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TAILORED ON-BOARD ACTIVATED AGENTS PRODUCTION FOR EXHAUST AFTERTREATMENT PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT

The project is focused on the selection and assessment of an integrated active after-treatment system, compliant with Euro V regulations and beyond and capable of superior performances pursued via the generation of activated chemical agents via two alternative ways, a catalytic and an energy-based approach.

Tags: Road

Background

Despite the diesel engines environmental impact, there has not been an application for any after-treatment technology for a long time. In the last few years, diesel emissions have had to face increasing worldwide public pressure, which has led to more and more severe emission regulations. Although catalyst-equipped Otto-engines are nowadays cleaner than diesels, as far as soot and NOx production are concerned, diesel engines are preferred in almost all heavy-duty applications.

Since the first diesel engine emission regulations were issued, several engine modifications have been developed to reduce pollutant species production. While CO and HC emissions are manageable through the use of an oxidation catalyst, NOx and particulates are a harder task to handle and abate. Optimisation of the engine’s combustion towards low NOx emission and soot emission has to face a trade-off. The necessary compromise between NOx and particulate emissions make advanced after-treatment technologies a must to meet the current and future regulations; Euro IV regulations, at present in force, have been met by all car manufacturers thanks to the extensive use of after-treatment devices, in close synergy with engine management strategy. Anyhow the future emission limits will force the use of innovative after-treatment components/systems capable to contemporary reduce both NOx and soot emissions.

Objectives

The specific objective of the proposal is to develop, procure and test the needed components and integrated systems, in order to achieve the following targets:

  • EuroV (and beyond) emission levels for passenger cars, particularly in terms of NOx emission
  • low fuel/energy penalty (< 2 %)
  • compatibility with the engine and vehicle systems
  • system operation and maintenance that is fully transparent to the vehicle user
  • cost-competitive system with a complete state-of-the-art after-treatment system.

From the outset, system integration is the leitmotiv of the project. The system will have to be an automotive one, and this will be ensured by a partnership strongly focused on automotive exhaust technology development, manufacturing and application. Efforts will be made to improve each single component of the pursued integrated technology. A scientific and rigorous approach will be followed:

  • lab-scale testing of single devices and of pre-prototype assemble systems
  • scale-up testing of both systems on the engine bench
  • vehicle testing in real conditions for final assessment of the most promising technology.

Such a development process will follow the guidelines of a typical automotive development: this will ease the technology transfer for industrial exploitation of the results.

Description of work

Specifications and boundary conditions will be the first indispensable step to make the achievement of quantifiable results in terms of efficient after-treatment devices. The core part of the project is divided into two work lines:

  • catalyst-based approach and energy-based approach to the generation and exploitation of activated agents
  • developing dedicated after-treatment equipment, required to exploit the output of the activated agents’ production devices.

The two work lines will produce lab-scale integrated systems, which will be extensively tested; also, a system simulation tool will be developed within the project, which will support the industrial application of the technologies under investigation. Providing a tool for activated agents’ production and exploitation simulation will allow the integration of existing software and so facilitate a quick industrial exploitation of results.

The application engineering will transfer the developed systems from lab-scale to full-scale on the test bench for implementation onto a state-of-the-art engine exhaust line. This step provides the basic understanding of the technological capabilities in real working conditions. From the two approaches, the most promising technology will be selected for the implementation of a state-of-the-art vehicle for the final assessment.

Results

The mains project deliverables will be:

  • Development of a complete software package for the simulation of catalyst and energy-based after-treatment systems and assessment based on experimental dataset.
  • Scale-up of the catalytic and energy-based systems for the engine test bench experimental campaigns to asses the system functionality, assess it in different engine working conditions, assess the compatibility with engine systems, the emission abatement efficiency assessment in terms of exhaust pollutant removal efficiency and counter pressure/compatibility with engine systems.

This will allow performing an objective and straightforward comparison whose output will be the final project deliverable:

  • Selection of the most promising technological route for the final assessment on a vehicle.

    The system that results in being the most promising between the two explored technological routes will be finally assembled on a vehicle for the evaluation of the system capabilities in real driving conditions and in standard driving cycles. The positive environmental impact of the project is clearly visible, considering the increasing number of vehicles equipped with diesel engines and their emissions mainly consisting of NOx and fine particulate matter. The proposed project intends to provide an alternative solution to these problems by applying novel concepts to exhaust after-treatment engineering.

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