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Title:
DUCTED FUEL INJECTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/101991
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Various technologies presented herein relate to heating a fuel and enhancing fuel and charge-gas mixing inside a combustion chamber to enable minimal, or no, generation of soot and/or other undesired emissions during ignition and subsequent combustion of the locally premixed mixtures. To enable sufficient mixing of the fuel and charge-gas, a jet of fuel can be directed to pass through a bore of a duct causing charge-gas to be drawn into the bore creating turbulence to mix the fuel and the drawn charge-gas. The duct can be heated to provision heating of the fuel and charge-gas mixture. The duct can be located proximate to an opening in a tip of a fuel injector. An ignition assist component can be located downstream of the duct to facilitate ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture.

Inventors:
MUELLER, Charles, J. (2170 Latour Avenue, Livermore, CA, 94550, US)
Application Number:
US2017/044942
Publication Date:
June 07, 2018
Filing Date:
August 01, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING SOLUTION OF SANDIA, LLC (NTESS) (P.O. Box 5800/MS-0161, Albuquerque, NM, 87185, US)
International Classes:
F02M61/18; F02B23/00; F02M55/00; F02M61/00; F02M61/14
Foreign References:
US20160029853A12016-02-04
US4245589A1981-01-20
US20160298583A12016-10-13
US4974559A1990-12-04
US20160097360A12016-04-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FARBER, Madelynne, J. (NTESS, Lagel Division Org. 11500,7011 East Avnue, PO Box 969, Ms 903, Livermore CA, 94551-9031, US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A fuel injection system, comprising:

a fuel injector comprising an opening, wherein a jet of fuel is injected through the opening into a combustion chamber; and

a duct, wherein the duct has a tubular configuration and is aligned such that the jet of fuel exiting the opening of the fuel injector is injected through the duct and into the combustion chamber, the duct is heated to facilitate ignition of the fuel as it exits a discharge end of the duct.

2. The fuel injection system of claim 1, wherein the duct comprises:

an outer layer that defines an exterior surface of the duct, the outer layer comprising an electrical insulator material; and

an inner layer that is partially or completely covered by the outer layer, the inner layer comprising a conductor or semiconductor material.

3. The fuel injection system of claim 2, wherein the semiconductor material is silicon carbide.

4. The fuel injection system of claim 2, wherein the inner layer is a wire coil with a hollow bore, and the jet of fuel flows through the bore of the wire coil.

5. The fuel injection system of claim 2, wherein the inner layer is a tubular section with a hollow bore, and the jet of fuel flows through the bore of the tubular section.

6. The fuel injection system of claim 5, wherein the outer layer is a tubular section with a hollow bore, and the inner layer is located in the hollow bore of the tubular section.

7. The fuel injection system of claim 1, further comprising a battery, wherein the battery supplies electrical energy to the duct to heat the duct.

8. The fuel injection system of claim 7, further comprising a controller, wherein the controller is configured to control release of electrical energy from the battery to the duct.

9. The fuel injection system of claim 8, wherein the controller is

communicatively coupled to an ignition system computer and receives ignition data from the ignition system computer, the controller utilizes the ignition data to control release of electrical energy from the battery to the duct.

10. A method for heating a mixture comprising fuel and charge-gas, the method comprising:

injecting fuel through an opening in a fuel injector, the opening is located in a combustion chamber; and

heating the injected fuel with the charge-gas in a duct, wherein the duct comprises a hollow tube and is aligned such that the injected fuel travels through the hollow tube, passage of the injected fuel through the hollow tube causing the fuel to be heated as it absorbs heat emitted from the duct.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the duct comprises an outer layer comprising an electrical insulator material.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the duct comprises an inner layer comprising a conductor or a semiconductor material.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the semiconductor material is silicon carbide.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the inner layer is a wire coil with a hollow bore, and the injected fuel flows through the bore of the wire coil.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein the inner layer is a tubular section with a hollow bore, and the injected fuel flows through the bore of the tubular section.

16. The method of claim 12, further comprising a battery, wherein the battery supplies electrical energy to the duct in order to heat the duct.

17. A fuel injection system, comprising:

a fuel injector comprising an opening, wherein a fuel is injected through the opening into a combustion chamber; and

a duct, wherein the duct has a tubular configuration and is aligned such that the fuel exiting the opening of the fuel injector is injected through the duct and into the combustion chamber, the duct comprises an outer insulating layer and a conductive inner layer, wherein passage of electrical energy through the conductive inner layer heats the duct to facilitate ignition of the fuel as it exits a discharge end of the duct.

18. The fuel injection system of claim 17, wherein the inner layer comprises a conductor or a semiconductor material.

19. The fuel injection system of claim 17, further comprising a battery, wherein the battery supplies the electrical energy to the inner layer.

20. The fuel injection system of claim 17, wherein the duct further comprises an inner insulating layer that defines an interior of the duct, wherein the conductive inner layer is between the outer insulating layer and the inner insulating layer.

Description:
Title: DUCTED FUEL INJECTION

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to United States Provisional Patent

Application No. 62/311,753, filed on March 22, 2016. This application is also a continuation in part of United States Patent Application No. 15/363,966, filed on November 29, 2016, which claims priority to United States Provisional Patent Application No. 62/278,184, filed on January 13, 2016, and which is further a continuation in part of United States Patent Application No. 14/789,782, filed on July 1, 2015, which claims priority to United States Provisional Patent Application No. 62/058,613, filed on October 1, 2014. This application is additionally a continuation in part of United States Patent Application No. 15/364,002, filed on November 29, 2016, which claims priority to United States Provisional Patent Application No.

62/311,753, filed on March 22, 2016. The entireties of these applications are incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST

[0002] This invention was made with Government support under Contract No.

DE-NA0003525 awarded by the United States Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration. The U.S. Government has certain rights in the invention.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Many modern engines are designed such that each combustion cylinder of the engine includes a dedicated fuel injector configured to inject fuel directly into a combustion chamber. While such "direct injection" engines represent an

improvement in engine technology over past designs (e.g., carburetors) with regard to increased engine efficiency and reduced emissions, direct injection engines can produce relatively high levels of certain undesired emissions.

[0004] Engine emissions can include soot, which results from combustion of a fuel-rich and oxygen- lean fuel mixture. Soot comprises small carbon particles created by the fuel-rich regions of diffusion flames commonly created in a combustion chamber of an engine which may be operating at medium to high load. Soot is an environmental hazard, an emission regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States of America, and the second most important climate- forcing species (carbon dioxide being the most important). Currently, soot is removed from the exhaust of diesel engines by large and expensive particulate filters in the exhaust system. Other post-combustion treatments may also have to be utilized, such as NOx selective catalytic reduction, a NO x trap, oxidation catalyst, etc. These after- treatment systems have to be maintained to enable continued and effective reduction of soot/particulates and other undesired emissions, and accordingly add further cost to a combustion system both in terms of initial equipment cost and subsequent maintenance.

[0005] A focus of combustion technologies is burning fuel in leaner mixtures, because such mixtures tend to produce less soot, NO x , and potentially other regulated emissions such as hydrocarbons (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO). One such combustion strategy is Leaner Lifted-Flame Combustion (LLFC). LLFC is a combustion strategy that does not produce soot because combustion occurs at equivalence ratios less than or equal to approximately two. The equivalence ratio is the actual ratio of fuel to oxidizer mass divided by the stoichiometric ratio of fuel to oxidizer mass. LLFC can be achieved by enhanced local mixing of fuel with the charge-gas (i.e., air with or without additional gas-phase compounds) in the combustion chamber.

SUMMARY

[0006] The following is a brief summary of subject matter that is described in greater detail herein. This summary is not intended to be limiting as to the scope of the claims.

[0007] Described herein are various technologies regarding ducted fuel injection (DFI) to minimize ignition delay and enhance local mixing rates inside a combustion chamber, relative to mixing produced in a conventional combustion chamber configuration arrangement. The enhanced mixing rates are used to form one or more locally premixed mixtures comprising fuel and charge-gas, such that the formed mixtures create minimal, or zero, soot and/or other undesirable emissions in the combustion chamber during the ignition and subsequent combustion of the locally premixed mixtures. To enable mixing of the fuel and the charge-gas to produce a locally premixed mixture with such an improved fuel to charge-gas ratio distribution, a gaseous jet or liquid-containing spray of fuel can be directed such that it passes through a bore of a duct (e.g., down a tube, a hollow cylindroid), with passage of the fuel causing charge-gas to be drawn into the bore such that turbulence is created within the bore to cause enhanced mixing of the fuel and the drawn charge-gas. For simplicity, throughout this application, a "fuel jet" or a "jet of fuel" refers to the fluid structure produced when liquid or gas-phase fuel issues into an ambient environment of air and/or other gases. A charge-gas inside the combustion chamber can comprise air with or without additional gas-phase compounds.

[0008] Combustion of the locally premixed mixture(s) can occur within a combustion chamber, wherein the fuel can be any suitable flammable or combustible liquid or vapor. For example, the combustion chamber can be formed as a function of various surfaces comprising a wall of a cylinder bore (e.g., formed in an engine block), a flame deck surface of a cylinder head, and a piston crown of a piston that reciprocates within the cylinder bore. A fuel injector can be mounted in the cylinder head, wherein fuel is injected into the combustion chamber via at least one opening in a tip of the fuel injector. For each opening in the fuel injector tip, a duct can be aligned therewith to enable fuel injected by the fuel injector to pass through the bore of the duct. Charge-gas is drawn into the bore of the duct as a result of the low pressures locally created by the high velocity jet of fuel flowing through the bore. This charge-gas mixes rapidly with the fuel due to intense turbulence created by the large velocity gradients between the duct wall and the centerline of the fuel jet, resulting in the formation of a locally premixed mixture with a distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios exiting the duct that forms minimal, or zero, soot and/or other undesirable emissions during subsequent ignition and combustion in the combustion chamber.

[0009] In another embodiment, the duct can be heated such that heat generated by the duct heats the fuel passing through the duct. Accordingly, ignition of the fuel can be induced such that the ignition occurs earlier than it would with an unheated duct. Thus ignition of the fuel occurs proximate to the heated duct, while ignition of fuel using an unheated duct will occur remote from the unheated duct. In an embodiment, the duct comprises an outer layer comprising an electrical insulator material, and an inner layer comprising a conductor or a semiconductor material. The inner layer can be a wire coil with a hollow bore, and the jet of fuel flows through the bore of the wire coil, or the inner layer is a tubular section with a hollow bore. A battery can be connected to the inner layer to provide electrical energy to the wire coil or the tubular section, wherein resistance to flow of the electrical energy causes conversion of the electrical energy to heat energy, which heats the inner layer and the duct. A controller can be communicatively coupled to an ignition system computer and receives ignition data from the ignition system computer, the controller utilizes the ignition data to control release of electrical energy from the battery to the duct.

[0010] In an embodiment, the duct can have a number of holes or slots formed along its length to further enable charge-gas to be drawn into the bore of the duct during passage of the fuel along the bore.

[0011] In another embodiment, the duct can be formed from a tube wherein the walls of the tube are parallel to each other (e.g., a hollow cylinder), hence a diameter of the bore at the first end of the duct (e.g., an inlet) is the same as the diameter of the bore at the second end of the duct (e.g., an outlet). In another embodiment, the walls of the tube can be non-parallel such that the diameter of the bore at the first end of the duct is different from the diameter of the bore at the second end of the duct.

[0012] The duct(s) can be formed from any material suitable for application in a combustion chamber, e.g., a metallic -containing material such as steel, INCONEL, HASTELLOY, etc., a ceramic-containing material, etc. In an embodiment where the duct is heated, the outer layer of the heated duct can be formed with an electrical insulator material, while the inner layer can be formed from a conductor or a semiconductor material, wherein the semiconductor material can be silicon carbide.

[0013] In a further embodiment, the duct(s) can be attached to the fuel injector prior to insertion of the fuel injector into the combustion chamber, with an assembly comprising the fuel injector and the duct(s) being located to form a portion of the combustion chamber. In another embodiment, the fuel injector can be located in the combustion chamber and the duct(s) subsequently attached to the fuel injector or cylinder head.

[0014] During operation of the engine, a temperature inside the bore of the duct may be less than an ambient temperature inside the combustion chamber such that the ignition delay of the mixture is increased, and mixing of the fuel and charge- gas prior to autoignition is further improved compared with direct injection of the fuel into the combustion chamber.

[0015] Operation of an engine utilizing the various embodiments presented herein may cause the ignition delay of the fuel/charge-gas mixture to increase. To facilitate ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture without excessive ignition delay, in addition to utilizing a heated duct, one or more ignition assist components can be utilized to ignite the fuel/charge-gas mixture. An ignition assist component can be a glow plug, a plasma torch, a laser emitting a focused laser beam, etc. Further, an ignition assist component can be fabricated with a layer of catalytic material located thereon, wherein the ignition assist component can be located with respect to the emission of the fuel/charge-gas mixture from a duct (e.g., in a flow path of the fuel/charge-gas mixture), wherein reaction of the fuel/charge-gas mixture facilitated by the catalytic material promotes ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture.

[0016] The above summary presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the systems and/or methods discussed herein. This summary is not an extensive overview of the systems and/or methods discussed herein. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements or to delineate the scope of such systems and/or methods. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] Fig. 1 is a sectional view of an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus.

[0018] Fig. 2 is a schematic illustrating a flame deck, valves, fuel injector and ducts forming an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus.

[0019] Fig. 3 is a close-up view of an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus comprising a fuel injector and an arrangement of ducts.

[0020] Fig . 4 is a schematic of a duct having ; a cylindrical configuration.

[0021] Fig . 5 is a schematic of a heated duct.

[0022] Fig . 6 is a schematic of a heated duct.

[0023] Fig . 7A is a schematic of a duct havin; g non-parallel sides. [0024] Fig. 7B is a schematic of a duct having an hourglass profile.

[0025] Fig. 7C is a schematic of a duct having a funnel-shaped profile.

[0026] Figs. 8A-8C illustrate a duct which includes a plurality of holes along its length.

[0027] Figs. 9A and 9B are schematics illustrating a fuel injector and duct assembly being located in a combustion chamber.

[0028] Figs. 10A and 10B illustrate an exemplary arrangement comprising three ducts and a threaded attachment portion.

[0029] Fig. IOC is a schematic of a duct assembly attached to a fuel injector assembly.

[0030] Fig. 10D is a schematic of a duct assembly attached to a flame deck to facilitate location of the duct assembly with respect to a fuel injector assembly.

[0031] Figs. 11 A and 1 IB illustrate utilizing a duct to guide formation of an opening in a tip of a fuel injector.

[0032] Fig. 12 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary methodology for creating a locally premixed mixture with a distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios that forms minimal, or zero, soot and/or other undesirable emissions in a combustion chamber.

[0033] Fig. 13 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary methodology for locating an assembly comprising a fuel injector and at least one duct in a combustion chamber.

[0034] Fig. 14 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary methodology for locating at least one duct at a fuel injector in a combustion chamber.

[0035] Fig. 15 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary methodology for utilizing a duct to guide formation of an opening in a tip.

[0036] Fig. 16 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary methodology for utilizing a heated duct to facilitate the ignition of a fuel/charge-gas mixture.

[0037] Fig. 17 is a schematic illustrating ignition of a fuel/charge-gas mixture in a ducted fuel configuration in an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus. [0038] Fig. 18 is a schematic illustrating a fuel/charge-gas mixture being ignited by catalytic material located on a discharge end of a duct in an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus.

[0039] Fig. 19 is a schematic illustrating a fuel/charge-gas mixture being ignited by catalytic material located on an annulus in an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus.

[0040] Fig. 20 is a schematic illustrating a fuel/charge-gas mixture being ignited by a plurality of rods covered with catalytic material in an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus.

[0041] Fig. 21 is a schematic illustrating a glow plug igniting a fuel/charge- gas mixture in an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus.

[0042] Fig. 22 is a schematic illustrating a laser beam igniting a fuel/charge- gas mixture in an exemplary combustion chamber apparatus.

[0043] Fig. 23 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary methodology for igniting a fuel/charge-gas mixture with an ignition assist component.

[0044] Fig. 24 illustrates an exemplary computing device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0045] Various technologies are presented herein pertaining to utilizing one or more ducts to minimize ignition delay and create locally premixed fuel and charge- gas mixtures that form minimal, or zero, soot and/or other undesired emissions during combustion. Like reference numerals are used to refer to like elements of the technologies throughout. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of one or more aspects. It may be evident, however, that such aspect(s) may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order to facilitate describing one or more aspects.

[0046] Further, the term "or" is intended to mean an inclusive "or" rather than an exclusive "or". That is, unless specified otherwise, or clear from the context, the phrase "X employs A or B" is intended to mean any of the natural inclusive permutations. That is, the phrase "X employs A or B" is satisfied by any of the following instances: X employs A; X employs B; or X employs both A and B. In addition, the articles "a" and "an" as used in this application and the appended claims should generally be construed to mean "one or more" unless specified otherwise or clear from the context to be directed to a singular form. Additionally, as used herein, the term "exemplary" is intended to mean serving as an illustration or example of something, and is not intended to indicate a preference.

[0047] Figs. 1, 2, and 3 illustrate an exemplary configuration(s) for a ducted fuel injection system. Fig. 1 is a sectional view through a combustion chamber assembly 100, wherein the sectional view is along X-X of Fig 2. Fig. 2 illustrates configuration 200 which is a planar view of the combustion chamber assembly 100 in direction Y of Fig 1. Fig. 3 presents configuration 300 which is an enlarged view of the fuel injection assembly illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2.

[0048] Figs. 1-3 collectively illustrate a plurality of common components which combine to form a combustion chamber 105. In an embodiment, the combustion chamber 105 has a generally cylindrical shape that is defined within a cylinder bore 110 formed (e.g., machined) within a crankcase or engine block 115 of an engine (not shown in its entirety). The combustion chamber 105 is further defined at one end (a first end) by a flame deck surface 120 of a cylinder head 125, and at another end (a second end) by a piston crown 130 of a piston 135 that can reciprocate within the bore 110. A fuel injector 140 is mounted in the cylinder head 125. The injector 140 has a tip 145 that protrudes into the combustion chamber 105 through the flame deck surface 120 such that it can directly inject fuel into the combustion chamber 105. The injector tip 145 can include a number of openings 146 (orifices) through which fuel is injected into the combustion chamber 105. Each opening 146 can be of a particular shape, e.g., a circular opening, and further, each opening 146 can have a particular opening diameter, D3.

[0049] Further, the combustion chamber 105 has located therein one or more ducts 150 which can be utilized to direct fuel injected in the combustion chamber 105 via an opening 146 of the injector 140 (as further described below). Per conventional operation of a combustion engine, an inlet valve(s) 160 is utilized to enable inlet of charge-gas into the combustion chamber 105, and an exhaust valve(s) 165 to enable exhausting of any combustion products (e.g., gases, soot, etc.) formed in the combustion chamber 105 as a function of a combustion process occurring therein. A charge-gas inside the combustion chamber 105 can comprise air with or without additional gas-phase compounds.

[0050] Fig. 2 illustrates the plurality of inlet valves 160 and the plurality of exhaust valves 165 which can be incorporated into the combustion chamber 105. Also, as shown in Fig. 2, one or more ducts 150 can be arranged around the tip 145, wherein, per Fig. 4, configuration 400, the duct 150 can be a tube or hollow cylindroid, comprising an external wall 152 having an external diameter of Dl, and an internal bore 153 passing through the length of the duct 150, wherein the internal bore 153 has a diameter D2. As shown in Fig. 4, the duct 150 can be cylindrically formed such that an inner surface 154 of the external wall 152 and an outer surface 155 of the external wall 152 are parallel, and accordingly a first opening 157 at a first end of the duct 150 has the same diameter as a second opening 158 at a second end of the duct 150, e.g., the diameter of the first opening 157 (e.g., an inlet) = D2 = the diameter of the second opening 158 (e.g., an outlet). The first end of the duct 150 can be located nearest to (proximal, adjacent to, abut) the opening 146, while the second end of the duct 150 is located distal to the opening 146 relative to the position of the first end of the duct 150. In an embodiment, as further described herein, the thickness of the external wall 152 can alter along the length of the duct 150, such that while the outer surface 155 of the external wall 152 is cylindrical, the inner surface 154 can be tapered and/or have a conical shape. In a further embodiment, the length L of the duct 150 can be of any desired length. For example, the duct 150 can have a length L of between about 30 to about 300 times the nominal diameter D3 of the opening 146, for example, about 30 x D3 to about 300 x D3.

[0051] Turning to Fig. 3, as previously mentioned, the tip 145 can include a plurality of openings 146 to enable passage of fuel 180 therethrough (e.g., fuel injection). From an initial volume of fuel 180 flowing through the injector 140, a plurality of jets of fuel 185 can be formed in accordance with the number and size of openings 146 located at the tip 145, as the initial fuel 180 passes through the respective openings 146. A direction of injection of the injected fuel 185 can be depicted per the centerline(s), <L, illustrated on Fig. 3. Hence, a duct 150 can be co- aligned (e.g., co-axially) with the centerline of the jet of fuel 185, such that the jet of fuel 185 exits from an opening 146 and passes through the bore 153 of the duct 150. Per Figs. 3 and 4, a first (proximal) end 157 of the duct 150 can be positioned proximate to a respective opening 146, wherein the first end 157 can be positioned such that a gap, G, exists between the first end of the duct 150 and the opening 146. A second (distal) end 158 of the duct 150 can be located in the combustion chamber 105 such that the duct 150 extends from the tip 145 and into the combustion chamber 105.

[0052] As previously mentioned, in a situation where a fuel-rich mixture of fuel and charge-gas undergoes combustion, soot can be generated, which is undesirable. Hence, it is desired to have a fuel/charge-gas mixture having

equivalence ratios less than or equal to approximately two. As the respective jet(s) of fuel 185 travels through the bore 153 of the respective duct 150, a pressure differential is generated inside of the duct 150 such that charge-gas in the combustion chamber 105 is also drawn into the duct 150. The charge-gas mixes rapidly with the fuel 185 due to intense turbulence created by the high velocity gradients between the duct bore 153 (at which the fluid velocity is zero) and the centerline of the fuel jet 185 (at which the fluid velocity is large). The turbulent conditions can enhance the rate of mixing between the jet of fuel 185 and the drawn charge-gas, wherein the degree of mixing of the fuel 185 and charge-gas in the bore 153 can be greater than a degree of mixing that would occur in a conventional configuration wherein the jet of fuel 185 was simply injected into the charge-gas filled combustion chamber 105 without passage through a duct. For the conventional configuration, the jet of fuel 185 would undergo a lesser amount of turbulent mixing with the charge-gas than is enabled by passing the jet of fuel 185 through the duct 150, per the configuration 100.

[0053] Per Fig. 3, at region 186 of the jet of fuel 185, the jet of fuel 185 comprises a high volume of fuel-rich mixture, while at the region 187 of the jet of fuel 185, the jet of fuel 185 has undergone mixing with the drawn-in charge-gas resulting in a locally more premixed mixture at region 187 compared to the fuel-rich mixture at region 186. Hence, per the configuration 100 presented in Figs. 1-4, a high degree of mixing between the fuel 185 and the charge-gas in the duct 150 occurs, leading to a locally premixed fuel/charge-gas mixture with a distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios, which, upon ignition and combustion of the mixture (e.g., from compression heating caused by motion of the piston 135), results in a lower quantity of soot and/or other undesirable emissions being generated than is achieved with a conventional arrangement. A "lean-enough" mixture at the region 187 can have an equivalence ratio(s) of between 0 and 2, while a "too-rich" mixture at the region 186 is a mixture having an equivalence ratio(s) greater than 2.

[0054] In an embodiment, the diameter D2 of the bore 153 of the duct 150 can be greater than the diameter D3 of the respective opening 146 to which the first end 157 of the duct 150 is proximate. For example D2 can be about 2 times larger than D3, D2 can be about 50 times larger than D3, D2 can have a diameter that is any magnitude greater than D3, e.g., a magnitude selected in the range of about 2 times larger than D3 through to a value of 50 times larger than D3, etc.

[0055] As shown in Fig. 3, the duct(s) 150 can be aligned relative to the flame deck surface 120, with an alignment of θ° between the duct 150 and the flame deck surface 120. Θ can be of any desired value, ranging from 0° (e.g., the duct 150 is aligned parallel to a plane P-P formed by the flame deck surface 120) to any desired value, wherein alignment of the duct 150 can be aligned to the centerline of travel, <L, of the jet of fuel 185. In an embodiment, where the jet of fuel 185 exits a respective opening 146 of the fuel injector 140 in a direction aligned substantially parallel to the flame deck surface 120, plane P-P, the duct 150 can also be aligned substantially parallel to the plane P-P. A consideration for the alignment of the duct(s) 150 is prevention of interference with the reciprocating motion of the piston 135, the intake valves 160, and the exhaust valves 165, e.g., the duct(s) 150 should be aligned such that it does not come into contact with the piston crown 130, the intake valves 160, or the exhaust valves 165.

[0056] Potential issues regarding the implementation of ducted fuel injection

(DFI) include: a) deposit buildup on the duct preventing proper operation, and b) a cold duct causing an excessively long ignition delay of the fuel/charge-gas mixture passing through the duct. Fig. 5 illustrates a sectional view of a fuel duct 500 that is electrically heated, wherein electrical current is applied to the duct, causing the duct to be heated to a desired temperature. As further described, the fuel duct 500 can be utilized in combination with other configurations presented herein (e.g., any of the various configurations shown in Figs. 7A-C, 8A-C, 9A-B, 10A-D, 11A-B, and 17- 22), for example, the fuel duct 500 can be utilized with or without the catalytic material present on a portion of the duct surface (per Fig. 18).

[0057] The fuel duct 500 comprises an outer wall 510 (sleeve, shroud, e.g., having an outer diameter Dl), and inner element 520 (inner layer, having a bore with diameter D2), and an electrical connector 530, wherein the electrical connector 530 can enter the wall 510 via a hole 540 and further, the electrical connecter 530 can be encapsulated in a non-conductive shroud 550. In an embodiment, the electrical connector 530 can be a wire, or similar component. In a further embodiment, the element 520 can be conductive, such that with an electrical current applied to the electrical connector 530 and flowing through the element 520, the element 520 is heated and any fuel/charge-gas mixture passing through the fuel duct 500 is heated. The heating of the element 520 and the fuel can facilitate:

[0058] a) thermophoretic forces to slow or prevent particulate deposition on the duct 500;

[0059] b) combustion of any particulate matter and/or hydrocarbons that had previously been deposited on the duct 500; and/or

[0060] c) a shorter ignition delay of the fuel/charge-gas mixture passing through the duct 500.

[0061] The element 520 can be fabricated from an electrically conductive material (such as a metal, nichrome, copper, steel, etc.) or a semiconductor material (such as silicon carbide) which is heated by the conversion of electrical energy to thermal energy as the electric current passes through the element 520. The wall 510 and the shroud 550 can be formed from any suitable non-conductor, such as a ceramic, MACOR, an insulator material, etc.

[0062] A plurality of ducts 500A-n can be utilized (where n is a positive integer), wherein each duct in the plurality of ducts 500A-n can be configured such that electrical current could flow into the duct 500 (e.g., via electrical connector 530) from an electrical power supply (e.g., a battery connected to an alternator) at a first location (at first hole 540) and out of the duct 500 at a second location, e.g., via electrical connector 560 located at second hole 570, wherein the electrical connector

560 can be encapsulated in a non-conductive shroud 580, and the first hole 540 and the second hole 570 are at different locations of the duct 500. Hence, a plurality of ducts 500A-n can be connected electrically in series. Alternatively, a separate electrical circuit can be utilized to provide electrical energy to each individual duct in the plurality of ducts 500 A-n. Furthermore, the size (e.g., cross sectional area) and length of the element 520 inside the duct 500 can be configured as required to facilitate heating of a portion of the duct 500, or the entire length of the duct 500, based upon a desired result to be achieved. For example, a first configuration is utilized for an application directed primarily to prevent the buildup of deposits on the duct 500, and a second configuration is utilized for an application directed primarily to shorten the ignition delay of the fuel/charge-gas mixture passing through the duct 500. In an embodiment, the duct 500 does not have to include an outer wall 510, and rather, the duct 500 can comprise only the element 520, wherein the outer surface of the element 520 is exposed to the ambient atmosphere inside the combustion chamber (e.g., inside the combustion chamber 105), e.g., the duct 500 is a coiled wire (e.g., having a coiled spring or SLINKY configuration).

[0063] Fig. 6 illustrates a configuration 600 comprising a duct located inside a combustion chamber (e.g., combustion chamber assembly 100). As shown, a duct 610 is located relative to the flame deck surface 120 of the cylinder head 125, the injector 140, and the inlet valve(s) 160 or exhaust valve(s) 165, such that the jet of fuel 185 exits from the opening 146 and passes through the bore 153 of the duct 610. Per Fig. 5, duct 610 is energized by electrical energy flowing through the electrical connector 530, wherein the electrical connecter 530 can be encapsulated in a non- conductive shroud 550. As shown, the electrical connecter 530 and non-conductive shroud 550 are located in the cylinder head 125. In the configuration shown in Fig. 6, rather than having an element 520 (e.g., a metal coil), the duct 610 has an outer wall 510 and an inner layer 620 (e.g., layer 620 is a tube within a tubular wall 510), wherein the inner layer 620 can comprise a conductor or semiconductor, which upon passage of an electrical current through the inner layer 620, via the electrical connector 530 and a second electrical connector 625, the inner layer is heated, facilitating ignition of the jet of fuel 185. The second electrical connector 625 electrically couples the inner layer to the flame deck surface 120, which can act as ground, such that current flows through the inner layer. In another exemplary embodiment, the second electrical connector 625 electrically couples the inner layer to some other grounded element. Further, the electrical connector may be a structural element that is configured to hold the duct 610 stationary relative to the cylinder head 125 (e.g., an electrically conductive duct holder). Further, the duct 610 can optionally include an electrically insulating layer 627 on the inner diameter of the duct 610 (e.g., on the inner diameter of the inner layer 620), which may prevent arcs from occurring in the bore 153 and/or may prevent short circuits from occurring when the fuel travelling through the bore 153 is electrically conductive. Based upon the configuration of the duct 610 (and duct 500), ignition of the jet of fuel 185 can occur within the bore 153 of the duct 610, as the fuel exits the duct 610 via the opening 158, or as a precursor to ignition within the combustion chamber, such as by a spark plug, a glow plug, compression ignition, etc. Any suitable manufacturing technology can be utilized to fabricate the duct 610 (and duct 500), for example, the tube forming the inner wall 620 can be press fit into the tube comprising the outer wall. A battery 630 can be utilized to supply electrical energy to the layer 620, e.g., via the connector 530.

[0064] Operation of the duct 610 (and duct 500) can be controlled by a controller 640, wherein the controller 640 can control the timing and duration of electrical energy being supplied from the battery 630 to the duct, and also the magnitude of electrical energy supplied by the battery 630. For example, prior to an engine being started (prior to ignition), the controller 640 can control operation of the battery 630 to release energy to the layer 620 to facilitate heating of the duct 610 which then heats the jet of fuel 185 as it passes through the duct 610, e.g., to allow for cold starting of an engine. In another example, rather than the duct 610 being constantly supplied with electrical energy, the controller 640 can control the battery 630 to supply electrical energy in a pulsed manner, wherein the pulsing of the electrical energy causes the duct 610 to be heated in a pulsed manner, wherein the pulsing can be optimized to mitigate particulate deposition on the duct 610, or to improve ignition of fuel in the combustion chamber. In an embodiment, the controller 640 can receive ignition data (timing data) from one or more components associated with the operation of the engine (e.g., the controller 640 is communicatively coupled to a computer utilized by the engine ignition system), wherein the controller 640 can utilize the ignition data to control release of electrical energy from the battery 630 to the layer 620 (and element 520). The controller 640 can comprise a processor, memory configured to store computer instructions that are executable by the processor, a data store, etc., as required to facilitate operation of the controller 640 to control operation of the battery 630 and heating of the duct 610. The electrical charge supplied by the battery can be of any suitable magnitude to facilitate operation of the duct 610 (and duct 500), for example, the electrical charge supplied to the layer 620 by the battery can be 20 volts.

[0065] While Fig. 4 illustrates the duct 150 as having a cylindrical form with the external surface 155 of the wall 152 being parallel to the internal surface 154 (e.g., bore 153 has a constant diameter D2 throughout), the duct 150 can be formed with any desired section. For example, in configuration 700, as illustrated in Fig. 7A, a duct 710 can be formed having an external wall 715 that is tapered such that a first opening 720 (e.g., an inlet) at a first end of the duct 700 has a diameter D4 which is different to a diameter D5 of a second opening 730 (e.g., an outlet) at a second end of the duct 710. The configuration 700 can be considered to be a hollow frustum of a right circular cone. In another configuration 750, as illustrated in Fig. 7B, a duct 760 can be formed having an external wall 765 with an "hourglass" profile, wherein a central portion can have a narrower diameter, D6, than diameters D7 (first opening) and D8 (second opening) of the respective first end and second end of the duct 760. It is to be appreciated that the diameter D7 of the first opening can have the same diameter as the diameter D8 of the second opening, or D7 > D8, or D7 < D8. In addition, while, for simplicity of illustration, the duct wall profiles shown in Figs. 7A- C comprise straight lines, it is to be appreciated that these wall profiles can be produced from piecewise curved lines as well. In a further configuration 770, as illustrated in Fig. 7C, a duct 780 can be formed having an external wall 785 with a "funnel-shaped" profile, wherein a central portion having a diameter D9 is the same as a diameter D10 at a first opening of a first end of the duct 780, while diameter D9 is less than a diameter Dl 1 of a second opening at a second end of the duct 780. Alternatively, the duct 780 can be turned around relative to the opening 146 such that the opening having diameter Dl l can be located at the opening 146 such that passage of the fuel 185 is constricted before emerging from the opening having diameter D10. While not described herein, it is to be appreciated that other duct profiles can be utilized in accordance with one or more embodiments presented herein.

[0066] Further, as shown in Figs. 8A-C, the tubular wall of a duct can have at least one hole(s) (perforation(s), aperture(s), opening(s), orifice(s), slot(s)) formed therein to enable ingress of charge-gas into the duct during passage of fuel through the duct. Per Fig. 8 A, configuration 800, a duct 810 is illustrated, wherein the duct 810 has been fabricated with a plurality of holes, Hi-H n , formed in a side of the duct 810 and extending through wall 820 and into internal bore 830. It is to be appreciated that while Fig. 8 A presents five holes Hi-H n formed into the wall 820 of the duct 810, any number of holes and respective placement can be utilized to enable drawing in charge-gas and subsequent mixing of the charge-gas with fuel passing through the duct 810. The holes Hi-H n can be formed with any suitable fabrication technology, e.g., conventional drilling, laser drilling, electrical discharge machining (EDM), etc.

[0067] Fig. 8B, configuration 801, is a sectional view of duct 810 illustrating a jet of fuel 885 being injected from opening 146, at injector tip 145, and through the bore 830 of the duct 810. The jet of fuel 885 initially comprises a fuel-rich region 887. However, as charge-gas is drawn into the bore 830, mixing of the fuel 885 and the charge-gas occurs (as previously described) such that region 888 comprises a locally premixed mixture with a distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios where, during subsequent combustion, the "lean-enough" mixture undergoes combustion with minimal or no generation of soot and/or other undesirable emissions. As shown, for configuration 801, there is no separation (e.g., no gap, G) between a first end 811 of the duct 810 and the tip 145; the first end 811 of the duct 810 abuts the opening 146. For configuration 801, while ingress of charge-gas into the bore 830 is precluded by the lack of a gap between the first end 811 of the duct 810 and the tip 145, the incorporation of holes Hi-H n into the duct 810 enables charge-gas to be drawn through the holes Hi-H n into the bore 830 to enable formation of a locally premixed jet 885. While the duct 810 is illustrated as being perpendicularly aligned (e.g., parallel to <L) to the tip 145, the duct 810 can be positioned at any angle relative to the tip 145 (and the opening 146) to enable flow of the jet of fuel 885 through the duct 810.

[0068] Fig. 8C presents an alternative configuration 802, wherein a first end

811 of the duct 810 is located proximate to the tip 145 and the opening 146, with a gap G separating the first end 811 of the duct 810 from the tip 145. The gap G enables further charge-gas to be drawn into the duct 810 to supplement charge-gas being drawn into the bore 830 via the holes, Hi-H n .

[0069] Per the various embodiments herein, a plurality of ducts can be located proximate to the injector tip 145, whereby the plurality of ducts can be attached to the injector tip 145, and the injector tip 145 and duct(s) assembly can be positioned in the cylinder head 125/flame deck surface 120 to form the combustion chamber. For example, per configuration 900 illustrated in Figs. 9A and 9B, the duct(s) 150 can be attached to a sleeve 910 (shroud), or similar structure, which can be incorporated with the injector 140, into a support block 920. The cylinder head 125 can include an opening 930, wherein the support block 920, injector 140, sleeve 910 and duct(s) 150 are positioned relative to the flame deck surface 120 (e.g., plane P-P), per Fig. 9B, to enable location of the injector 140 and duct(s) 150 to form the combustion chamber 105, wherein the respective ducts 150 can be located with respect to the respective openings 146 of the injector 140 to enable passage of a jet of fuel (e.g., jet of fuel 185) through the bore 153.

[0070] In another embodiment, the injector tip can already be located at the flame deck and the duct(s) can be subsequently attached to the injector tip. As shown in Figs. 10A and 10B, configuration 1000, a locator ring 1010 has a plurality of ducts 150 attached thereto. The locator ring 1010 can include a means for attaching the locator ring 1010; for example, an inner surface 1015 of the locator ring 1010 can be threaded, with the ducts 150 respectively attached by connectors 1017. As shown in Fig. IOC, configuration 1050, the locator ring 1010 and ducts 150 can be assembled in combination with an injector 140. A sleeve 1020, or similar structure, having the injector 140 incorporated therein, can further comprise an attachment means which compliments the attachment mechanism of the locator ring 1010. For example, the sleeve 1020 can include a threaded end 1025 onto which the locator ring 1010 can be threaded, wherein the respective ducts 150 can be located with respect to the respective openings 146 of the injector 140 to enable passage of a jet of fuel (e.g., jet of fuel 185) through the bore 153.

[0071] It is to be appreciated that the number of ducts 150 to be arranged around an injector tip 145 can be of any desired number, N (e.g., in accord with a number of openings 146 in a tip 145), where N is a positive integer. Hence, while Fig 2 illustrates a configuration 200 comprising six ducts 150, Figs. 10A and 10B illustrate a configuration 1000 comprising three ducts 150, which are positioned relative to three openings 146 at the injector tip 145.

[0072] In a further embodiment, the duct(s) can be attached to the flame deck, either directly, or via a locator ring or other mechanism for attachment. As shown in Fig. 10D, configuration 1060, a locator ring 1070 has a plurality of ducts 150 attached thereto. The locator ring 1070 can include a means for attaching the locator ring 1070; for example, an outer surface of the locator ring 1070 can be threaded, with the ducts 150 respectively attached by connectors 1017. The threaded outer surface can be attached to a thread extending (e.g., at location 1075) into the flame deck surface 120 to facilitate location of the respective ducts 150 relative to the respective openings 146 in the tip 145 of the injector 140. It is to be appreciated that other methods of attaching the ducts 150 to the flame deck can be utilized. In an example, the ducts 150 can be individually attached to the flame deck 120, e.g., by using screws. In another example, the locator ring 1010 can be attached, e.g., by a weld, to the flame deck 120 at locations 1075.

[0073] In an aspect, to maximize mixing of fuel and charge-gas in a duct bore it may be beneficial to have the direction of emission of the fuel from an opening in a fuel injector to be accurately co-aligned with the centerline of the bore. To achieve such accurate co-alignment, a bore can be utilized to aid formation of an opening. Such an approach is shown in Figs. 11A and 11B. As illustrated in Fig. 11 A, a duct 150 is positioned (e.g., as described with reference to Figs. 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B, IOC) such that a first end 157 of the duct 150 abuts (e.g., there is no gap, G) an injector tip 145. The duct 150 is aligned at a desired angle Θ 0 with reference to a plane P-P of a flame deck surface 120 and a desired centerline of travel, <L, along which a jet of fuel (e.g., fuel 185, 885) will travel.

[0074] With the duct 150 positioned as desired, an opening 146 can be formed at the tip 145. In an embodiment, the opening 146 can be formed by electrical discharge machining (EDM), however, it is to be appreciated that any suitable fabrication technology can be utilized to form the opening 146. As shown, the duct 150 can be utilized to enable the EDM operation to be performed at desired angle, e.g., the duct 150 can be utilized to guide a tool piece (e.g., an EDM electrode) at an angle to enable formation of the opening 146 having an alignment to enable the jet of fuel to flow in the direction of the centerline of travel, <L. It is to be appreciated that while Figs. 11A and 11B show duct 150 abutting the injector tip 145, and further, having no openings along the length of the duct 150, other arrangements (e.g., any of the various configurations shown in Figs. 1-lOC) can be utilized. For example, the first end 157 of the duct 150 can be positioned proximate to the injector tip 145, e.g., with a gap G therebetween. In a further example, the duct 150 can include one or more holes along its length (e.g., holes Hi - H n ). In another example, the duct(s) 150 can be attached proximate to the injector tip 145 per either of configurations 900 or 1050. [0075] The duct(s) 150 can be formed from any material suitable for application in a combustion chamber, e.g., a metallic-containing material such as steel, INCONEL, HASTELLOY, etc., a ceramic-containing material, etc.

[0076] It is to be appreciated that the various embodiments presented herein are applicable to any type of fuel and an oxidizer (e.g., oxygen), where such fuels can include diesel, jet fuel, gasoline, crude or refined petroleum, petroleum distillates, hydrocarbons (e.g., normal, branched, or cyclic alkanes, aromatics), oxygenates (e.g., alcohols, esters, ethers, ketones), compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, biofuel, biodiesel, bioethanol, synthetic fuel, hydrogen, ammonia, etc., or mixtures thereof.

[0077] Further, the various embodiments presented herein have been described with reference to a compression-ignition engine (e.g., a diesel engine), however, the embodiments are applicable to any combustion technology such as a direct injection engine, other compression-ignition engines, a spark ignition engine, a gas turbine engine, an industrial boiler, any combustion driven system, etc.

[0078] Furthermore, as well as reducing generation of soot, the various embodiments presented herein can also lower the emissions of other undesired combustion products. For example, if a locally premixed mixture with the correct distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios is prepared at or downstream of the exit of the bore of a duct (e.g., bore 153 of duct 150) during combustion, emissions of nitric oxide (NO), other compounds comprising nitrogen and oxygen, unburned hydrocarbons (HC), and/or carbon monoxide (CO).

[0079] Figs. 12-16 and 23 illustrate exemplary methodologies relating to forming a locally premixed mixture with a distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios to minimize generation of soot and/or other undesirable emissions formed during combustion. While the methodologies are shown and described as being a series of acts that are performed in a sequence, it is to be understood and appreciated that the methodologies are not limited by the order of the sequence. For example, some acts can occur in a different order than what is described herein. In addition, an act can occur concurrently with another act. Further, in some instances, not all acts may be required to implement the methodologies described herein.

[0080] Fig. 12 illustrates a methodology 1200 for increasing mixing of a fuel prior to combustion. At 1210, a duct is located and/or aligned proximate to an orifice in a tip of a fuel injector. The duct can be a hollow tube, with an internal bore formed by an external wall. As previously described, by directing fuel through the internal bore of the duct, charge-gas is drawn into the duct with turbulent mixing occurring to cause generation of a locally premixed mixture exiting the duct that forms minimal or no soot and/or other undesired emissions during combustion. As further mentioned above, a number of holes can be formed in the external wall to facilitate drawing in further charge-gas from the combustion chamber to facilitate formation of a locally premixed mixture with an improved distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios.

[0081] At 1220, fuel can be injected by the fuel injector, with the fuel passing through the orifice and into the bore of the duct. Passage of the fuel through the duct causes the fuel to mix with charge-gas drawn into the bore to enable the level of mixing to form the desired locally premixed mixture with an improved distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios.

[0082] At 1230, the locally premixed mixture with an improved distribution of fuel to charge-gas ratios exiting the duct can undergo ignition as a function of operation of the combustion engine. Ignition of the locally premixed mixture results in negligible or no soot being formed, as compared with the larger quantities of undesirable emissions being formed from combustion of a "too-rich" mixture utilized in a conventional combustion engine or device.

[0083] Fig. 13 illustrates a methodology 1300 for locating at least one duct at a fuel injector for incorporation into a combustion chamber. At 1310, at least one duct can be located proximate to an opening at a tip of a fuel injector. In an embodiment, the fuel injector can be placed in a sleeve to form an assembly such that a tip of a fuel injector protrudes from a first end of the sleeve. The at least one duct can be attached to the first end of the sleeve such that the at least one duct is aligned so that when a jet of fuel passes through a respective opening in the fuel injector, the jet of fuel passes through a bore in the duct. The at least one duct can be attached to the end of the first sleeve by any suitable technique, e.g., welding, mechanical attachment, etc.

[0084] At 1320, the assembly comprising the fuel injector, sleeve, and at least one duct can be placed in an opening in the cylinder head to enable the tip of the fuel injector and the at least one duct to be positioned, as desired, in relation to a plane P-P of a flame deck surface of a cylinder head, which further forms a portion of a combustion chamber.

[0085] Fig. 14 illustrates a methodology 1400 for locating at least one duct on a fuel injector incorporated into a combustion chamber. At 1410, a fuel injector can be placed in an opening in a cylinder head to enable a tip of the fuel injector to be positioned, as desired, in relation to a plane P-P of a flame deck surface of the cylinder head. The cylinder head, in combination with a piston crown and a wall of a cylinder bore, forms a combustion chamber.

[0086] At 1420, at least one duct can be attached to, or proximate to, the tip of the fuel injector such that the at least one duct can be located and/or aligned with respect to a direction of travel of fuel injected from each opening in the tip of the fuel injector with respect to each aligned duct.

[0087] Fig. 15 illustrates a methodology 1500 for utilizing a duct to guide formation of an opening in a tip of a fuel injector. At 1510, a duct is located at a tip of a fuel injector, wherein the duct can be positioned to abut the tip, or positioned with a gap G between a first (proximate) end of the duct. The duct can be aligned in accordance with a direction for which fuel is to be ejected from the fuel injector into a combustion chamber, e.g., the duct is aligned at an angle of Θ 0 with reference to a plane P-P of a flame deck surface of the combustion chamber.

[0088] At 1520, an opening can be formed in the tip of the fuel injector. As previously described, the duct can be utilized to guide formation of the opening. For example, if the opening is to be formed by EDM, the bore of the duct can be utilized to guide an EDM electrode to a point on the tip of the fuel injector at which the opening is to be formed. Formation of the opening can subsequently occur per standard EDM procedure(s). Accordingly, the opening is formed at a desired location, e.g., centrally placed relative to the center of a circle forming a profile of the bore of the duct. Also, the walls of the opening can be aligned, e.g., parallel to the centerline <L, to enable the jet of fuel being injected along the bore of the duct to be located centrally within the bore to maximize mixing between the fuel and the charge- gas drawn in from the combustion chamber.

[0089] Fig. 16 illustrates a methodology 1600 for fabricating a duct such that it can be heated, and further for locating at least one duct into a combustion chamber to ignite a jet of fuel. At 1610, a duct can be fabricated such that the duct comprises an electrically conductive or semi-conductor inner element and possibly an exterior wall made from an insulator material, wherein the inner element heats up when electrical energy is applied (flows through) to the element. The element is connected to an electrical connector to facilitate application of electrical energy to the element during operation of an engine which includes the combustion chamber.

[0090] At 1620, to facilitate placement of one or more ducts in a combustion chamber, at least one opening can be formed (e.g., in the cylinder head) to enable placement of the electrical connector.

[0091] At 1630, one or more ducts are located in the combustion chamber, wherein the duct is aligned with an opening of a fuel injector to facilitate passage of a jet of fuel through the duct.

[0092] At 1640, electrical energy is applied to the element, wherein resistance to flow of the electrical energy causes the electrical energy to be converted to heat energy, which causes the element and the duct to be heated. Accordingly, as a jet of fuel passes through the duct, the jet of fuel is heated by the heat emanating from the duct. By warming the jet of fuel, ignition of the jet of fuel can occur sooner than for a jet of fuel that is at a lower temperature, and further, particulate deposition on the duct can be reduced or prevented.

[0093] Experiments were conducted relating to measurement of soot incandescence, which is indicative of whether LLFC was achieved when ducts were employed to inject fuel into a combustion chamber. In the experiments, LLFC was achieved, e.g., chemical reactions that did not form soot were sustained throughout the combustion event. OH* chemiluminescence was utilized to measure a lift-off length of a flame (e.g., axial distance between a fuel injector opening (orifice) and an autoignition zone). OH* is created when high-temperature chemical reactions are occurring inside an engine, and its most upstream location indicates the axial distance from the injector to where the fuel starts to burn, e.g., the lift-off length.

[0094] Conditions during the experiments are presented in Table 1.

950 K 6.0 MPa 22.8 21% 0.090 mm 150 MPa n- kg/m 3 dodecane

Table 1: Operating conditions of a combustion chamber

[0095] A baseline freely propagating jet ("free-jet") flame exhibiting high soot incandescence signal saturation was observed, indicating that a significant amount of soot was produced without a duct in position. Next, the combustion of ducted jets was studied. A plurality of duct diameters and duct lengths were tested, including duct inside diameters of about 3 mm, about 5 mm, and about 7 mm, and duct lengths of about 7 mm, about 14 mm, and about 21 mm.

[0096] Such a ducted jet experiment was subsequently conducted, using identical imaging conditions and similar operating conditions as those referenced above for the free jet, where a 3 mm inside diameter x 14 mm long untapered steel duct was positioned about 2 mm downstream (e.g., gap G = about 2 mm) from the injector. The soot incandescence signal exhibited almost no saturation, which

indicates that minimal, if any, soot was produced. The post-duct flame did not spread out as wide as the free-jet flame in the baseline experiment, as it moved axially across the combustion chamber. The combustion flame centered about the centerline, <L, resulted from a combination of the mixing caused by the duct (as previously

described) and further, as a function of heat transfer to the duct. The duct was

operating at a temperature lower than the ambient conditions in the combustion

chamber (e.g., 950 K), and accordingly, the duct allowed the injected fuel to travel in a lower temperature environment (e.g., within the bore of the duct) than would be experienced in a free jet flame.

[0097] A degree of turbulence generated during flow of the fuel through the duct was computed by determining a Reynolds number (Re) for conditions within the bore of the duct. Per Eqn. 1 :

Re = - p , Eqn. 1 where p is the ambient density, V is velocity, L is the duct diameter, and μ is the dynamic viscosity. The velocity V was calculated per Eqn. 2:

2(Pinj- Pamb)

V = Eqn. 2

Pf where pinj is the fuel-injection pressure, p am b is the ambient pressure, and pj is the density of the fuel. Application of the operating conditions to Eqns. 1 and 2, generated Reynolds numbers of at least l lO 4 , indicating that turbulent conditions exist within the duct.

[0098] As previously mentioned, turbulent flow of a jet of fuel 185 through a duct 150 causes the jet of fuel 185 to mix with charge-gas that was drawn in from the outside of the duct 150 (e.g., through a gap G, and/or holes Hi-H n ), e.g., as a result of low local pressures in the vicinity of the duct entrance that are established by the high velocity of the injected jet of fuel 185. The turbulent mixing rate established within the duct 150 can be considered to be a function of the velocity gradients within the duct, which will be roughly proportional to the centerline fluid velocity at a given axial position divided by the duct diameter at the given axial position.

[0099] The various embodiments presented herein can be utilized in a number of combustion device applications, wherein the combustion devices can include compression-ignition (CI) reciprocating engines, spark-ignition (SI) reciprocating engines, gas-turbine (GT) engines, burners and boilers, wellhead/refinery flaring, etc.

[00100] Fig. 17 presents a schematic 1700 of ignition of a fuel and charge-gas mixture. As shown in Fig. 17, a fuel injector 1710 is axially aligned along axis 1715 with a duct 1720, wherein, fuel 1730 is mixed with charge gas CG to form a fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740. A first end (proximate end) 1750 of the duct 1720 is located proximate to the fuel injector 1710, and a second end (distal end) 1760 of the duct 1720 is distally located from the fuel injector 1710. The fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 is subsequently discharged from the distal end 1760 into a combustion chamber (per the various embodiments presented herein). The fuel/charge-gas mixture undergoes ignition at a location 1770 to form a flame 1780, wherein the position of location 1770 depends upon such factors as configuration of a combustion chamber in which the duct is located, fuel type, ignition technology being utilized (e.g., ignition based upon glow plug, spark plug, compression), etc., wherein the location 1770 is at a distance D12 from the distal end 1760 of the duct 1720. As previously described, placement of the duct 1720 around a jet of fuel 1730 can be utilized to enhance and optimize the degree of fuel/oxidizer mixing prior to ignition, yielding lower emissions, higher combustion efficiencies, and improved flame stability. In an aspect, the ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 may occur at a moment that is later than desired for operation of a particular engine in which the ducted fuel injection technology is being utilized. In an exemplary embodiment, delayed ignition can lead to a deleterious operational effect in the engine, e.g., increased noise compared with an engine that is not utilizing ducted fuel injection technology. A flame holder 1775 can be utilized as part of the system presented in Fig. 17.

[00101] As previously described, the various embodiments presented herein can be utilized for CI reciprocating engines, wherein a duct(s) (e.g., duct 150, 1720) can be positioned/aligned such that a fuel to charge-gas mixture having an

equivalence ratio of < 2 is achieved at ignition, to prevent soot formation. Further, for a duct configuration having a fuel/charge-gas mixture ratio of < 1, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NO x ) may also be lowered, and to the extent that the duct (e.g., duct 150, 1720) prevents over-mixing from occurring on the sides of the jet of fuel (e.g., jet of fuel 185, 1730), HC and CO emissions may be lowered as well. The lower soot, HC, and CO emissions correspond to higher combustion efficiencies. As described (e.g., per Fig. 2), one or more fuel ducts can be arranged within the combustion chamber to enhance CI engine performance and reduce the need for expensive exhaust-gas aftertreatment systems. The various embodiments can be applied to all size classes of CI engines fueled by, for example, liquid fuel(s), gaseous fuel(s), or both.

[00102] For an SI reciprocating engine, in an exemplary configuration, a duct (e.g., duct 150, 1720) can be positioned such that a directly injected jet of fuel (e.g., jet of fuel 185, 1730) initially passes through the duct, and subsequently over a fuel ignitor downstream, such that the igniting fuel/charge-gas mixture has an equivalence ratio of < 2, to prevent soot formation. If the duct can be configured such that the igniting fuel/charge-gas mixture has an equivalence ratio of < 1, NO x emissions also will be lowered, and to the extent that the duct prevents over-mixing from occurring on the sides of the jet, HC and CO emissions will be lowered as well. The lower soot, HC, and CO emissions correspond to higher combustion efficiencies, and passively or actively tailoring the duct configuration to produce a narrow range of optimal equivalence ratios at the ignitor can reduce combustion cyclic variability. One or more ducts can be arranged within the combustion chamber to enhance SI engine performance and reduce the need for expensive exhaust-gas aftertreatment systems. Such a configuration can be applied to all size classes of SI engines fueled by, for example, liquid fuel(s), gaseous fuel(s), or both. [00103] For a GT reciprocating engine, in an exemplary configuration, a duct (e.g., duct 150, 1720) can be positioned such that a directly injected jet of fuel (e.g., jet of fuel 185, 1730) initially passes through the duct, and subsequently over an ignitor and/or flame-holder downstream (e.g., 1775), such that the igniting fuel/charge-gas mixture has an equivalence ratio of < 1, to prevent soot formation, lower NOx emissions, and prevent the over-mixing that leads to HC and CO emissions. The lower soot, HC, and CO emissions correspond to higher combustion efficiencies, and passively or actively tailoring the duct configuration can be used to enhance flame stability. One or more ducts can be arranged within the combustor to enhance GT engine performance and reduce exhaust emissions. Such a configuration can be applied to all size classes of mobile and stationary GT engines fueled by, for example, liquid fuel(s), gaseous fuel(s), or both.

[00104] For a burner and/or boiler application, in an exemplary configuration, a duct (e.g., duct 150, 1720) can be positioned such that a directly injected jet of fuel (e.g., jet of fuel 185, 1730) initially passes through the duct, and subsequently over an ignitor and/or flame-holder downstream (e.g., 1775), such that the igniting fuel/air mixture has the desired equivalence ratio. Passively or actively tailoring the duct configuration can be used to enhance performance and flame stability. Fuel-rich mixtures within a narrow range of stoichiometry can be utilized to maximize radiative heat transfer without producing excessive soot emissions, whereas fuel-lean mixtures can be used to eliminate soot formation, lower NO x emissions, and to the extent that the duct prevents over-mixing from occurring on the sides of the jet of fuel, HC and CO emissions may be lowered as well. The lower soot, HC, and CO emissions correspond to higher combustion efficiencies. One or more ducts can be arranged within the burner system to enhance performance and/or reduce the need for expensive exhaust-gas after-treatment systems. Such a configuration can be applied to all size classes of industrial burners and boilers fueled by, for example, liquid fuel(s), gaseous fuel(s), or both.

[00105] A ducted ignition component can form part of a combustion device utilized in apparatus configured to burn flammable gases and other materials in a gas flare operation, e.g., a wellhead gas flare, a refinery gas flare. For a wellhead/refinery flaring application, in an exemplary configuration, a duct (e.g., duct 150, 1720) can be positioned such that a directly injected jet of flare gas (e.g., jet of fuel 185, 1730) initially passes through the duct, and subsequently over an ignitor and/or flame-holder downstream, such that the igniting fuel/air mixture has an equivalence ratio of < 1, to prevent soot formation, lower NO x emissions, and prevent the over-mixing that leads to HC and CO emissions. Passively or actively tailoring the duct configuration can be utilized to enhance flame stability. Such a configuration can be applied to all sizes of flaring operations.

[00106] As described herein, ducted fuel injection (DFI) can be effective at enhancing the extent of fuel/charge-gas premixing prior to ignition in directly injected fuel jets. In an embodiment, a catalytic material can be applied to one or more surfaces (e.g., the inside surfaces) of a duct and/or another feature (e.g., a ring or rods) that may be attached to the duct and/or positioned upstream or downstream of the duct. The catalytic material can be configured to shorten the ignition delay of a partially premixed mixture formed within and downstream of the duct to reduce the magnitude of the heat released during an initial premixed autoignition event, thereby lowering the noise produced by the CI engine (or other combustion device) in which the duct is used. For some applications and/or operating conditions, the mixture near the end (e.g., at opening 158) of the duct may require ignition assistance for optimal combustion-system performance. This might occur, for example, if the autoignition delay is too long or if the cyclic variability is too large under the given conditions without ignition assist. Potential ignition-assist technologies that can be coupled with DFI to enhance performance include the catalytic material, a hot surface (e.g., glow plug), a spark, plasma (thermal or non-equilibrium), laser ignition, etc., wherein an ignition assist component can be a glow plug, a spark plug, a plasma torch, a laser emitting a focused laser beam, etc. Further, an ignition assist component can be fabricated with a layer of catalytic material located thereon, wherein the ignition assist component can be located with respect to the emission of the fuel/charge-gas mixture from a duct (e.g., in a flow path of the fuel/charge-gas mixture), wherein reaction of the fuel/charge-gas mixture facilitated by the catalytic material promotes ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture.

[00107] In an embodiment, an ignition assist component can include material for catalytic ignition assist, wherein the catalytic ignition assist can be a

straightforward implementation, particularly in situations with multiple ducts. The catalytic ignition assist can be a catalytic material facilitating a complete, passive solution, e.g., the catalytic ignition assist does not require modifications to the combustion system beyond the installation of the catalytic components themselves. Such unnecessary modifications could include electrical systems, cabling, and/or windows, and these are in addition to the ignition-assist devices themselves (e.g., glow plugs, spark plugs, plasma generators, or lasers). Components comprising catalytic material can be placed near the ends of multiple ducts, whereas application of multiple hot-surface, spark, plasma, or laser ignition-assist devices within a combustion system may be inherently complex and/or expensive.

[00108] In an embodiment, a layer (coating) of catalytic material can be applied to one or more surfaces of a duct (e.g., the inner-diameter surface of the duct). Fig. 18, configuration 1800, illustrates an exemplary configuration, wherein a layer of catalytic material 1810 has been applied to a duct 1820 (e.g., similar to duct 1720). In an embodiment, the layer of catalytic material 1810 is applied to a downstream (distal) end 1825 of the duct 1820. The catalytic material 1810 can comprise any suitable material, e.g., a platinum-group metal, an ignition-promoting material, in pure form, or retained in a binder or other matrix. The catalytic material 1810 can be incorporated into the duct 1820 during manufacture, or it can be applied to the duct 1820 after manufacture, e.g., by plasma-spray deposition, as a washcoat, etc. The interaction of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 with the catalytic material 1810 can function to shorten an ignition delay of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 as a result of the catalytic material 1810 causing a chemical reaction(s) leading to ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 occurring earlier than in a system where no catalytic ignition assist was being utilized, e.g., as shown in Fig. 18, wherein ignition with the catalytic ignition assist occurs at region 1830 (a distance D13 from the distal end 1825 of the duct 1820) with a flame 1840 occurring thereafter, while ignition in a non- catalytic ignition assist system occurs (is delayed) at location 1770 (a distance D12 from the distal end 1825 of the duct 1820) with a flame 1780 occurring as indicated by the dashed lines. The catalytic coating 1810 can also help prevent carbonaceous deposits from forming on and/or within any coated parts, as the catalytic coating 1810 can assist in burning off such deposits.

[00109] Fig. 19, configuration 1900, illustrates another embodiment of utilizing a catalytic ignition-assist system wherein an annulus 1910 having a layer of catalytic material 1915 formed thereon is positioned such that its axis of radial symmetry is co- linear with the axis of a duct 1920, as depicted by the line 1930. In an embodiment, the layer of catalytic material 1915 can be located on an inner surface (e.g., inner concentric surface, surface of an inner ring forming the annulus 1910) such that as the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 passes through the inner ring, the catalytic material 1915 facilitates reactions within the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740. As shown in Fig. 19, the annulus 1910 can be positioned at a distance D14 from a downstream end 1925 of the duct 1920, wherein, owing to the ignition being promoted by the catalytic material layer 1915 located on the annulus 1910, ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 occurs at region 1830 that is located closer to the duct 1920 than the position 1770 at which ignition of the non-catalytic ignition assist system occurs, as shown by the differences in distance D15 and D12, D15 < D12. The annulus 1910 can be fabricated from a metallic-containing material such as steel, INCONEL, HASTELLOY, etc., a ceramic-containing material, etc.

[00110] Fig. 20, configuration 2000, illustrates a further embodiment of utilizing a catalytic ignition-assist system wherein one or more rods 2010a-n, having a layer of catalytic material formed thereon, are positioned on a duct 2020, e.g., the rods 2010a-n are located at (protruding from) the downstream end (distal end) 2025 of the duct 2020. The rods 2010a-n are respectively attached to the downstream end 2025 of the duct 2020 by a first, proximal end 2012a-n, and a second, distal end 2014a-n of each rod 2010a-n is distally located from the downstream end 2025 of the duct 2020. Interaction of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 with the catalytic material of the rods 2010a-n causes ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740. In a manner similar to the ignition depicted in Figs. 18 and 19, the ignition region 1830 occurs at a distance D16 from the downstream end 2025 of the duct 2020, wherein the distance D16 is less than the distance D12 to the ignition region 1770 at which non-catalytic assisted ignition occurs.

[00111] Another form of ignition assist is hot-surface ignition assist. In an embodiment, one or more hot-surface ignition-assist devices (e.g., glow plugs) can be located in a combustion chamber (e.g., the combustion chamber 105) to promote ignition with DFI configurations, thereby shortening the ignition delay and/or reducing a degree of variation in combustion occurring in the cyclic operation of an engine, etc. Fig. 21 presents a configuration 2100, wherein a glow plug 2110 is located downstream of the duct 2120, e.g., at the downstream end 2125 of the duct 2120. As shown, a heated tip 2130 of the glow plug 2110 is located in the flow path of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740, such that a primary axis PA of the glow plug 2110 intersects the axis 1930 of the duct 2120, with the hot glow plug end 2130 functioning as a bluff body to stabilize the flame 1840. In a manner similar to the ignition depicted in Figs. 18-20, the ignition region 1830 occurs at a distance D17 from the downstream end 2125 of the duct 2120, wherein the distance D17 is less than the distance D12 to the ignition region 1770 at which non-catalytic assisted ignition occurs. The glow plug 2110 and associated control electronics can be of any type utilized in production CI engines to assist with engine cold-starting, or can further incorporate design enhancements to improve performance of the glow plug in DFI applications.

[00112] In another embodiment, one or more spark plugs can be installed within the combustion system to promote ignition in a DFI configuration (e.g., spark ignition assist). In this embodiment, a spark plug can be positioned in a manner similar to the glow plug 2110, wherein the spark-plug gap of the spark plug is positioned relative to the duct exit in the downstream flow of the premixed gases emanating from the duct, such that the premixed gases pass through the spark gap and can be ignited by one or more properly timed spark discharges occurring at the spark gap. The spark-plug gap can be located at a similar position as the heated tip 2130 of the glow plug 2110 shown in Fig. 21, thereby facilitating ignition of the fuel/charge- gas mixture 1740 at the distance D17 from the downstream end 2125 of the duct 2120, where D17 < D12. The spark plug and associated control electronics can be of any type utilized in production SI engines, or can further incorporate design enhancements to improve performance of the spark plug in DFI applications.

[00113] In a further embodiment, one or more plasma torches can be installed within the combustion system to promote ignition in a DFI configuration (e.g., plasma ignition assist), wherein a first end of a plasma torch emits a plasma jet. In this embodiment, a plasma torch can be positioned in a manner similar to the glow plug 2110, wherein the first end of the plasma torch is positioned relative to the downstream end 2125 of the duct 2120 in the downstream flow of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740, such that the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 passes through the plasma jet and is ignited by one or more properly timed plasma jet emissions. The first end of the plasma torch can be located at the same position as the heated tip 2130 of the glow plug 2110, thereby facilitating ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 at the distance D17 from the downstream end 2125 of the duct 2120. The plasma jet can be of any suitable technology, e.g., thermal or non-equilibrium.

[00114] In a further embodiment, a focused laser beam can be installed in the combustion system to promote ignition in a DFI configuration (e.g., laser ignition assist). Fig. 22 illustrates a configuration 2200 utilizing a focused laser beam to ignite a fuel/charge-gas mixture. A laser 2210 can be located behind a window 2212, wherein the window 2212 is located in the sidewall or cylinder head 125 of a combustion chamber. The laser 2210 can be configured to emit a focused pulsed laser beam 2215 (e.g., a converging laser beam) of sufficient energy to produce a spark at a focal point 1918 of the laser (aka, the waist), creating ions and radicals that can promote ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740. As shown in Fig. 22, the pulsed laser beam 2215 would produce a spark at its waist 1918 positioned near the axis 1930 of the duct 2120 and slightly downstream of the downstream end 2125 of the duct 2120. The laser pulse(s) 2215 would be timed relative to the fuel-injection event such that ignition would be promoted. The focal point 1918 of the laser beam 2215 can be configured to occur at a similar position as the heated tip 2130 of the glow plug 2110, thereby facilitating ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 at the distance D18 from the downstream end 2125 of the duct 2120. The laser beam 2215 can be of any suitable technology, e.g., a laser diode, a neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser. A timing control component 2250 can be utilized to control operation of a fuel injector driver 2260, and can further be configured to control operation of the laser 2210 such that the pulsed laser beam 2215 can be controlled for synchronous operation with the fuel injector driver 2260 to facilitate ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture 1740 as desired, e.g., ignition occurs at the location 1830. It is to be appreciated that while not shown in Fig. 21, a timing component can be utilized to control fuel flow and operation of an ignition assist component to facilitate ignition of the respective fuel/charge-gas mixtures at the desired location with the respective ignition assist component (e.g., the glow plug 2110, the spark plug, etc.).

[00115] The respective location of the layer of catalytic material

1810/downstream end 1825 of the duct 1820, an annulus 1910 and catalytic material located thereon, respective distal ends 2014a-n of rods 2010a-n, the heated tip 2130 of the glow plug 2110, the focal point 1918 of the laser beam, etc., e.g., positions D13, D14, D15, D16, D17, and D18 can be configured to facilitate the desired location of the respective ignition region 1830. These distances will typically fall in the range from one tenth to five times the diameter D2 of the duct 150 at its downstream end 158. [00116] Fig. 23 illustrates a methodology 2300 for igniting a fuel/charge-gas mixture after the fuel/charge-gas mixture has been emitted from a duct located in a combustion chamber. At 2310, an ignition assist component is located with respect to a discharge end of a duct, wherein the duct is located and aligned proximate to a fuel jet opening. As previously described, fuel is directed through the fuel jet opening, and mixes with charge gas in the duct, whereupon the fuel/charge-gas mixture is emitted from a discharge end of the duct. The ignition assist component can comprise any suitable device, material, etc., to facilitate ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture being emitted from the discharge end of the duct, such as a glow plug, a spark plug, a laser equipped with optics to create a focused laser beam, etc. Further, a component either formed from a catalytic material, or having a layer of catalytic material located thereon, can be positioned with respect to the emission of the fuel/charge-gas mixture from the duct, wherein reaction of the fuel/charge-gas mixture facilitated by the catalytic material promotes ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture. The component can be separate from the duct (e.g., an annulus that includes the catalytic material) or a layer of the catalytic material can be applied to the duct.

[00117] At 2320, operation of the ignition assist component can be controlled to facilitate ignition of the fuel/charge-gas mixture as the fuel/charge-gas mixture is emitted from the discharge end of the duct. For example, where the ignition assist component is a laser equipped with optics to create a focused laser beam, the laser can be controlled such that it operates as a pulsed laser, emitting bursts of energy in accordance with a timing regimen at which the fuel/charge-gas mixture is emitted from the duct. In another embodiment, where the ignition assist component is a plasma torch, the operation can be controlled such that the plasma torch sequentially emits bursts of plasma synchronized with the timing of the fuel/charge-gas mixture being emitted from the duct. In a further embodiment, where the ignition assist component is a glow plug, the glow plug can be controlled such that the glow plug is continuously hot and ignites the fuel/charge-gas mixture as it is emitted from the duct.

In a further embodiment, the ignition assist component can be formed from a catalytic material that facilitates reactions within the fuel/charge-gas mixture to promote the ignition thereof. As previously mentioned, the catalytic material can be incorporated into the duct (e.g., as a layer of material, or attached thereto by rods), or the catalytic material can be located on a component that is separately located to the duct, e.g., an annulus wherein the fuel/charge-gas mixture discharges from the duct and passes through the central hole in the annulus, and the central hole has catalytic material located therein.

[00118] Referring now to Fig. 24, a high-level illustration of an exemplary computing device 2400 that can be used in accordance with the systems and methodologies disclosed herein is illustrated. For instance, the computing device 2400 can be the controller 640 which is configured to control operation of the battery 630, and further, as required, receive data (e.g., ignition data) from one or more devices that are communicatively coupled to the controller 640 and are utilized in operation and/or monitoring operation of an engine. The computing device 2400 includes at least one processor 2402 that executes instructions that are stored in a memory 2404. The instructions may be, for instance, instructions for implementing functionality described as being carried out by one or more components discussed above or instructions for implementing one or more of the methods described above. The processor 2402 may access the memory 2404 by way of a system bus 2406. In addition to storing executable instructions, the memory 2404 may also store operating parameters, required operating parameters, and so forth.

[00119] The computing device 2400 additionally includes a data store 2408 that is accessible by the processor 2402 by way of the system bus 2406. The data store 2408 may include executable instructions, operating parameters, required operating parameters, etc. The computing device 2400 also includes an input interface 2410 that allows external devices to communicate with the computing device 2400. For instance, the input interface 2410 may be used to receive instructions from an external computer device, from a user, etc. The computing device 2400 also includes an output interface 2412 that interfaces the computing device 2400 with one or more external devices. For example, the computing device 2400 may display text, images, etc., by way of the output interface 2412.

[00120] Additionally, while illustrated as a single system, it is to be understood that the computing device 2400 may be a distributed system. Thus, for instance, several devices may be in communication by way of a network connection and may collectively perform tasks described as being performed by the computing device 2400.

[00121] As used herein, the terms "component" and "system" are intended to encompass computer-readable data storage that is configured with computer- executable instructions that cause certain functionality to be performed when executed by a processor. The computer-executable instructions may include a routine, a function, or the like. It is also to be understood that a component or system may be localized on a single device or distributed across several devices. The terms

"component" and "system" are also intended to encompass hardware configured to cause certain functionality to be performed, where such hardware can include, but is not limited to including, Field-programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), Application- specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Application-specific Standard Products (ASSPs), System-on-a-chip systems (SOCs), Complex Programmable Logic Devices (CPLDs), etc.

[00122] Various functions described herein can be implemented in hardware, software, or any combination thereof. If implemented in software, the functions can be stored on or transmitted over as one or more instructions or code on a computer- readable medium. Computer-readable media includes computer-readable storage media. A computer-readable storage media can be any available storage media that can be accessed by a computer. By way of example, and not limitation, such computer-readable storage media can comprise RAM, ROM, EEPROM, CD-ROM or other optical disk storage, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium that can be used to carry or store desired program code in the form of instructions or data structures and that can be accessed by a computer. Disk and disc, as used herein, include compact disc (CD), laser disc, optical disc, digital versatile disc (DVD), floppy disk, and blu-ray disc (BD), where disks usually reproduce data magnetically and discs usually reproduce data optically with lasers. Further, a propagated signal is not included within the scope of computer-readable storage media. Computer-readable media also includes communication media including any medium that facilitates transfer of a computer program from one place to another. A connection, for instance, can be a communication medium. For example, if the software is transmitted from a website, server, or other remote source using a coaxial cable, fiber optic cable, twisted pair, digital subscriber line (DSL), or wireless technologies such as infrared, radio, and microwave, then the coaxial cable, fiber optic cable, twisted pair, DSL, or wireless technologies such as infrared, radio and microwave are included in the definition of communication medium.

Combinations of the above should also be included within the scope of computer- readable media. [00123] What has been described above includes examples of one or more embodiments. It is, of course, not possible to describe every conceivable modification and alteration of the above structures or methodologies for purposes of describing the aforementioned aspects, but one of ordinary skill in the art can recognize that many further modifications and permutations of various aspects are possible. Accordingly, the described aspects are intended to embrace all such alterations, modifications, and variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Furthermore, to the extent that the term "includes" is used in either the detailed description or the claims, such term is intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term "comprising" as "comprising" is interpreted when employed as a transitional word in a claim.