Automotive components maker, Federal-Mogul, is currently developing a more efficient alternative to the conventional spark plug. Dubbed the Advanced Corona Ignition System (ACIS), this screw-in replacement does away with the normal single-spark electrode in favor of an element that emits multiple streams of high-energy ions that can more quickly and uniformly ignite the fuel-air mix inside of a cylinder. According to Federal-Mogul tests, the ACIS igniter can deliver up to a 10-percent gain in fuel economy and is fully compatible with the implementation of a host of advanced combustion strategies like lean burn, highly diluted mixtures and extreme exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) that can further increase mileage.

Equally critical, this new ACIS igniter also uses materials and technologies that make it easy and inexpensive to manufacture. With no size difference from a normal spark plug and a "two-piece" architecture, manufacturers can replace their traditional coil-and-plug ignition systems without adversely impacting either the design or build-out of the engine itself. All of those factors should give it a distinct advantage over some laser-based alternatives now being contemplated by several automakers. Federal-Mogul President and CEO, Jose Maria Alapont, characterizes this new corona discharge ignition as "a breakthrough innovation that can offer significant fuel economy gains and emissions reductions at a lower incremental cost than other technologies."

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