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.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.