Clean Internal Combustion Engine Emissions With Catalytic Ignition System and Water-Alcohol Fuels

EPA Contract Number: 68D99033
Title: Clean Internal Combustion Engine Emissions With Catalytic Ignition System and Water-Alcohol Fuels
Investigators: Cherry, Mark A.
Small Business: Aqualytic Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


This Phase I project will address the problem of NOx and toxic air pollutant (TAP) emissions from stationary and mobile internal combustion engine sources. Pollution from internal combustion engine sources constitutes an environmental problem of global magnitude. During Phase I, Aqualytic Technologies (ATI) will demonstrate innovative and cost-effective solutions to these problems. ATI has developed a catalytic ignition system (patented SmartPlug) allowing engine operation using low proof ("wet") alcohol. Engine operation on low proof alcohol (typically 70% ethanol or methanol and 30% water) is made possible by the extremely efficient combustion event generated by the SmartPlug. Initial testing of small utility engines using the SmartPlug and alcohol-water fuels has demonstrated very significant reductions in engine emissions. Third-party testing demonstrated more than 90 percent reductions in NOx and CO, the absence of SO2, and very low CO2 as well as 65 percent reductions in hydrocarbon levels. This was done with an increase in power of 20 percent over the spark-fired gasoline baseline. During Phase I, low emissions levels will be documented, even in "cold start" modes, without the necessity of gasoline or other high emissions additives.

Successful completion of Phase I will result in the development and testing of SmartPlug catalytic ignition systems with preproduction durability characteristics (100+ hours @) and the development of a mathematical modeling theory, which explains system operation and benefits. The innovative and cost-effective characteristics offered by the SmartPlug and water-alcohol fuels offer significant commercial opportunities. The system reduces the costs of Office of Energy Management ignition systems (e.g., simple SmartPlug replaces distributors, high tension leads, spark plugs). Additionally, the system offers a readily retrofit answer to emissions-regulated off-road vehicles, utility engines, weed eaters and other power gardening tools, underground mining engines, and transportation system use. Developing countries may become major customers for this technology, which decreases dependence on foreign oil as well as significantly reduces "greenhouse gas" emissions. Phase II will involve Two Stroke International (manufacturers of two stroke engines), Ski-Free (personal watercraft), Alcohol USA (methanol suppliers), and J.R. Simplot Co. (ethanol producers) in subcontract and advisory roles. Participation by both end-users and field suppliers will ensure and greatly accelerate commercialization of this technology.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, air emissions, pollution prevention, engineering, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Air, Toxics, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, air toxics, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Chemistry, HAPS, Technology for Sustainable Environment, mobile sources, New/Innovative technologies, tropospheric ozone, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Incineration/Combustion, Market mechanisms, alternative fuel technology, Nitrogen Oxides, motor vehicles, air pollutants, hydrocarbon, internal combustion engine, vehicle emissions, stratospheric ozone, novel catalyst systems, air pollution control, combustion emissions, automotive combustion, automotive exhaust, catalyst formulations, catalysts, automobiles, auto emissions, Sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, combustion technology, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, combustion, lawn and garden equipment, automobile combustion process design, innovative technology, alternative energy source, cost effective, catalytic combustion, nitrogen oxides (Nox), innovative technologies, air emissions

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final