What happens when we change our fuel, but not our engines? Well, nobody really knows the details, and that's the problem. We have seen that today's combustion engines cause a wide range of pollution, and as we consider the switch from diesel to bio-diesel or gasoline to ethanol it would be wise if we knew what type of pollution this change will create. Now, thanks to Dutch researcher Bas Bougie we can more easily evaluate and tune our engines to reduce pollution.
Bougie devised a technique using Laser Induced Incandescence (LII) to look at the soot formation inside an engine. Basically, LLI is shooting a laser into a volume of air with soot, as the laser heats up the soot to a high temperature it becomes incandescent. You can then measure the incandescence and determine the size and amount of soot production for any given system. With this technique it may be possible to tune our engine designs and fuel parameters to meet very low emissions requirements- no more excuses.