This is a rocket engine (any rocket engine from a solid rocket engine to a liquid engine such as the f-1, the ssme, rd-180) with two grids inside the cumbustion chamber (the top grid could be the top of the chamber, the bottom grid could be in the nozzle). The grid at the top will be positivly charged and the grid at the bottom will be negativly charged so that the burning fuel creating gasses would be propelled even faster out the nozzle. The actual rocket must have low electrical conductivity (cast iron, steel, or titanium) and the grids must have high cunductivity, and very high melting points since they are in the rocket(titanium carbide, tugsten carbide, or rhenium). It is a mixture of a normal rocket engine and an ion thruster (based on the law of conservation of energy,so the electicity provides more energy yet less mass, and the fact that all burning rocket exhaust is still a gas). This is not an ion engine, a rocket engine, or a plasma engine. It is a hybrid of ion and rocket technology.&nbsp

MIT Commentary Edit

According to Professor Paulo Lozano from MIT in an email commentary "The idea is a very interesting one, and in principle would work. Ion engines have low thrust because you typically have low power available to ionize and accelerate charged particles. You could ionize and accelerate the exhaust of a large rocket if you had a big battery or power supply available. The power levels of big chemical engines are several mega watts, and carrying such a big power supply would be very impractical." A problem that could be suplemented by solar panels on a probe or sattelite. Others solutions could , in theory, pull energy from heat from a rocket blast. - designer of the Hybrid Ion Rocket Engine - published

Oleg Nizhnik commentary Edit

I doubt it will work for large engines.

4 problems will appear:

1) Braking of gas flow by the bottom grid (may be necessary to use single charged ring at nozzle throat instead of grid)

2) Screening of grid electric field by plasma (hot gas must be non-ionized, very diluted or chamber must be small)

3) Some sort of neutralizer similar to ion engines will be required.

4) Electric power levels required. Doubling thrust of RD-180 by electrostatic grids (assuming it works at all) will require 39 GW of electric power. Most powerfull spacecraft busses have electric power available <15 kW..