the current state of emerging technology, evaluating critical aspects is somewhat difficult and features high level of uncertainty. Nonetheless, two major bottlenecks were identified for the automotive market: willingness of OEMs to perform software changes in the ECU, and more difficult implementation in the legacy fleet given that it would have to be adopted by end-users directly. Developing a plug-and-play product would resolve both, meaning that compatibility and software interactions would become less critical, and fitting the product to existing power units would be facilitated. Of course, this would increase cost but not significantly, given that most of the development effort is related to software rather than hardware; more to the point, the components of the plug-and-play module are standard for the automotive industry and feature contained cost. In any case, estimated time-to-market of around 12-18 months is another essential feature that maximizes benefits and competitive edge.

The only technology identified as a competitor at this stage is spark anemometry based on secondary voltage measurements; reduced applicability of this method is the main reason why it is not present on the market. The advantages of the proposed technology makes it possible to implement in-cylinder fluid measurements on a wide scale and to develop optimal control strategies aimed at improving fuel economy.

Key product features, competitive edge, production needs and market potential can be summarized as:

  • core software patentable technology,
  • TRL2 with true potential for TRL 5-6 within 6 months,
  • ample applicability compared to other solutions,
  • production requirements within standard automotive OEM and after-market approaches,
  • time-to-market estimated at 12-18 months,
  • hundreds of millions of potential applications,
  • full compatibility with alternative fuels.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Adrian Irimescu
  • Type of entry:
    team
    Team members:
    • Simona Silvia Merola
    • Giovanni Cecere
  • Patent status:
    none