Ford Authority

Ford Looking At Using Hyper Efficient Prechamber Ignition Technology

In the past, diesel engines used to initiate combustion in a prechamber, which contained a glow plug for cold starts. That bit of technology went away when automakers switched to direct-injection, but Maserati is looking at reviving it in the gasoline engine-powered 2022 MC20. But it isn’t the only automaker thinking about utilizing hyper-efficient prechamber ignition technology in future products.

Motor Trend is reporting that Ford is also exploring the use of prechamber ignition technology via a partnership with engineering consulting firm FEV and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The group is currently in the midst of a three-year, $10 million dollar project that aims to develop the next generation of highly efficient boosted engines.

The goal of the project is to create an engine that has 15 percent less engine mass than Ford’s 3.5L EcoBoost V6, but one that is also 23 percent more efficient. As for the technology itself, it’s fairly simple. A smaller cylinder lies on top of a regular engine cylinder and contains its own fuel injector and spark plug, though Ford is also considering adding a compressed air injector as well.

A series of holes connect the prechamber to the main chamber and ensure compression is the same in both, but also enable combustion to exit in the form of fire jets that ignite a rich, easy-to-ignite mixture in the main chamber. Ford’s concept employs both port injection and a main-chamber direct injector.

Prechamber ignition technology improves efficiency by fostering faster combustion. Thus far, research indicates that when combined with various technologies including a split cooling system, an electrified turbo boost system, and continuously variable valve timing, the project looks to be on track to meet its 23 percent boost in efficiency.

We’ll have more on this interesting project soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. royl

    I wish ford would put as much effort in LPG fueled vehicles for US sales-why ford builds LPG fueled vehicles for export but not for US sales is strange. LPG burns very clean, it is cheaper than Gas, and the US has at least a 90 year supply! LPG, runs strong, and can be tuned to a near zero emission standard.

    1. Thurston Munn

      Yes you are exactly right. I worked with one of the prominent Gas companies here in Okla. years ago in my independent repair service business. Using old propane systems to start we were able to finally get components that were more compatible with Compressed natural gas. Tank size and range were a bit of a problem but they were other wise very efficient and clean burning. To this day they still run their fleet on CNG.

      1. Denny

        You may get your wish not too far down the road. I work for a fuel cell manufacturer and we have a new contract to manufacture new LPG/CNG fuel cells. Can’t say or confirm anything specific as to not get myself in any trouble with the company.

        1. Thurston Munn

          We used round long cylinders. Since the CNG was compressed to 3000 psi and higher in those cylinders that was the only option at the time to withstand the those working pressures. They were also problematic to mount and size for many vehicles thus restricting range considerably on many of their vehicles. It will be interesting to see what the future brings for this technology.


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