Integrated Fuel Technologies Licenses Argonne-developed Diesel DeNOx Catalyst; 95-100% NOx Reduction
A new, patented catalyst developed by scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory that can reliably and economically reduce between 95 and 100% of NOx emissions from diesel-fueled engines has been licensed to Integrated Fuel Technologies, Inc. (IFT), a start-up company based in Kirkland, Wash. The new in-line SCR deNOx system uses onboard diesel fuel as the reductant, rather than urea or ammonia as used in current SCR systems. (Earlier post.)
Argonne and IFT aim to have the technology—named Diesel DeNOx Catalyst—meet standards set by the California Air Resources Board, the strictest in the US. IFT plans to integrate the Diesel DeNOx Catalyst into its existing products that can be sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The key to the Diesel DeNOx Catalyst technology is the reductant. ...it is the diesel fuel that reduces the NOx to nitrogen...The catalyst achieves such high rates of conversion because of its interactions with the hydrocarbons in the diesel fuel.—Christopher Marshall, the Argonne chemist who led the development of technology
The catalyst is a Cu-ZSM-5 zeolite with copper ions attached within its micropore structure with an external coating of cerium oxide (CeO2. Previous work with Cu-ZSM-5 and similar catalysts found that they performed poorly at removing NOx from diesel exhaust. They require temperatures higher than normal diesel exhaust temperatures and don’t work well in the presence of water vapor.
Using Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source to analyze the structure and performance of various catalysts, Marshall’s group developed an additive that allows Cu-ZSM-5 and similar catalysts to overcome these difficulties.
Our new cerium-oxide additive is the breakthrough that makes it work. When it’s combined with Cu-ZSM-5, the resulting catalyst works at normal exhaust temperatures and is actually more effective with water vapor than without it. With a lean fuel-air mixture, it removes as much as 95% to 100% of NOx emissions.—Christopher Marshall
Marshall and Argonne fellow researchers have also found the Diesel DeNOx Catalyst to be economical to make and use.
The ability to use diesel fuel as the reductant eliminates the need for onboard storage of compounds like ammonia or urea that existing technologies use as reductants, reducing the amount of additional weight a vehicle has to carry, and allowing for more efficient use of a vehicle’s fuel.
OEMs like PACCAR, Cummins, Siemens, BASF, Corning and John Deere have expressed an interest in IFT products enhanced with the Diesel DeNOx Catalyst. These companies want to know if the technology can survive continuous testing.—IFT president Robert Firebaugh
IFT is also collaborating with Argonne under a two-year research agreement to test the technology’s longevity in real-world use and to demonstrate it in real world applications to determine if it can meet a broad array of transportation applications.
The Diesel DeNOx Catalyst is a low-cost technology given the usable lifetime of the catalyst, which is about 400,000 miles. A typical semi-tractor trailer or shipping and delivery service truck is driven about 45,000 miles in year, according to the American Trucking Association.
Marshall said that the catalyst can also be easily retrofitted for installation on existing diesel engine vehicles. “There is a potentially large pool of customers for this technology, given the 11 million diesel engines currently on the road.”
Funding to develop the Diesel DeNOx Catalyst was provided by Argonne’s Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program.
Michael K. Neylon, Mario J. Castagnola, A. Jeremy Kropf, and Christopher L. Marshall (2003) “Bifunctional Catalysts for the Selective Catalytic Reduction of NO by Hydrocarbons”
Michael K. Neylon, Mario J. Castagnola, Norma B. Castagnola and Christopher L. Marshall (2004) “Coated bifunctional catalysts for NOx SCR with C3H6 Part I: water-enhanced activity”, Catalysis Today, doi: 10.1016/j.cattod.2004.05.007