Notre Dame Researchers Discover Key To Curbing Diesel Emissions

Aug. 29, 2017
New chemical process reduces nitrogen oxide from diesel exhaust.

Waiting for your diesel-powered vehicle to warm up might make you more comfortable, but it isn’t doing the environment any favors. Some 70-80% of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a key ingredient in smog, occur doing transient and cold-start conditions, according to an article from the University of Notre Dame. Fortunately, chemical engineers at the university have discovered a catalytic process that could help curb these air quality offenders.

The discovery is reportedly the result of 10 years of collaborative research by Notre Dame, Purdue University and Cummins Inc., funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. Notre Dame researchers focused on a specific class of catalysts called copper-exchanged zeolites used to help convert NOx into environmentally benign nitrogen gas and identified the chemical reaction that limits the catalysts’ performance at low temperatures.

“Diesel engines power virtually all heavy-duty trucks, and NOx emissions control remains one of the key challenges facing manufacturers and operators,” says William Schneider, H. Clifford and Evelyn A. Brosey Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame. “This information paves the way to developing catalysts that outperform current formations at lower temperatures, allowing diesel engines to meet stringent emissions regulations.” 

Read the entire article here.

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