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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

Diesel NOx Reduction on Surfaces in Plasma

Recent work has shown that energy efficiencies as well as yields and selectivities of the NOx reduction reaction can be enhanced by combining a plasma discharge with select catalysts. While analysis of gas phase species with a chemiluminescent NOx meter and mass spectrometer show that significant removal of NOx is achieved, high background concentrations of nitrogen preclude the measurement of nitrogen produced from NOx reduction. Results presented in this paper show that N2 from NOx reduction can be measured if background N2 is replaced with helium. Nitrogen production results are presented for a catalyst system where the catalyst is in the plasma region and where the catalyst is downstream from the plasma. The amount of N2 produced is compared with the amount of NOx removed as measured by the chemiluminescent NOx meter. The measured nitrogen from NOx reduction accounts for at least 40% of the total NOx removed for both reactor configurations.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Exhaust Treatment Using Electrical Discharge Methods

The destruction of low concentrations (<600 ppm) of nitric oxide using a low-temperature, dielectric barrier/packed-bed corona reactor has been studied. We compare the chemistry and energy efficiencies observed using various packing materials in warm moist air under oxidative (lean-burn) conditions. Measurements of NO and NOx removal in the effluent gas were made as a function of energy dissipated in the reactor. Changes in the observed fate of NO as a function of the packing material are discussed.
Technical Paper

Particulate Characteristics for Varying Engine Operation in a Gasoline Spark Ignited, Direct Injection Engine

The objective of this research is a detailed investigation of particulate sizing and number count from a spark-ignited, direct-injection (SIDI) engine at different operating conditions. The engine is a 549 [cc] single-cylinder, four-valve engine with a flat-top piston, fueled by Tier II EEE. A baseline engine operating condition, with a low number of particulates, was established and repeatability at this condition was ascertained. This baseline condition is specified as 2000 rpm, 320 kPa IMEP, 280 [°bTDC] end of injection (EOI), and 25 [°bTDC] ignition timing. The particle size distributions were recorded for particle sizes between 7 and 289 [nm]. The baseline particle size distribution was relatively flat, around 1E6 [dN/dlogDp], for particle diameters between 7 and 100 [nm], before dropping off to decreasing numbers at larger diameters. Distributions resulting from a matrix of different engine conditions were recorded.
Technical Paper

Hydrocarbon Effect on a Fe-zeolite Urea-SCR Catalyst: An Experimental and Modeling Study

Synergies between various catalytic converters such as SCR and DPF are vital to the success of an integrated aftertreatment system for simultaneous NO and particulate matter control in diesel engines. Several issues such as hydrocarbon poisoning, thermal aging and other coupled aftertreatment dynamics need to be addressed to develop an effective emission control system. This work is significant especially in an integrated DPF-SCR aftertreatment scenario where the SCR catalyst on the filter substrate is exposed to un-burnt diesel hydrocarbons during active regeneration of the particulate filter. This paper reports an experimental and modeling study to understand the effect of hydrocarbons on a Fe-zeolite urea-SCR catalyst. Several bench-reactor tests to understand the inhibition of NO oxidation, to characterize hydrocarbon storage and to investigate the impact of hydrocarbons on SCR reactions were conducted.
Technical Paper

Diesel Particulate Oxidation Model: Combined Effects of Volatiles and Fixed Carbon Combustion

Diesel particulate samples were collected from a light duty engine operated at a single speed-load point with a range of biodiesel and conventional fuel blends. The oxidation reactivity of the samples was characterized in a laboratory reactor, and BET surface area measurements were made at several points during oxidation of the fixed carbon component of both types of particulate. The fixed carbon component of biodiesel particulate has a significantly higher surface area for the initial stages of oxidation, but the surface areas for the two particulates become similar as fixed carbon oxidation proceeds beyond 40%. When fixed carbon oxidation rates are normalized to total surface area, it is possible to describe the oxidation rates of the fixed carbon portion of both types of particulates with a single set of Arrhenius parameters. The measured surface area evolution during particle oxidation was found to be inconsistent with shrinking sphere oxidation.
Technical Paper

The Role of Second Phase Hard Particles on Hole Stretchability of Two AA6xxx Alloys

The hole stretchability of two Aluminum Alloys (AA6111 and AA6022) are studied by using a two stages integrated finite element framework where the edge geometry and edge damages from the hole piercing processes were considered in the subsequent hole expansion processes. Experimentally it has been found that AA6022 has higher hole expansion ratios than those of AA6111. This observation has been nicely captured by finite element simulations. The main cause of differences have been identified to the volume fractions of the random distributed second phase hard particles which play a critical role in determining the fracture strains of the materials.
Technical Paper

Application of Non-Thermal Plasma Assisted Catalyst Technology for Diesel Engine Emission Reduction

With new legislation and federal regulation for vehicle emission levels, automotive and truck manufacturers have been prompted to focus on emission control technologies that limit the level of exhaust pollutants. One of the primary pollutants, especially from diesel engines, is oxides of nitrogen (NOx). One possible solution to this pollution challenge is to design a more efficient internal combustion engine, which would require better engine operating parameter controls. However, there are limitations associated with such tight engine management. This need has led researchers and engineers to focus on the development of exhaust aftertreatment devices that will reduce NOx emissions with current diesel engines. An optimum aftertreatment device must be unaffected by exhaust-gas impurity poisoning such as sulfur products, and must have minimal impact on vehicle operations and fuel economy.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of a Non-Thermal Plasma System for Remediation of NOx in Diesel Exhaust

With ever more stringent CO2 emissions mandates, many automobile manufacturers are seeking the fuel economy benefits of diesel and lean-burn gasoline engines. At the same time the emissions standards that diesel and gasoline engines will have to meet in the next decade continue to reduce. Proposed solutions for meeting the stringent emissions standards all appear to have limitations, such as propensities to poisoning from sulfur, narrow operating temperature windows, and requirements for controls that give rapid rich excursions. Non-thermal plasma-catalyst systems have shown good performance in bench testing while being largely unaffected by these same issues. A two-stage system with a unique non-thermal plasma reactor combined with a zeolite-based catalyst has been constructed and shown to work over a wide temperature range.
Technical Paper

NOx Destruction Behavior of Select Materials When Combined with a Non-Thermal Plasma

NOx reduction efficiency under simulated lean burn conditions is examined for a non-thermal plasma in combination with borosilicate glass, alumina, titania, Cu-ZSM-5 and Na-ZSM-5. The non-thermal plasma alone or with a packed bed of borosilicate glass beads converts NO to NO2 and partially oxidizes hydrocarbons. Alumina and Na-ZSM-5 reduce a maximum of 40% and 50% of NOx respectively; however, the energy cost is high for Na- ZSM-5. Cu-ZSM-5 converts less than 20% with a very high energy consumption. The anatase form of titania reduces up to 35% of NOx at a relatively high energy consumption (150J/L) when the catalyst is contained in the plasma region, but does not show any appreciable conversion when placed downstream from the reactor. This phenomenon is explained by photo-activation of anatase in the plasma.
Technical Paper

Optimizing the Advanced Ceramic Material for Diesel Particulate Filter Applications

This paper describes the application of pore-scale filtration simulations to the advanced ceramic material (ACM) developed for use in advanced diesel particulate filters. The application required the generation of a three-dimensional substrate geometry to provide the boundary conditions for the flow model. An innovative stochastic modeling technique was applied matching chord length distribution and the porosity profile of the material. Additional experimental validation was provided by the single-channel experimental apparatus. Results show that the stochastic reconstruction techniques provide flexibility and appropriate accuracy for the modeling efforts. Early investigation efforts imply that needle length may provide a mechanism for adjusting performance of the ACM for diesel particulate filter (DPF) applications. New techniques have been developed to visualize soot deposition in both traditional and new DPF substrate materials.
Technical Paper

Visualization Techniques for Single Channel DPF Systems

New techniques have been developed to visualize soot deposition in both traditional and new diesel particulate filter (DPF) substrate materials using a modified cyanoacrylate fuming technique. Loading experiments have been conducted on a variety of single channel DPF substrates to develop a deeper understanding of soot penetration, soot deposition characteristics, and to confirm modeling results. Early results indicate that stabilizing the soot layer using a vaporized adhesive (Cynoacrylate) may allow analysis of the layer with new methods.
Technical Paper

Modeling of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) Process with Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH)

Since its invention fifteen years ago, Friction Stir Welding (FSW) has found commercial applications in marine, aerospace, rail, and now automotive industries. Development of the FSW process for each new application, however, has remained largely empirical. Few detailed numerical modeling techniques have been developed that can explain and predict important features of the process physics. This is particularly true in the areas of material flow, mixing mechanisms, and void prediction. In this paper we present a novel modeling approach to simulate FSW processes that may have significant advantages over current traditional finite element or finite difference based methods. The proposed model is based on the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) method.
Technical Paper

Development of a Non-Thermal Plasma Reactor Electrical Model for Optimum NOx Removal Performance

A double dielectric barrier discharge reactor driven by an alternating voltage is a relatively simple approach to promote oxidation of NO to NO2 for subsequent reduction in a catalyst bed. The chemical performance of such a non-thermal plasma reactor is determined by its current and electric field behavior in the gap, and by the fraction of the current carried by electrons, because the key reactants which initiate the NO oxidation and accompanying chemical changes are produced there, mostly by electron impact. We have tried to determine by models and experiments the bounds on performance of double dielectric barrier reactors and guidelines for optimization. Models reported here predict chemical results from time-resolved applied voltage and series sense capacitor data.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Corona Reactors of Several Geometries for a Plasma Assisted Nitrogen Oxide Emission Reduction Device

Proposed vehicle emissions regulations for the near future have prompted automotive manufactures and component suppliers to focus heavily on developing more efficient exhaust aftertreatment devices to lower emissions from spark and compression ignition engines. One of the primary pollutants from lean-burn engines, especially from diesels, are oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Current three-way catalytic converters will not have adequate performance to meet future emission reduction requirements. Therefore, there is a need for researchers and engineers to develop efficient exhaust aftertreatment devices that will reduce NOx emissions from lean-burn engines. These devices must have very high conversion of NOx gases, be unaffected by exhaust-gas impurity such as sulfur, and have minimal impact on vehicle operations and fuel economy. An effective technology for NOx control that is currently receiving a lot of attention is a non-thermal plasma system.
Technical Paper

Lean NOx Reduction in Two Stages: Non-thermal Plasma Followed by Heterogeneous Catalysis

We present data in this paper showing that non-thermal plasma in combination with heterogeneous catalysis is a promising technique for the treatment of NOx in diesel exhaust. Using a commonly available zeolite catalyst, sodium Y, to treat synthetic diesel exhaust we report approximately 50% chemical reduction of NOx over a broad, representative temperature range. We have measured the overall efficiency as a function of the temperature and hydrocarbon concentration. The direct detection of N2 and N2O when the background gas is replaced by helium confirms that true chemical reduction is occurring.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Plasma-Catalyst and Lean NOx Catalyst for Diesel NOx Reduction

Projected NOx and fuel costs are compared for a plasma-catalyst system and an active lean NOx catalyst system. Comparisons are based on modeling of FTP cycle performance. The model uses steady state laboratory device characteristics, combined with measured vehicle exhaust data to predict NOx conversion efficiency and fuel economy penalties. The plasma system uses a proprietary catalyst downstream of a plasma discharge. The active lean NOx catalyst uses a catalyst along with addition of hydrocarbons to the exhaust. For the plasma catalyst system, NOx conversion is available over a wide temperature range. Increased electrical power improves conversion but degrades vehicle fuel economy; 10 J/L energy deposition costs roughly 3% fuel economy. Improved efficiency is also available with larger catalyst size or increased exhaust hydrocarbon content. For the active lean NOx system, NOx conversion is available only in a narrow temperature range.
Technical Paper

Effect of Simulated Diesel Exhaust Gas Composition and Temperature on NOx Reduction Behavior of Alumina and Zeolite Catalysts in Combination With Non-Thermal Plasma

NOx reduction under simulated lean burn conditions was studied using a non-thermal plasma in combination with zeolite and alumina catalysts. The influence of temperature and plasma treatment on the catalytic performance was investigated. Zeolite catalyst B showed high activity in the 150-300°C temperature region. Alumina Catalyst D was most active at temperatures higher than 250°C. In addition, the alumina catalyst was effective in oxidation of aldehydes formed during plasma treatment of the reaction mixture. When the reaction was carried out over a catalyst bed consisting of separate layers of the zeolite and alumina catalysts, the catalyst temperature range for significant NOx reduction was expanded to 150-500°C.
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.
Technical Paper

Steady-State Engine Testing of γ-Alumina Catalysts Under Plasma Assist for NOx Control in Heavy-Duty Diesel Exhaust

A slipstream of exhaust from a Caterpillar 3126B engine was diverted into a plasma-catalytic NOx control system in the space velocity range of 7,000 to 100,000 hr-1. The stream was first fed through a non-thermal plasma that was formed in a coaxial cylinder dielectric barrier discharge reactor. Plasma treated gas was then passed over a catalyst bed held at constant temperature in the range of 573 to 773 K. Catalysts examined consisted of γ-alumina, indium-doped γ-alumina, and silver-doped γ-alumina. Road and rated load conditions resulted in engine out NOx levels of 250 - 600 ppm. The effects of hydrocarbon level, catalyst temperature, and space velocity are discussed where propene and in one case ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (late cycle injection) were the reducing agents used for NOx reduction. Results showed NOx reduction in the range of 25 - 97% depending on engine operating conditions and management of the catalyst and slipstream conditions.