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Transient Plasma Systems says advances are bringing plasma ignition technology closer to commercialization

Transient Plasma Systems Inc. (TPS), which develops and markets nanosecond pulsed-power systems that unlock the potential of low-temperature plasma to be used in a variety of applications, says that it has made significant advances in its ignition technology, including development milestones in control software, plug configuration, and cost reduction, narrowing the gap to commercialization.

Advanced ignition technologies, such as those offered by TPS, have been widely recognized as enablers to achieving higher combustion efficiency and lower emissions for gasoline-powered engines. Traditional ignition systems when used to enhance internal combustion engine (ICE) efficiency and lower emissions are handicapped with high energy consumption and poor durability leading to an unattractive cost of ownership.


TPS ignition system

The TPS ignition system, based on nanosecond pulsed power technology, has demonstrated promising results in engine tests at automotive OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers and national laboratories. TPS technology has been shown to improve fuel efficiency by as much as 20% at low load points (such as highway driving) and 10-15% over an entire drive cycle.

The keys to commercialization have been demonstrating cost, size and optimized energy consumption in line with automotive requirements.

The advances achieved by TPS in 2021 include:

  • A robust control software that allows for tailoring and optimizing the energy used for ignition during engine operating cycles.

  • An innovative plug configuration that reduces the breakdown voltage, resulting in significant cost and size reduction of the power supply.

We believe the nanosecond pulsed power technology from TPS is unique and can be applied across a wide variety of applications. In particular, TPS technology offers a groundbreaking approach to reducing emissions from combustion engines and improving the environment. it is vital that the transportation world continues to improve the combustion engine technology.

—Jim Demetriades, executive chairman of Transient Plasma Systems and CEO of Kairos Ventures

Kairos Ventures is the Los Angeles venture capital firm funding TPS.

Despite the rush towards EVs, combustion engine vehicles continue to be a significant part of the car manufacturers’ business, driving revenue and profits. These vehicles have long lifetimes and will continue to occupy the roads next to clean EVs for years to come. Emissions from these combustion engine vehicles can be minimized by employing the latest technologies such as advanced ignition.

The ignition technology advances made by TPS in 2021 have enabled us to significantly narrow the gap to commercialization. For advanced ignition systems to be adopted, cost, size and lower energy consumption are critical. We feel confident that our technology is ready to usher in the benefits of lower emissions, and lead the industry’s push toward cleaner mobility.

—Dan Singleton, CEO and co-founder of Transient Plasma Systems

TPS technology has other applications as well, such as emissions reduction from diesel engines and commercial kitchen exhaust systems, plasma treatment of surfaces for cleaning, as well as ozone generation.

Results obtained from work performed under a recent DOE grant showed nearly 80% reduction in particulates from a 1.8 hp diesel engine. The TPS solution is not expected to need regeneration, unlike conventional diesel particulate filters (DPF), greatly reducing maintenance and improving regulatory compliance.

TPS has also successfully demonstrated its kitchen exhaust solution by a 90% reduction in particulates and odor, in a test with a leading commercial kitchen equipment OEM.

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.

TPS’ foundational technology was developed at the University of Southern California (USC), with more than a decade of support from the Department of Defense. The company was spun out of USC with the express purpose of translating the technology into products and systems to address demands in both military and commercial markets.


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