A German startup is developing a potential replacement for spark plugs: microwave pulse ignition.

Despite emissions regulations forcing manufacturers to rush development on fully-electric powertrains, one German startup whose shareholders include ex-Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking, wants to give the internal combustion engine a fighting chance.

By using pulsed microwaves instead of spark plugs or glow plugs to ignite fuel, MWI Micro Wave Ignition engineers claim they can cut petrol and diesel consumption by as much as 30% and emissions by 80%, by burning the fuel at a lower temperature.

The German startup is currently looking for a buyer and international partner, someone who could help them promote the technology while also improving their financial situation. According to people familiar with the matter, MWI is already talking to automakers from South Korea and China, as reported by Automotive News Europe.

By making internal combustion engines more efficient, traditional cars could remain on the road for a lot longer than anticipated, which might actually be favourable to some, if not most manufacturers out there  as they’re still investing in ICE technology.

The best part about MWI’s idea is that their tech can be integrated into existing engine architecture and would not require a complete redesign. This could make industry-wide adoption possible, and could have a positive effect in cities that are already considering banning older engines.

“I am convinced that MWI is a disruptive innovation with a huge market potential,” stated Wiedeking in an document shared by the German firm.


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