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GE Hydrocarbon Lean NOx Catalyst Technology Matches Performance of Urea-Based SCR Systems

GE has reached an important performance threshold in the development of a proprietary silver-based Hydrocarbon Lean NOx Catalyst (HC-LNC) aftertreatment solution designed to reduce NOx emissions from diesel engines. Through a joint development with GE, Tenneco Inc (earlier post) and Umicore (earlier post), researchers have demonstrated NOx conversions on an engine between 85-95% across a temperature window of 325-425 °C, using E85 as the reductant.

The HC-LNC system thus reduces NOx emissions as effectively as urea-based SCR systems and provides an option to those market segments seeking an alternative to urea-based selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

These results are very exciting. E85 opens up a variety of diesel engine markets where a small on-board tank of readily available E85 will supply the reductant. This has real potential to provide a simple solution to meet the coming NOx regulations.

—William Kernick, Vice President of Technology Ventures for GE

The use of hydrocarbons (HC-SCR) or oxygenates (Ethanol-SCR) as a reductant in the selective catalytic reduction of NOx to N2 can offer a number of engineering advantages over urea/ammonia-based SCR technologies, including simplified application, since there is no need either for an extra reductant in the aftertreatment system, or for an accompanying additional infrastructure (e.g., AdBlue replenishing). HC-LNC also has the potential to remove simultaneously NOx and partially burned hydrocarbons.

HC-SCR has been under study for decades, with one of the main issues to be resolved being the catalyst. GE’s HC-LNC technology has been under development since 2001 at GE’s Global Research, the centralized research and development organization for all of GE. As previously announced, GE intends to commercialize the HC-LNC technology through out-licensing agreements executed through GE’s Technology Venture’s business.

Tenneco, an industry leader in emission control technology and systems integration, is currently in an exclusive period with GE to develop and commercialize aftertreatment systems containing GE’s proprietary HC-LNC catalyst for certain applications, including on-road and off-road vehicles, and is the first licensee of GE’s HC LNC technology to manufacture such aftertreatment systems.

Tenneco has contributed system integration expertise to the development of the Hydrocarbon Lean NOx Catalyst that it has gained from its extensive involvement in providing aftertreatment solutions to the transportation industry.

Umicore, which provides expertise in catalyst manufacturing and material science, has been granted a technology license for manufacturing the HC-LNC catalyst to supply aftertreatment system licensees.

The three companies are currently collaborating on the production of fully integrated systems for markets ranging from Class-8 line haul trucks (>250 hp) to small tractors and forklifts (<100hp), and are on track to deliver commercial aftertreatment systems in 2011 that are highly effective at reducing NOx using either diesel fuel and/or E85 as the reductant.


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