In Europe half of the cars sold are using diesel engines. The pollution from these cars (carbon particles, nitrogen oxides NOX and unburned hydrocarbons) is to be more strictly restricted by the EU regulations.
Risi¸ Danish Technical University has started a new project to develop an effective method for making diesel engines cleaner. The Danish Council for Strategic Research has approved DKK 17 million ($2.9 million) to finance the four year project for a new DeNOx technology.
The university is working on an Electrochemical flue gas purification method. Compared with existing methods with particulate filters and SCR Catalyst or recirculation of the exhaust gas, the electrochemical flue gas purification has a big advantage: it can do all the purification in the same filter unit. So nitrogen oxides (NOX), carbon particles and unburned hydrocarbons are being stopped together.
The new device has another advantage, as it does not use expensive materials to work (existing devices usually contain nitrogen-containing urea as a reducing agent), so it will lower the price of filtering the exhaust from diesel engines, contrary to the existing methods.
In the electrochemical flue gas purification method, the engine is completely separated by the filtering process and it could lead also to fuel savings. In the future, the same technology could also be used in the purification of flue gas from power plants, maybe also in the shipping industry.
For this project, the University will involve more people, five PhDs and two post-docs in the near future. The team has the objective of developing a successful prototype using the electrochemical flue gas purification method to be used economically in diesel engines.
Kent Kammer Hansen, Senior Scientist in the Fuel Cells and Solid State Chemistry Division at Risi¸ National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark is leading the team involved in this project.