Catalytica validates NOx reduction with new HD tests

GILBERT, Ariz., (July 22, 2003) — Catalytica Energy Systems — a developer of products that reduce emissions for transportation equipment — has successfully completed an initial round of full-scale engine tests with the goal of meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming 2007/2010 NOx emissions regulations.

The company says the tests validate the previously reported subscale regeneration capabilities of Catalytica’s diesel fuel processor technology (DFP), which is designed to enable a 90 per cent reduction in NOx by improving NOx trap performance. While the company says the tests were conducted in partnership with a major engine manufacturer, a confidentiality agreement prohibits Catalytica from naming the engine the tests were conducted on.

Catalytica says its NOx trap systems technology — also referred to as NOx adsorbers — are one of the EPA-preferred approaches to meeting the emissions regulations. The company says these systems adsorb NOx in the exhaust and then convert it to non-polluting nitrogen during a regeneration cycle. In most cases, diesel fuel injected at the engine or in the exhaust system upstream of the NOx trap is used for the regeneration cycle and can give good performance at high exhaust temperatures, but shows poorer performance at lower exhaust temperatures, the company says. Catalytica says its DFP is designed to enable proper operation of NOx trap systems at low exhaust temperatures, while improving fuel utilization and fuel economy.

The company says tests focusing on verifying operation at low exhaust temperatures showed “highly efficient, rapid NOx trap regeneration over a variety of operating conditions, resulting in NOx conversion in line with the EPA’s mandated emissions requirements.” Catalytica also says its patented DFP yielded a dramatic improvement in fuel economy for NOx trap regeneration at critical low temperatures, compared to similar tests in which the diesel fuel was directly injected.

According to the EPA, improving the durability of the NOx adsorber, especially as it relates to desulfation, still remains a fundamental hurdle to commercial NOx trap deployment. With further testing the company says its DFP could allow desulfation of the NOx trap at lower temperatures thus providing increased NOx trap durability.

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