O Formation and Mitigation in Diesel Aftertreatment Systems
The high global warming potential of nitrous oxide (N₂O) led to its recent inclusion in the list of regulated pollutants under the emerging greenhouse gas regulations. While N₂O can be present in small quantities among the combustion products, it can also be generated as a minor byproduct in various types of aftertreatment systems. In this work, a systematic review of sources of N₂O is presented, along with the potential mechanisms of formation in a typical selective-catalytic-reduction-based diesel exhaust aftertreatment system. It is demonstrated that diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst, and ammonia slip catalyst (ASC) can all potentially contribute to N₂O formation, depending on the catalyst material and exhaust gas conditions, as well as aftertreatment operation strategies. Furthermore, catalysts used in SCR aftertreatment system are also shown to decompose and/or reduce N₂O to N₂ under select conditions. However, the temperature windows of N₂O formation and decomposition/reduction do not overlap. This requires that N₂O control be focused on reducing its formation by means of optimizing catalyst formulation, system architecture, and operation strategies.