Two Rochester Firms Develop Diesel Exhaust Converters to Cut Soot, Emissions
September 23, 2009
Albany, NY — Two New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) contractors in Rochester are achieving success in developing diesel engine emission-control systems that minimize the amount of particulate matter (PM), or soot, and other harmful compounds emitted by diesel engines. AirFlow Catalyst Systems, Inc. and Environmental Energy Technologies, Inc. (EET) are working on separate approaches that would apply to both vehicle and stationary diesel engines.
Emissions from diesel engines are a major health concern and government regulations require new engines to be fitted with complex and expensive “aftertreatment” devices that are installed in the exhaust system to burn up, filter out and otherwise eliminate most of the harmful emission that otherwise would exit the tailpipe.
AirFlow Catalyst Systems, Inc. has signed a $500,000 NYSERDA contract extension to continue developing catalyzed diesel particulate filters (CDPFs) and diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) that may help engine manufacturers meet tougher emissions standards that arrive in 2010. AirFlow’s technology promises to reduce the amount of precious metal, such as platinum, needed to promote chemical reactions inside the CDPFs and DOCs. Additional benefits come in the form of greater durability and improved fuel economy. Fuel is saved by reducing the need to initiate a periodic and energy-intensive regeneration cycle to keep exhaust filters clean, and by reducing restrictions in the exhaust system that raise engine exhaust backpressure. AirFlow is working to commercialize their technology in conjunction with diesel engine manufacturers and other industry interests.
EET has signed a $198,838 NYSERDA contract extension to continue developing another type of diesel emissions-control technology using electrodes inside the exhaust pipe to generate ions that react with and destroy PM and other pollutants. The new work focuses on testing to verify the effectiveness of this “non-thermal plasma” device, potentially leading to formal recognition under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program aimed at identifying effective retrofit strategies for engines already in service. These older engines often have no, or relatively ineffective, emission control systems and are in applications lacking sufficient room to install modern DPFs and DOCs, as well as other potential retrofit devices. New solutions are needed because these engines are very durable and tend to stay in service for many years. The advantages of EET’s system are that it is very compact, introduces virtually no efficiency-robbing backpressure, and begins working immediately at engine start-up, when the engine is cold and emitting large amounts of pollutants.
Francis J. Murray, Jr., NYSERDA President and CEO said: “Right in Rochester, we have two high-tech companies, AirFlow Catalyst Systems, Inc. and Environmental Energy Technologies, Inc., working on a common, serious air-emission concern that has the potential for use in thousands of mobile and stationary diesel engines across the US and perhaps around the world. Both firms have worked with NYSERDA in developing these systems and these latest contracts will bring them closer to commercial manufacturing and the reality of market sales.”
Ali Ogut, Ph.D., President and Chief Technology Officer of Environmental Energy Technologies, Inc. noted: “NYSERDA’s financial support, advice, and industry contacts have been invaluable as EET has gone from concept through field testing and on to preparation for commercialization of its clean diesel technology. We fully expect that from this investment in our firm, we will be able to generate revenues and jobs for New York State and the Rochester region. Contributing to a cleaner environment makes these efforts even more worthwhile. Our DPRS System is simple to install, requires no regeneration, is virtually maintenance free and will provide our customers with a lower cost, lower maintenance solution to meet EPA Standards for diesel particulate removal.”
EET has been developing an emissions control technology for diesel engines based on the use of non-thermal plasma (NTP), which creates highly reactive oxidizing agents that react with and reduce the presence of soot particles, volatile and semi-volatile hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. EET prototypes show no back-pressure since it is a flow-through “electrode-in-a-pipe” system. Promising results have been achieved in a NTP/EGR test program performed at Southwest Research Institute to demonstrate the synergy of the NTP technology with a low-pressure exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) system for NOx control; in an ongoing municipal bus field test since 2007, and recently in an off-road engine test.
NYSERDA has also assisted AirFlow in developing a pilot manufacturing facility to support commercialization efforts. The Wayland (Steuben County) site produces some CDPF components and complete DOCs, and has been instrumental in securing joint-development agreements with major manufacturers of engines and emissions-control systems. AirFlow continues to enhance the production capabilities of this facility and has demonstrated the ability to apply coatings to a wide variety of substrate materials, including ceramic and metal honeycomb structures and metal foams.
"The support received from NYSERDA exemplifies how to extend a helping hand to entrepreneurs in New York State. In addition to the much needed financial support, AirFlow also received equally important professional guidance and moral support. AirFlow has made enviable progress in its business development. It would not have been possible without NYSERDA help,” according to Zaki Mustafa, AirFlow CEO.
AirFlow’s focus is on developing better ways to use traditional catalysts (e.g., platinum) in traditional exhaust-filtering devices, yielding significant reductions in cost while also reducing the fuel economy penalty associated with filter devices in new engine applications. By comparison, EET’s approach represents a departure from traditional design and could prove to be a more practical way to reduce the emissions of engines used in construction equipment, marine vessels and other applications where space constraints and other factors limit traditional approaches.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) was established by law in 1975 as a public benefit corporation. NYSERDA provides energy-related technical and financial packaging assistance to businesses and institutions to promote energy efficiency and economic development, as well as providing energy research and development programs that promote safe and economical energy production efficiency technologies in New York State. NYSERDA also analyzes the effect of New York’s energy, regulatory and environmental policies on the State’s business, institutional, and residential energy consumers.
Ray Hull, NYSERDA
518-862-1090, ext 3356
Last Updated: 11/26/2012