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Canadian Project to Field Test New Syngas-Based Diesel Emission Reduction System

NxtGen Syngas Diesel Aftertreatment System. NxtGen components are in blue. Click to enlarge.

Officials from the Government of Canada, EnCana Corporation and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) are committing C$5.5 million (US$5.6 million) in financing to demonstrate a new syngas-based diesel emission reduction system from NxtGen Emission Controls.

When retrofitted onto existing trucks, NxtGen’s system is expected to reduce particulate emissions by 85% and NOx emissions by 65%. The syngas technology also has the potential to enable manufacturers to increase fuel economy by reducing fuel requirements for regeneration of diesel particulate filters, according to the company.

The NxtGen system uses a non-catalytic Syngas Generator to produce syngas—a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide—from engine exhaust and diesel fuel. The syngas is then used to regenerate a lean NOx trap (LNT) by converting trapped NOx into nitrogen and water. Syngas also enables active diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration through combustion at lower temperatures than diesel fuel, resulting in lower fuel consumption.

A Control Unit contains proprietary algorithms, developed by NxtGen, for optimizing aftertreatment system regeneration.

The Syngas Generator is the core of the system, and uses partial oxidation reactions to convert the diesel fuel and engine exhaust into hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The generator is compact, with quick start-up and fast transient response.

The project supported by EnCana and SDTC involves field trials of NxtGen’s diesel emission reduction technology on medium and heavy duty trucks. The systems are being retrofitted onto 12 trucks in three fleets across Canada, including three heavy duty trucks owned by Mullen Trucking LP, one of EnCana’s key transportation providers in Alberta.

The NxtGen system is being developed during a two-year, C$12.4 million program. EnCana is contributing to the project through its Environmental Innovation Fund. The fund supports the development, demonstration and, ultimately, the commercialization of innovative, clean-energy technologies that relate to the energy sector.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is contributing C$2.5 million to the project through its SD Tech Fund. The $550 million fund supports the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions that address climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil.

For original equipment manufacturers, NxtGen has also developed a compact syngas system for use with light duty diesel applications.




I guess this would be considered using the carbon twice. Syngas can be used in a gas turbine to generate electricity or run a powerful turbo to boost the engine.


This sound like an economical way for California to improve their airquality. Has to be cheaper than converting vehicles to natural gas. The could start with retrofitting all school buses and public transportation buses.


It would be good to find a solution for school buses, those things are horrible. I suppose the 5k dollars that it would cost to convert to NG is a lot when you consider all the buses and no one wanting to pay any taxes, but I can not think of a more cost effective method.


Looks like the Diesel efficiency loss, due to meeting higher emissions standards, will eventually be eliminated.


That would fit with history.  In the immediate aftermath of the Clean Air Act, the Corvettes were slower than the VW Rabbits!  Obviously, this has long since shifted back; technology marches on.

C Dell

Their is so very little that comes out to retro fit older vehicles. I for one would look at putting it on the three mechanical diesels I own. It might save perfectly good vehicles from car heaven program (crushing). Car heaven is so wasteful it makes me sick. A aluminum body stepvan is made to last.

Rafael Seidl

@ Sjc -

the line from the turbo to the syngas generator indicates that pressurized air is bled off before it enters the engine. No carbon is used twice here. Indeed, a small fraction of diesel fuel consumed is used exclusively for exhaust gas aftertreatment. Make no mistake, this system reduces both rated power and MPG, though probably not dramatically so.

The big advantage here - especially for retrofits - is that manufacturers don't need to reprogram the ECUs, as is normally required for LNTs and DPFs. In addition, the system does not require a new distribution infrastructure for urea solution.


I see that it is an emission reduction system more than reclaiming lost energy. It seems like a waste of time if you can run the engine on a cleaner fuel to begin with.


This sounds like another way to reduce NOx by inject certain types of gases into the exhaust stream to reduce the NOx levels. This is akin to what Mercedes-Benz developed with the urea liquid injection for their BlueTec system and what Honda did with their plasma gas reactor catalytic converter to synthetically make ammonia gas to react with the NOx gases.

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