Combustion of fuels with oxygen is the most widely used means of converting chemically stored energy to useful work. A certain level of inefficiency is intrinsic to traditional combustion devices. In these devices, chemically stored energy is irreversibly converted to sensible energy before work extraction occurs.
While combustion science has increased our understanding of the chemical processes that occur in flames, improvements in combustion engine efficiency have all resulted from mechanical improvements in engine technology. Similarly, changes to combustion strategy have not necessarily improved engine efficiency, although they have significantly reduced toxic emissions.
New combustion technologies may reduce the irreversibility associated with combustion, thereby significantly improving efficiency of combustion engines. Other combustion technologies may be used to manage the reaction products in an environmentally compatible fashion.Investigators in Advanced Combustion Current Research Activities