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Enhance efficiency of combustion engines by monitoring internal chambers Pressure with Novel contactless Optical SEnsor

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - pressureNose (Enhance efficiency of combustion engines by monitoring internal chambers Pressure with Novelcontactless Optical SEnsor)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2016-09-30

PressureNose project addressed the general issue of Automotive sector to increase the overall efficiency of the combustion engines (in particular the Diesel motors) that will allow strong operating costs reduction to the end users via fuel consumption reduction meaning also a reduction of the overall pollutions and CO2 and NOx emissions. This goal is reached by continous pressure control inside the engine combustion chambers that will allow to inject the optimal propellant quantity into the combustion chamber itself. Optimizing the propellant quantity in each engine cycle means then both reducing the overall pollution and increasing the overall efficiency of the engine. Automotive market is rapidly growing toward massively sensorized vehicles and, particularly in the case of Diesel engine, the sensors to measure cylinder pressure will likely become a standard equipment for most of next engine generation; other relevant needs arise from the compliance to regulatory national and international directives, to be fulfilled by Car manufacturers, in order to improve engine efficiency and related emission reduction.
The goal of pressureNose pressure sensor (Enhance Efficiency of combustion Engines by monitoring internal chambers pressure with Novel contactless Optical SEnsor) is to measure high pressure (100-500 Bar) where extremely high process temperatures (700-900 °C) are present as it happens in a combustion chamber of a Diesel engine.
The specific characteristic of pressureNose sensor head of “not having” any electronic device inside the sensor head close to the high temperature zone increase significantly the reliability of the sensor itself and allows this sensor to be used as pressure sensor in combustion engines;
pressureNose pressure sensor is based on optical technologies and allows the measurement in very precise and reliable way of high pressure in Harsh Environments (high pressure, high temperature). The key features of pressureNose solution are the Enhanced Sensitivity, Enhanced Reliability, Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) Immunity. These three main features derive from proprietary design concept that makes use of specific delivery optical fibers and patented sensor head; pressureNose sensor measures a displacement of deformable diaphragm induced by external pressure using a single mode optical fiber, furthermore, there is no physical direct contact between the sensing membrane and the detection elements. Moreover, optical and electronic components are positioned far from Harsh zone making the sensor head, where the pressure measure takes place, a fully passive component, allowing exceptional reliability and EMC Immunity. On the contrary, current commercial available solutions based on piezoelectric or piezo-resistive electronic sensors need a more complicated design in order to move the sensing element as far as possible, but still in close proximity, from the hot zone of the combustion chamber.
"Laserpoint, within the European Project “pressureNose, Enhance Efficiency of combustion Engines by monitoring internal chambers pressure with Novel contactless Optical SEnsor"", has carried and completed the following actions: 1) Market study aiming to analyse and evaluate the worldwide market potential of “pressureNose; 2) Partners identification and consortium building for Phase 2 aming to select possible Partner for the industrialisation and commercialisation of the product; 3) Technical implementation aiming to analyse critical components and process for industrialisation of the product; 4) Risk Management and Business Impact Analysis aiming to analyse possible alternative to Automotive market for pressureNose sensor.

1) Market study: in order to achieve these main objectives, the study started with a benchmarking analysis of technical and economic features between “pressureNose” and the main competitors products. Compared to the main competitors products, “pressureNose” is characterized by relevant differential values, especially in terms of Restistence/Durability (assessed by the useful life), Precision/Reliability (assessed by the minimum error) and Total cost over the entire life (that take into account the initial cost, the costs of components replacement and their dismantling). In the second step, the study has evaluated the worldwide market potential of “pressureNose” sensor over the time period 2016 - 2025 (with particular regard to newly registered vehicles). In agreement with the technical features of the sensor, this analysis has focused on 3 main application areas: “High-End cars with diesel engine”, “Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) and Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCV) with diesel engine” and “Earthmoving Equipment with diesel engine”. The overall worldwide market potential of “pressureNose” (between 2016 and 2025) has been estimated as:
several hundred millions of sensors for “High-End cars with diesel engine” area (almost the 100% in Europe); several hundred millions of sensors for “LCV and HCV with diesel engine” area (almost the 11% in Europe); several tens of millions of sensors for “Earthmoving Equipment with diesel engine” area (almost the 35% in Europe).
The study confirmed that the diffusion of “pressureNose” sensor will increase the engines efficiency of the vehicles and the consequent reduction of emission giving a better evaluation of its impact on environmental benefits.

2) Partners identification and consortium building for Phase 2: interviews with main automotive components manufacturers have been performed to get direct information about their interest in using pressureNose. Furthermore, some of the main automotive components manufacturers are willing to apply, along with Laserpoint, to SME Phase2 Instrument.

3) Technical implementation: In the frame of this task, we have performed the tests for optimization of the most critical step in the relization of pressureNose, and namely the welding of deformable diaphragm.
Two sets of optimized laser welding conditions have been identified, using high power laser diodes and high pulse energy solid state laser. Micrography on both optimized processes show good depth penetration and absence of cracks in welded area.

4) Risk Management and Business Impact Analysis: in the frame of this task, analysis of alternative to Automotive market oppurtunities for «pressureNose» has been performed.
Extrusion machines for plastic materials have been confirmed as the most appealing and reachable alternative market for «pressureNose». The industrial market size related to plastic extrusion machine is, as far as pressure sensors are concerned, very interesting. The estimate volume of original equipment where at least one pressure sensors is mounted on, is estimated in more than 100000 pcs/year meaning more than 100000 pressure sensors. Aftermarket related to the maintenance of the already installed equipment may"
In summary:
“pressureNose” shows relevant competitive advantages, in terms of technical and economical features. In particular: high accuracy, long expected life time and total costs.
“pressureNose” has a very interesting market potential: about several hundred millions of sensors (28% in Europe)
“pressureNose” diffusion will provide significant environmental benefits avoiding 331 kton/y of NOx emissions, 54.300 kton/y of CO2 emissions and leading to 18.000 million of litres of diesel saved in 2025 (15% in Europe).
Operational principle