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Progress and future challenges in controlling automotive exhaust gas emissions

Paper ID Volume ID Publish Year Pages File Format Full-Text
48776 46522 2007 14 PDF Available
Title
Progress and future challenges in controlling automotive exhaust gas emissions
Abstract

By the early 1970s increased use of cars in some major cities had resulted in serious concerns about urban air quality caused by engine exhaust gas emissions themselves, and by the more harmful species derived from them via photochemical reactions. The three main exhaust gas pollutants are hydrocarbons (including partially oxidised organic compounds), carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Engine modifications alone were not sufficient to control them, and catalytic systems were introduced to do this. This catalytic chemistry involves activation of small pollutant molecules that is achieved particularly effectively over platinum group metal catalysts. Catalytic emissions control was introduced first in the form of platinum-based oxidation catalysts that lowered hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. Reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen was initially done over a platinum/rhodium catalyst prior to oxidation, and subsequently simultaneous conversion of all three pollutants over a single three-way catalyst to harmless products became possible when the composition of the exhaust gas could be maintained close to the stoichiometric point. Today modern cars with three-way catalysts can achieve almost complete removal of all three exhaust pollutants over the life of the vehicle. There is now a high level of interest, especially in Europe, in improved fuel-efficient vehicles with reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and “lean-burn” engines, particularly diesels that can provide better fuel economy. Here oxidation of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide is fairly straightforward, but direct reduction of NOx under lean conditions is practically impossible. Two very different approaches are being developed for lean-NOx control; these are NOx-trapping with periodic reductive regeneration, and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with ammonia or hydrocarbon. Good progress has been made in developing these technologies and they are gradually being introduced into production. Because of the nature of the diesel engine combustion process they produce more particulate matter (PM) or soot than gasoline engines, and this gives rise to health concerns. The exhaust temperature of heavy-duty diesels is high enough (250–400 °C) for nitric oxide to be converted to nitrogen dioxide over an upstream platinum catalyst, and this smoothly oxidises retained soot in the filter. The exhaust temperature of passenger car diesels is too low for this to take place all the time, so trapped soot is periodically burnt in oxygen above 550 °C. Here a platinum catalyst is used to oxidise higher than normal amounts of hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide upstream of the filter to give sufficient temperature for soot combustion to take place with oxygen. Diesel PM control is discussed in terms of a range of vehicle applications, including very recent results from actual on-road measurements involving a mobile laboratory, and the technical challenges associated with developing ultra-clean diesel-powered cars are discussed.

Keywords
Vehicle emissions; Autocatalysts; Three-way catalysts (TWCs); NOx-traps; Selective catalytic reduction (SCR); Diesel particulate filters
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Progress and future challenges in controlling automotive exhaust gas emissions
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Publisher
Database: Elsevier - ScienceDirect
Journal: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental - Volume 70, Issues 1–4, 31 January 2007, Pages 2–15
Authors
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Subjects
Physical Sciences and Engineering Chemical Engineering Catalysis
Get Full-Text Now
Don't Miss Today's Special Offer
Price was $35.95
You save - $31
Price after discount Only $4.95
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Full-text PDF Download
Online Support
Any Questions? feel free to contact us