To be able to tune internal combustion engines optimally, information is needed from the combustion process in the engine’s cylinders. This isn’t easy, because it’s hard to monitor what’s going on in the sooty and hot cylinders. The Karlstad scientists and Mecel have found algorithms for a so-called ion stream analyzer, which uses statistical signal processing to obtain better combustion information from ion streams. The information is used to control and monitor the engine.

The research project could be of crucial importance to the control of the next generation of internal combustion engines. The researchers recently applied for a patent for the invention. The aim is to get major auto-makers to sign on for its future development.

“If we can improve the quality of the information about the combustion process, an ion stream analyzer might be standard in every car sold in the future,” says Jakob Ängeby, visiting researcher at the Section for Electrotechnology at Karlstad University and director of future technologies at Mecel.

When the air and fuel in the engine’s cylinder is burned, free electrons and charged ions are formed in the combustion gases. By metering how many ions there are in the gas, information can be gleaned about the combustion. It’s not new knowledge that the ion stream can be used to read information about the course of combustion. The technology is already in use today.

What the researchers at Karlstad University are adding is the application of statistical signal processing to acquire information that was previously hidden in the ion stream. For example, it may be a matter of creating just the right mixture of air and fuel and pressure max or to develop the
engine’s combustion stability to get the car to run as smoothly as possible.

“With better information about combustion, you can control engines better and make them more efficient, which in turn leads to better gas mileage,” says Jakob Ängby.

Mecel has been a leader in research and development of ion stream analyzers for more than 20 years. The Åmål-based company works on the absolute cutting-edge of advanced electronics and software for controlling and extracting information from internal combustion engines. The research
project is partially funded by the Foundation of technology transfer (Teknikbrostiftelsen). Besides Jakob Ängby, Magnus Mossberg and Andreas Jacobsson are involved in the project, both from the Section for Electrotechnology at Karlstad University.

For more information, please contact Jakob Ängby, phone: +46 54-700 20 87
or +46 532-621 52; cell phone: +46 73-034 61 52.