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Technical Paper

Exhaust Aftertreatment Research for Heavy Vehicles

The Office of Heavy Vehicle Technologies supports research to enable high-efficiency diesel engines to meet future emissions regulations, thus clearing the way for their use in light trucks as well as continuing as the most efficient powerplant for freight-haulers. Compliance with Tier 2 emission regulations for light-duty vehicles will require effective exhaust emission controls (aftertreatment) for diesels in these applications. Diesel-powered heavy trucks face a similar situation for the 2007 regulations announced by EPA in December 2000. DOE laboratories are working with industry to improve emission control technologies in projects ranging from application of new diagnostics for elucidating key mechanisms, to development and evaluation of prototype devices. This paper provides an overview of these R&D efforts, with examples of key findings and developments.
Technical Paper

Plasma-Facilitated SCR of NOx in Heavy-Duty Diesel Exhaust

This paper describes two independent studies on γ-alumina as a plasma-activated catalyst. γ-alumina (2.5 - 4.3 wt%) was coated onto the surface of mesoporous silica to determine the importance of aluminum surface coordination on NOx conversion in conjunction with nonthermal plasma. Results indicate that the presence of 5- and 6- fold aluminum coordination sites in γ-alumina could be a significant factor in the NOx reduction process. A second study examined the effect of changing the reducing agent on NOx conversion. Several hydrocarbons were examined including propene, propane, isooctane, methanol, and acetaldehyde. It is demonstrated that methanol was the most effective reducing agent of those tested for a plasma-facilitated reaction over γ-alumina.
Technical Paper

Plasma-Enhanced Catalytic Reduction of NOx in Simulated Lean Exhaust

NOx reduction efficiency in simulated lean exhaust conditions has been examined for three proprietary catalyst materials using a non-thermal plasma discharge as a pretreatment stage to the catalyst. Using propene as the reducing agent for selective catalytic reduction, 74% reduction of NOx has been observed in the presence of 20 ppm SO2. For sulfur-free simulated exhaust, 84% NOx reduction has been obtained. Results show that the impact of sulfur on the samples examined can vary widely from virtually no effect (< 5%) to more than 20% loss in activity depending on the catalyst. Any loss due to sulfur poisoning appears to be irreversible according to limited measurements on poisoned catalysts exposed to sulfur-free exhaust streams. Catalysts were tested over a temperature range of 473-773K, with the highest activity observed at 773K. Examination of this large temperature window has shown that the optimum C1:NOx ratio changes with temperature.