PCI Awarded Air Force Phase II Contract for Catalytic Glow Plugs
NORTH HAVEN, CT (April 29, 2010)-The Air Force has selected PCI's catalytic glow plug technology for a Phase II award under the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program. The two year project will develop a catalytic glow plug technology for high power density internal combustion (IC) engines using JP8 and diesel fuel. JP8 is currently used as the U.S. military's standard logistics fuel. PCI's catalytic microplugs offer the potential for a lighter and less expensive ignition solution compared to high voltage spark ignitors, while being more effective than current glow plugs. The technology enables lighter weight, lower cost high power density engine systems (such as rotary engines now being explored for use in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other military applications), while having spinoff application for improved ignition assistance for high compression IC engine manufacturers looking to use low cetane fuels. PCI's catalytic microplugs also offer potential for stabilization and relight of continuous combustion engines, such as small gas turbines.
In one set of promising applications using rotary engines, such as in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), low compression limitations and maintaining light weight are of primary concern. The use of heavy fuels such as JP8 or diesel in these situations worsens the technical problems especially for startup, restart and part-load efficiency. PCI's catalytic microplugs offer the potential for a small, lightweight solution for engine manufacturers to achieve optimal ignition and operational performance while also eliminating the need for high voltage and frequent maintenance. The improved operability and reduced weight will enable manufacturers to create lighter, more reliable rotary engines using military logistics fuel.
One spinoff application is for high compression engines using lower cetane fuels. Engine manufacturers looking to preserve the efficiency of high compression solutions while using low cetane fuels (such as methanol, ethanol and some other biofuels) are exploring ignition assistance technologies to help improve startup and operability. Challenging cold starts, rapid fouling, high power requirements, and limited life are just a few examples of problems that adversely affect conventional ignition systems. By improving ignition effectiveness, PCI's catalytic microplugs will provide a new option for such engine developers and owners.
PCI's Phase II program will focus on the further development of its catalytic glow plugs and ignition systems for ignition effectiveness and robustness, and on specific high power density engine applications. PCI's Principal Investigator for catalytic glow plugs, Dr. Shahrokh Etemad, commented,
"This Air Force project will support advanced component design as well as specific applications development, with our customer interested in both the catalytic glow plug itself and the improvement in high power density engines that it will enable. We see a broad military market beyond the Air Force, and will be developing commercial applications. The project includes the opportunity for participation by military engine developers to explore how their engines can benefit from the technology. On the commercial side, we'll be looking for engine customers in such areas as lightweight power generation for recreational vehicles or marine applications, as well as for biofuel-driven power generation engine adaptations."
Precision Combustion, Inc. (www.precision-combustion.com) is a clean energy technology company developing and manufacturing catalytic devices and systems for energy sector applications. To learn more, visit www.precision-combustion.com.
The U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program seeks to stimulate technological innovation through competitive solicitations targeted to solve government agency objectives. Approximately one in eight Phase I proposals are funded for proof-of-concept R&D, with 40%-45% of those advancing to a Phase II for sustained development. Winners keep the rights to technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology.
For more information, contact: Tony Anderson
Manager, Marketing and Business Development