Technology

MIT's Plasma Bus

The world's first fully functional plasma vehicle takes a test run.

By Alex StoneMar 28, 2004 12:00 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Researchers at the ArvinMeritor Corporation and MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center have unveiled a diesel-powered bus that emits 90 percent fewer nitrogen oxides than the conventional version. Electric current from the vehicle’s generator creates plasma—hot, electrically charged atomic fragments—that transforms diesel into a hydrogen-rich gas that then scours pollutants from the vehicle’s exhaust-treatment system. This is the first time such an apparatus has been used in a fully functional vehicle. Daniel Cohn, leader of the MIT project, says his team’s “plasmatron” fuel reformer could clean up the diesel engines in commercial trucks and buses, which are a leading source of transportation pollution in the United States. The plasmatron could also give cars and light trucks a boost, cutting emissions and raising the efficiency of gasoline engines by up to 30 percent for as little as $1,000 per vehicle.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.