Dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) offers the advantage to excite and dissociate molecules in the exhaust gas stream. Those dissociated and excited species are oxidizing or reducing harmful exhaust gas components. The advantage of a plasma chemical system in comparison to a catalytic measure for exhaust gas treatment is the instantaneous activity at ambient temperature from the starting of the engine.
The investigations reviewed in this paper are dealing with the plasma chemical oxidation of hydrocarbons in the exhaust gas stream during cold start conditions. The article concerns the design and development of a plasma-system in order to decrease the hydrocarbon emissions from engine start till catalyst light off. Vehicle results in the New European Driving Cycle show a hydrocarbon conversion of more than 42% in the first 11 seconds from engine start. In this period nearly all types of hydrocarbon were reduced. The exhaust backpressure of the system is comparable to the conventional silencer. With improvement in the disk design of the plasma unit, the exhaust back pressure can be reduced further.