Scientists in Liverpool working with some engineers from Ford, have developed an ignition system that ignites the fuel mixture with a laser instead of a spark plug. Engines in their labs are currently running with the laser system.
The laser can be split into multiple beams which means it can have multiple ignition points, improving the chance of a complete burn, reducing emissions and improving efficiency in cold and damp conditions.
Part of the laser can be reflected back to provide information about how the engine is running, giving the computer the ability to adjust the air fuel mixture, also raising the possibility of better utilizing alternative fuels.
Ford says they will possibly use the system in their high end vehicles in as little as 2 years. Although this is strictly an automotive system at the moment, there’s certainly no reason this technology couldn’t, at some point, be adapted for smaller engines such as those used in motorcycles. Very cool technology!
Electric powered vehicles of all sorts are touted as the future but the old internal combustion engine just keeps getting better and better. It’s also a huge opportunity for anyone who wants to study and remain at the cutting edge of the technology, mechanics who refuse to learn and evolve will find their opportunities fading fast.