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Los Alamos Enters Development Agreement for Plasma-Assisted Combustion

The basic Plasma-Assisted Combustion process concept. Click to enlarge.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with PerriQuest Defense Research Enterprises, LLC to advance Plasma-Assisted Combustion for commercial refinement and implementation.

PerriQuest, based in Meriden, CT, Los Alamos, and Idaho National Laboratory are collaborating on the research and development of Plasma-Assisted Combustion, under a licensing agreement with Los Alamos, for turbine and internal combustion engine applications. The technology enables the development of cleaner-burning or more fuel-efficient engines.

Under Plasma-Assisted Combustion, electrodes attached at the spray nozzle of a fuel injector apply enough electrical voltage to the atomized fuel stream prior to combustion, thereby generating a plasma in the fuel.

This effect essentially breaks down the long chains of hydrocarbons in the fuel into smaller parts, allowing the fuel to be burned more completely, resulting in more miles per gallon, or reducing emissions.

You put into an engine the equivalent of a process plant or fuel refinery. The plasma unit basically acts like a cracker in a refinery, cutting the long chains of hydrocarbons into bite-size parts—the smaller the parts the better the burn—taking cheap fuels and making them combust like expensive ones.

—Don Coates, Los Alamos

The research was really driven by market needs. In 2004, regulations were announced about air pollutants by all vehicles. In the future, air pollutants by vehicles, on- and off-road, are supposed to be more highly regulated. We knew that this was going to create a great opportunity to develop a technology that would supply the demand for cleaner burning vehicles. So, we decided to see if we could do something about it.

The technology does produce cleaner emissions, and can lead to better fuel efficiency, but probably not at the same time. Maybe if Mother Nature was super-kind you might get both.

—Louis Rosocha, Los Alamos, Applied Plasma Technologies team leader

PerriQuest founder and CEO Nicholas V. Perricone said that his company, which routinely works with the US Government on defense technologies, is dedicated to turning the plasma combustion technology into a commercial product that will improve turbine and internal combustion engines.




Sounds like the intro for one of those cheezy rip off gas mileage devices...haha

In all seriousness though, any vehicle already meeting LEV standards (or better) through the use of catalysts should not use this to improve emissions further but rather to concentrate on fuel economy.

I'm waiting for the news story of a guy hooking an extra car battery up to his injectors and setting his car on fire after he read this news clip...


I read a while back of the use of polybutadiene as a gasoline additive that would essentially keep the larger hydrocarbon molecules associated with the smaller ones such that more complete combustion would occur. The fuel economy improvement was claimed to be at least 10%. The key seems to be homogeneity of the charge. Never heard anything since about this additive.

Pao Chi Pien

The present combust process can already converts more than 98% of the fuel chemical energy into heat energy. More complete combustion would reach a little higher combustion temperature and thus more NOx formation. Fuel efficiency is mainly determined by the expansion ratio and power density. The expansion ratio controls the thermal efficiency while the power density controls the mechanical efficiency. How the new technical achieving more complete combustion could reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency requires a better understanding.

Sid Hoffman

Last I saw, they wanted to use this to reduce NOx in diesel fuel. That line about "turning crappy fuel into good fuel" sounds like an allusion to the wild variances in diesel fuel quality in the USA. Even though sulpher will now be low, cetane continues to be all over the place, anywhere from below 40 to nearly 60, and aromatics anywhere from 13-50% according to a previous GCC article.

allen Z

Sid Hoffman,
Point taken, since if this was implemented, it would mean the oil refiners will not have to fix problems with the fuels. That would mean less money would be spent on upgrading them, and thus more $$$ for the refinery operators.
___However, the part about turbine applications look interesting. Gas turbines, and their cousin the jet engine, use vent/air bleed holes to cool/protect the vanes and turbine blades from the hellish post combustion stage heat and pressure. In combined cycle gas+steam turbine systems, the components that use air bleed protection use steam in nonbleed setups to protect components. The steam is then used in steam turbine(s). In a jet engine (for aircraft) one would be hard to fit a steam turbine to extract the power. One may use in its place thermoelectric/themovoltaic elements, along with preinjection fuel heaters, sterling engines, and radiator elements. Less NOX and particlates will mean less ozone pollution at ground level, and less aerosols/contrails at high/cruise altitude.
___Another place this may help would be with SVO. Breaking down the fuel before they get into the engine would cut down on NOX and particulates.
___One concern is the electrodes might coke over with carbon over time, and might need frequent service. It would be a great hassle to service one's engines every 1,000 miles. Maybe some sort of graphite electrode would work. Like a mechanical pencil, it would slowly extend its piece of graphite as they gradually burn down with repeated use.


MIT has a plasmatron reformer that was mentioned on here that I thought was interesting.


"breaks down the long chains of hydrocarbons in the fuel into smaller parts, allowing the fuel to be burned more completely"
You could instead just use CNG, but that would be too easy.


Needless to say this plasma cold combustion technology has been stolen/diverted sleight of hand!

This technology is presented here as something complicated to deviate and put a smokescreen to the public as if this technology is as complicated as the engines of a jet fighter.

Visit to know who really is one of the inventors of plasma fuel modified engines which can be built HOME MADE.

Here is the principle explaned and plans to construct your own plasma modified engine with local hardware thanks to -- save this on your computer -- let a car-mechanic know about this -- the more people know the better for future generations :

But of course, corporate government will soon find laws that will forbid grassroot building of such engines and a corrupt congress will of course help repressive laws to effect to stamp out those who love freedom and financial independance by nature dearly.

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