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Technical Paper

Development of a Lab Reactor System for the Evaluation of Aftertreatment Catalysts for Stoichiometric Natural Gas Engines

Natural gas powered vehicles are attractive in certain applications due to their lower emissions in general than conventional diesel engines and the low cost of natural gas. For stoichiometric natural gas engines, the aftertreatment system typically consists only of a three-way catalyst (TWC). However, increasingly stringent NOx and methane regulations challenge current TWC technologies. In this work, a catalyst reactor system with variable lean/rich switching capability was developed for evaluating TWCs for stoichiometric natural gas engines. The effect of varying frequency and duty-cycle during lean/rich gas switching experiments was measured with a hot-wire anemometer (HWA) due to its high sensitivity to gas thermal properties. A theoretical reactor gas dispersion model was then developed and validated with the HWA measurements. The model is capable of predicting the actual lean/rich gas exposure to the TWC under different testing conditions.
Technical Paper

Dual-Fuel Gasoline-Alcohol Engines for Heavy Duty Trucks: Lower Emissions, Flexible-Fuel Alternative to Diesel Engines

Long-haul and other heavy-duty trucks, presently almost entirely powered by diesel fuel, face challenges meeting worldwide needs for greatly reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Dual-fuel gasoline-alcohol engines could potentially provide a means to cost-effectively meet this need at large scale in the relatively near term. They could also provide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. These spark ignition (SI) flexible fuel engines can provide operation over a wide fuel range from mainly gasoline use to 100% alcohol use. The alcohol can be ethanol or methanol. Use of stoichiometric operation and a three-way catalytic converter can reduce NOx by around 90% relative to emissions from diesel engines with state of the art exhaust treatment.
Technical Paper

Alcohol Fueled Heavy Duty Vehicles Using Clean, High Efficiency Engines

Non-petroleum based liquid fuels are essential for reducing oil dependence and greenhouse gas generation. Increased substitution of alcohol fuel for petroleum based fuels could be achieved by 1) use in high efficiency spark ignition engines that are employed for heavy duty as well as light duty operation and 2) use of methanol as well as ethanol. Methanol is the liquid fuel that is most efficiently produced from thermo-chemical gasification of coal, natural gas, waste or biomass. Ethanol can also be produced by this process but at lower efficiency and higher cost. Coal derived methanol is in limited initial use as a transportation fuel in China. Methanol could potentially be produced from natural gas at an economically competitive fuel costs, and with essentially the same greenhouse gas impact as gasoline. Waste derived methanol could also be an affordable low carbon fuel.
Technical Paper

Effect of Reductive Regeneration Conditions on Reactivity and Stability of a Pd-Based Oxidation Catalyst for Lean-Burn Natural Gas Applications

Regulations on methane emissions from lean-burn natural gas (NG) and lean-burn dual fuel (natural gas and diesel) engines are becoming more stringent due to methane’s strong greenhouse effect. Palladium-based oxidation catalysts are typically used for methane reduction due to their relative high reactivity under lean conditions. However, the catalytic activity of these catalysts is inhibited by the water vapor in exhaust and decreases over time from exposure to trace amounts of sulfur. The reduction of deactivated catalysts in a net rich environment is known to be able to regenerate the catalyst. In this work, a multicycle methane light-off & extinction test protocol was first developed to probe the catalyst reactivity and stability under simulated exhaust conditions. Then, the effect of two different regeneration gas compositions, denoted as regen-A and regen-B, was evaluated on a degreened catalyst and a catalyst previously tested on a natural gas engine.
Technical Paper

Future Light-Duty Vehicles: Predicting their Fuel Consumption and Carbon-Reduction Potential

The transportation sector in the United States is a major contributor to global energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission. To assess the future potentials of different technologies in addressing these two issues, we used a family of simulation programs to predict fuel consumption for passenger cars in 2020. The selected technology combinations that have good market potential and could be in mass production include: advanced gasoline and diesel internal combustion engine vehicles with automatically-shifting clutched transmissions, gasoline, diesel, and compressed natural gas hybrid electric vehicles with continuously variable transmissions, direct hydrogen, gasoline and methanol reformer fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles with direct ratio drive, and battery electric vehicle with direct ratio drive.
Journal Article

Conversion of Short-Chain Alkanes by Vanadium-Based and Cu/Zeolite SCR Catalysts

The oxidation of short-chain alkanes, such as methane, ethane, and propane, from the exhaust of lean-burn natural gas and lean-burn dual-fuel (natural gas and diesel) engines poses a unique challenge to the exhaust aftertreatment community. Emissions of these species are currently regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as either methane (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards) or non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC). However, the complete catalytic oxidation of short-chain alkanes is challenging due to their thermodynamic stability. The present study focuses on the oxidation of short-chain alkanes by vanadium-based and Cu/zeolite selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts, generally utilized to control NOx emissions from lean-burn engines. Results reveal that these catalysts are active for short-chain alkane oxidation, albeit, at conversions lower than those generally reported in the literature for Pd-based catalysts, typically used for short-chain alkane conversion.
Journal Article

Desulfation of Pd-based Oxidation Catalysts for Lean-burn Natural Gas and Dual-fuel Applications

Lean-burn natural gas (NG) engines are used world-wide for both stationary power generation and mobile applications ranging from passenger cars to Class 8 line-haul trucks. With the recent introduction of hydraulic fracturing gas extraction technology and increasing availability of natural gas, these engines are receiving more attention. However, the reduction of unburned hydrocarbon emissions from lean-burn NG and dual-fuel (diesel and natural gas) engines is particularly challenging due to the stability of the predominant short-chain alkane species released (e.g., methane, ethane, and propane). Supported Pd-based oxidation catalysts are generally considered the most active materials for the complete oxidation of low molecular weight alkanes at temperatures typical of lean-burn NG exhaust. However, these catalysts rapidly degrade under realistic exhaust conditions with high water vapor concentrations and traces of sulfur.
Journal Article

The Dynamics of Methane and NOx Removal by a Three-Way Catalyst: A Transient Response Study

Natural gas-powered engines are widely used due to their low fuel cost and in general their lower emissions than conventional diesel engines. In order to comply with emissions regulations, an aftertreatment system is utilized to treat exhaust from natural gas engines. Stoichiometric burn natural gas engines use three-way catalyst (TWC) technology to simultaneously remove NOx, CO, and hydrocarbon (HC). Removal of methane, one of the major HC emissions from natural gas engines, is difficult due to its high stability, posing a challenge for existing TWC technologies. In this work, degreened (DG), standard bench cycle (SBC)-aged TWC catalysts and a DG Pd-based oxidation catalyst (OC) were evaluated and compared under a variety of lean/rich gas cycling conditions, simulating stoichiometric natural gas engine emissions.
Technical Paper

Low-Temperature NH3 Storage, Isothermal Desorption, Reactive Consumption, and Thermal Release from Cu-SSZ-13 and V2O5-WO3/TiO2 Selective Catalytic Reduction Catalysts

Worldwide, regulations continue to drive reductions in brake-specific emissions of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from on-highway and nonroad diesel engines. NOx, formed as a byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels (e.g., natural gas, gasoline, diesel, etc.), can be converted to dinitrogen (N2) through ammonia (NH3) selective catalytic reduction (SCR). In this study, we closely examine the low-temperature storage, isothermal desorption, reactive consumption, and thermal release of NH3 on commercial Cu-SSZ-13 and V2O5-WO3/TiO2 SCR catalysts. Catalyst core-reactor, N2 adsorption (BET) surface area, and in-situ diffuse reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (DRIFTS) experiments are utilized to investigate the fundamental chemical processes relevant to low-temperature (T < 250°C) NH3 SCR.