DN Staff

July 5, 2001

2 Min Read
Pending patent reduces vehicle exhaust emissions

Thursday, May 17, 2001

Chuck Peden want's to keep our air clean and free from nitrogen oxide (NOx) that comes from diesel engines. Peden is the principle investigator for at Pacific Northwest National Lab project that cuts NOx emission by at least half.

The project involves combining electrically charged gas with a catalyst. Peden helped develop a small reactor to house the plasma reaction. The plasma reactor part of the device will use some electrical power from the automobile alternator. Some of the energy produced by burning the fuel in the engine is used to run the alternator while the remainder is used to power the vehicle.

"The need to provide electrical power for the plasma device will reduce the fuel economy somewhat," says Peden. "In addition, it may be necessary to add a small amount of fuel after the engine but before the plasma device in order to meet the NOx reduction targets. This is an additional fuel penalty," he says.

The target Pedan is aiming for in an actual device is a 5% or lower fuel penalty. He notes that his lab results and engine tests indicate that this target can be met and possibly exceeded. "Our very first engine test, conducted over a year ago, showed 50% NOx reduction with a total 5% fuel penalty from both the need for electrical energy to power the plasma device and added fuel after the engine," he adds.

Work done to improve fuel efficiency and reduce NOx emissions is part of the United States Council for Automotive Research's Low Emissions Technology Research and Development Partnership. For more information, go to www.uscar.org/pngv/conceptcars.htm.

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