Skip to comments.Scientists develop catalyst that cleans diesel emissions without platinum
Posted on 08/19/2012 7:12:18 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
Diesel engines are a classic example of good news and bad news. The good news is that diesel engines are much more fuel efficient than petrol engines. The bad news is that they belch out some pretty nasty emissions like nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. The good news is that catalytic converters can scrub those out. The bad news is that last Friday the platinum needed by the converters is selling for US$1,473.10 an ounce. Now the good news is that a team at Nanostellar in Redwood, California, has developed a mineral catalyst that outperforms platinum at a fraction of the cost.
Platinum is an excellent catalyst, though it does have a few problems. One of the biggest at the moment is that a violent labor dispute in South Africa sent the price skyrocketing. Also, with the World Health Organization classifying diesel exhaust as a carcinogen, the potential demand for platinum for catalytic converters for hundred of millions of vehicles far outstrips supply. The Nanostellar team, led by Dr. Kyeongjae K.J. Cho, professor of materials science and engineering and physics at UT Dallas and co-founder of Nanostellar, determined that a mineral catalyst would be a cheaper alternative.
Reporting their findings in the August 17 issue of Science, Cho relates that computer modelling showed that mullite was a cost-effective substitute. Mullite is a silicate mineral discovered on the Isle of Mull, Scotland in 1924. Its rare in nature, but a synthetic version is produced commercially for use in various porcelains, such as crucibles and heating balls. It has a very high melting point of 1840 C (3344 F) and as a mixed-phase oxide mineral it makes a very attractive catalyst. In addition, laboratory tests indicate that converters using mullite would have 45 percent lower emissions than with platinum.
Our goal to move completely away from precious metals and replace them with oxides that can be seen commonly in the environment has been achieved, Dr. Cho said. Weve found new possibilities to create renewable, clean energy technology by designing new functional materials without being limited by the supply of precious metals.
The new catalyst, called Noxicat, will be developed for commercial use and further work is planned to determine its application in fuel cells.
If it can be developed commercially, beyond excellent.
Diesel is cheaper, easier to make and gets better gas mileage. If this little gem really works, it can make diesel mainstream for the general public.
Watch as the Wesley Moochs’s and the other takers kill this before it gets started.
Waiting for the media to inform us that “Americans won’t buy or drive diesels due to the GM diesel fiasco of the oil embargo era” Of course the fact that most drivers of today were not even born then makes no difference.
Owner of 4 diesels.
There is a bit less than an ounce of Pt in a catalytic converter, so if the material ended up being free (which is not a great business plan) then at best this invention would knock off about $1000 from the price of a vehicle.
The problem with diesel is this - and this is the main reason that in 2005, for the first time, diesel prices exceeded the price of premium gasoline:
While the demand for gasoline varies greatly as related to price - the higher the price, the less the public drives gasoline vehicles - the demand for diesel is relatively constant. Diesel is the predominant fuel of industry, business, commercial transportation and the military.
It is true that producing diesel is less expensive than producing gasoline - it requires less refining is one of the first by-products of the refining process.
But its demand remains high when the public decides to drive less due to high cost, industry, business, commercial transportation and military cannot reduce their demand.
SO, if we become more dependent on diesel vehicles, the demand, and thus the cost, will continue to rise.
I purchased a diesel truck for my business in 2005 only to find that very weekend diesel prices went through the roof. Still, the efficiency of the diesel engine made it such that my fuel cost per mile was lower than that of a gasoline truck.
But if we swing to a significantly larger number of diesel personal vehicles, the refining capacity of our nation being limited - diesel prices can only again skyrocket from their present high levels - to a point of possibly making the price unreasonable, but also of creating supply problems.
And if there are supply problems, you can be assured that industry, business, commercial transportation and the military will have diesel before you and I do.
I once had a Diesel Rabbit, which I drove into the ground.
Unfortunately, the gubbertmint and the Detroit auto unions pretty much made it impossible for anyone to continue importing diesels into this country, in the name of clean air.
I don’t feel the slightest desire to buy a diesel Mercedes or anything expensive to buy and maintain like that. Too bad, because the diesel Rabbit was on the right track as a low-cost, energy saving car that handled extremely well.
This could be Hugh! Especially if it could eliminate SCR aka injecting p*ss into your exhaust stream...
Quite a bit less. An average passenger car has between 1 and 2 grams of Pt.
If you are correct, then the amount each vehicle could save would be more like $100, if the replacement mineral product were free. I might be thinking of Pd, in those converters that use it. Somewhere, I read that nearly an ounce was in one; then again, maybe that was for the huge truck converters. (Which easily have engines 20 times more powerful than small passenger cars do.)
If Congress passes legislation providing tax credits for buyers of natural gas fueled vehicles, what do you think will happen to all of that unused refinery capability when the demand for gasoline falls year after year?
There you go. About 25 grams (0.88 oz) in an 18 wheeleer truck converter.
The other claim for the new catalyst is that it lowers emissions more than a platinum based catalyst. Even if the cost of materials were identical, that alone would seem to be a reason to switch.
The bad news is the oil companies will buy to suppress the technology. The good news is that it will leak out to foreign countries. The bad news is that we will lose jobs to them. The good news is their women are hot. The bad news is that aliens think so too. The good news is the aliens come to Earth. The bad news is they come to Earth shooting. The good news is that we shoot back. The bad news is that they shoot better. The good news is "then I woke up". The bad news is it's still early in the night. The good news is I can go back to sleep. The bad news is I won't. The good news is Free Republic is here. The bad news is I'm on it. The good news is others like me being here. The bad news is that makes them codependent. The good news is there's a 12 step solution for that. The bad news is we're all in denial.
“the ____ new is...”
Do you have any sources? You won’t be taken seriously without any sources.
All my information came from Zombo.com.
Look for this to get squashed over those that have personal investments in platinum mining in Africa.
Engine bump :)
The truth of the matter is that most big rigs have engines with rated outputs of 200-300 hp. Every so often you will run into an independent owner-operator with a 400 hp rig, but they are not the norm.
They are big and very robust because most will go close to 1,000,000 miles between overhauls. And they will output rated horsepower 8 hours per day.
Passenger cars have high hp ratings but only for a few minutes per day.
So why are you mentioning the Benz as if that was the alternative? You have something against VW? (You shouldn't if you had a Rabbit diesel.) Check out the Volkswagen TDI. Excellent handling, great fuel milage, and enough guts to make the local kiddiepunk with the Honda with the fartcan muffler not want to try you out of the next light..
I have 470,000 miles on mine...
“Check out the Volkswagen TDI. “
Cleaner than most gasoline engines. VW and Audi use TDI, in several models.
And Audi has won 24 Hours of LeMans 11 of the last 13 years, recently with diesel TDI. This year with a TDI Hybrid.
Cheapest model is a Jetta sedan, and I think the Golf is about the same price—low $20s, up to about $28,000 for a Jetta wagon, automatic, sunroof, navi etc.
30 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and reports are they do better than these ratings.
Those little SmartCars that get 36mpg with gasoline also get 71mpg with a diesel, but those diesels are not allowed to be imported into the US.
(That's why I have one!)
You get really used to that 600 miles on a tank..;-)
There, fixed it.
Seriously don’t hold your breath for the $1000 price drop.
“(That’s why I have one!)”
Mine is an older one.. 1997, manual trans. Will drive it until it dies ;-) Had to replace the turbo at about 300k miles (oil seals went), and the clutch at about 435k (it was original).. It has a block heater installed, but I have never plugged it in. It has always started no matter what the temp (as long as I didn't get a batch of unwinterized diesel, but you solve that by getting the fuel treatment and putting it in the tank every time you are forced to buy diesel at an unfamiliar station - might be nothing wrong with their fuel, but a little prevention is better than a jelled up fuel line.) Keep an eye on the replacement interval for the timing belt and regular oil/filter and you're good for a long long time.. I'm trying for a million miles, but I think the body will give up before the drive train ;-)
Each generation of the TDI has had an improvement in hp and torque. Mine is the first TDI series VW sold in the US (they dropped the US diesel between 1993 and 1997 but it was still available in Canada) The TDI has some electronics and of course the turbo which made it a big improvement over the earlier VW diesels (of which I have had quite a few and all of them had over 300k miles on them before I replaced them..) The new 'clean diesel' TDI is the fourth or maybe the fifth generation of the TDI offered in the US market and is 50 state legal emissions wise. Last I checked it gets the same/close milage to the Prius and the TDI can get out of its own way (and doesn't have a $10g battery to replace in 100k miles ;-) And the Jetta (or even the Golf) has more metal than the Smart
CarCoffin so you're ahead there. If you are into SUV's, the TDI in a V6 version is available in the Touareg and has garnered some good reviews. (When I replace my wife's Audi Quattro wagon, I will probably get her the TDI Touareg..)
I recently test drove one of the new models. I told the salesman that I had no compelling reason to get rid of mine since it was still getting over 40 mpg and wasn't using oil, so he wasn't going to make a sale but I needed to know if there was a viable replacement when and if the time came. The new ones are so much quieter than my '97, and they have a surprising increase in acceleration over the early one, and I thought mine was pretty peppy (I once ran a kiddiepunk with one of those Civics with the fartcan muffler into a radar trap because he insisted in his delusion that he could pass me, so after I took him up to the 90 mhp range from a roll start, I backed it off and let him 'beat' me right into the waiting arms of the local LEO... I was so, um, sorry for him... ) (I did know the LEO was hiding there though, maybe that was unfair? Nah..)
If you are thinking along these lines, it certainly would not be a waste of your time to check it out. If you can drive a manual I would opt for that only because the automatics don't last 470k miles, but if you don't keep them as long as I do and you do a lot of rush hour rubber banding, then the auto will be a better choice, but it will give you about a 5 mpg hit in stop and go stuff (highway will be close for both stick and auto.)
Hope that wasn't too much information (was certainly more info than you asked for;-)
You get 9 to 10 gallons of diesel from a barrel of crude oil while you get 19 to 20 gallons of gasoline. With that rate you could never make it mainstream, we just can’t produce enough.
I think this will take many years to occur - conversion to natural gas is an expensive process for automakers, and it will take a long time for the public to adapt - add to that the decreased power of gas in reciprocating engines.
Ten to 20 years is my guess.
It is more expensive. The fleet is probably growing faster than you know. At $1.50 to $2.00 cheaper than a gallon of gasoline on an energy equivalent basis, a lot of people might be interested in a vehicle that could use natural gas.
It would better yet to have a multifuel setup. With enough natural gas capable cars on the road, the traditional raping of the masses when gasoline prices were routinely jacked up such as around Memorial Day and Labor Day would be a thing of the past.
When you think about it, a $1.50 to $2.00 savings per gallon would extremely appealing.
Interesting. I have been watching the local VW dealer, and the wagons fly off his lot.
Too bad we don’t get the selection of diesels that are offered in Europe.
Over there each body style has one or more diesel engine options.
Aggressive “go for all the oil we can get...” policies and President would also probably cut gasoline prices in half.
Thus significantly denting the advantages of natural gas.....
Will we see that?
Only God knows.....
You may be right. Unofrtunaely even though there’s no shorage of oil, the traders don’t miiss an opportunity to drive the price up at any rumor or incident. Why does a refinery fire on the West Coast manage to impact gasoline prices on the East Coast?
The disconnect between the pricing of natural gas and oil offers us an opportunity. I was surprised and then not surprised to learn that Iran has the larges percentage of natural gas fuel vehicles.
Odd to say it’s the most far right Republicans that are against the tax credits for something that would make a difference for the better for this country.
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