Combustion is a key technology in engines and central heating systems but it has a disadvantage: incomplete combustion can generate toxic exhaust gases. An electric discharge or plasma can preprocess the mixture of air and fuel and break up the oxygen molecules of air into radicals. This could largely improve the combustion process. Recently researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology and CWI were awarded an OTP technology grant from NWO to understand and improve this plasma-assisted combustion process for both conventional and biofuels.
In their project 'Making plasma-assisted combustion efficient' the researchers unite the strengths of four complementary disciplines. The participants combine mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and applied physics with the mathematical, modelling and simulation expertise of the Multiscale Dynamics group at CWI, which plays a leading role in developing fully 3D numerical models for inception and propagation of pulsed discharges. The MD group at CWI is headed by Professor Ute Ebert (CWI and TU/e).
Ute Ebert explains: "We will use all our complementary expertise in lab experiments and modelling to unravel the complex interactions of plasma and flame, and to optimize the discharge plasma to make combustion as clean as possible."
CWI will hire a postdoctoral researcher for 1.5 year for the project. The work builds on earlier research by former CWI PhD student Jannis Teunissen, who will return to CWI in October 2018 as a tenure track researcher.
The Open Technology Programme of NWO, which funds this project, focuses on scientific and technical research and is characterised by an absence of disciplinary boundaries. The programme is coordinated by the NWO domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (TTW).