Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MIT’s plasmatron cuts diesel bus emissions, promises better gas engine efficiency

22.10.2003


MIT’s plasmatron coupled with an exhaust treatment catalyst removed 90 percent of the smog-producing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted from this bus.
PHOTO COURTESY / ARVINMERITOR


A bus in Indiana is the latest laboratory for MIT’s plasmatron reformer, a small device its developers believe could significantly cut the nation’s oil consumption as well as noxious emissions from a variety of vehicles.

The work will be the subject of an invited talk next Thursday, October 30, at a meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics in Albuquerque, NM.

The researchers and colleagues from industry report that the plasmatron, used with an exhaust treatment catalyst on a diesel engine bus, removed up to 90 percent of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the bus’s emissions. Nitrogen oxides are the primary components of smog.



The plasmatron reformer also cut in half the amount of fuel needed for the removal process. “The absorption catalyst approach under consideration for diesel exhaust NOx removal requires additional fuel to work,” explained Daniel R. Cohn, one of the leaders of the team and head of the Plasma Technology Division at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). “The plasmatron reformer reduced that amount of fuel by a factor of two compared to a system without the plasmatron.”

Cohn noted that the plasmatron reformer also allowed the NOx absorption catalyst to be effective at the low exhaust temperatures characteristic of urban use.

These results, reported at a U.S. Department of Energy Diesel Engine Emissions Reduction (DEER) meeting in August, indicate that the plasmatron reformer, in conjunction with an NOx absorber catalyst, could be one of the most promising ways to meet stricter emissions limits for all heavy trucks and buses. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to institute the new limits by 2007.

“Diesel-engine vehicles generally do not have exhaust treatment systems,” Cohn said, adding that treating diesel exhaust is much more difficult than gasoline exhaust.

Under development for the last six years, the plasmatron is an onboard "oil reformer" that converts a variety of fuels into high-quality, hydrogen-rich gas. Adding a relatively modest amount of such gas to the gasoline powering a car or to a diesel vehicle’s exhaust is known to have benefits for cutting the emissions of pollutants. "Prior to the plasmatron reformer development, there was no attractive way to produce that hydrogen on board," said Cohn.

His colleagues are Leslie Bromberg and Alexander Rabinovich of the PSFC; John Heywood, director of MIT’s Sloan Automotive Lab and the Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Rudolf M. Smaling, a graduate student in the Engineering Systems Division. Smaling is an engineering manager from ArvinMeritor, a major automotive and heavy truck components company that has licensed the plasmatron technology from MIT. The bus engine tests were performed at the company’s facility in Columbus, Ind., by an ArvinMeritor team.

Toward increased gasoline engine efficiency

The team is finding that the device could make vehicles cleaner and more efficient, with a potentially significant impact on oil consumption.

"If widespread use of plasmatron hydrogen-enhanced gasoline engines could eventually increase the average efficiency of cars and other light-duty vehicles by 20 percent, the amount of gasoline that could be saved would be around 25 billion gallons a year," Cohn said. That corresponds to around 70 percent of the oil that is currently imported by the United States from the Middle East."

The Bush administration has made development of a hydrogen-powered vehicle a priority, Heywood noted. "That’s an important goal, as it could lead to more efficient, cleaner vehicles, but is it the only way to get there? Engines using plasmatron reformer technology could have a comparable impact, but in a much shorter time frame," he said.

"Our objective is to have the plasmatron in production—and in vehicles—by 2010," Smaling said. ArvinMeritor is working with a vehicle concept specialist company to build a proof-of-concept vehicle that incorporates the plasmatron in an internal combustion engine. "We’d like to have a driving vehicle in one and a half years to demonstrate the benefits," Smaling said.

In the meantime, the team continues to improve the base technology. At the DEER meeting, Bromberg, for example, reported cutting the plasmatron’s consumption of electric power "by a factor of two to three."

The work is funded by the Department of Energy’s FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program and by ArvinMeritor.

Elizabeth Thomson | MIT
Further information:
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2003/plasmatron.html

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Waste from paper and pulp industry supplies raw material for development of new redox flow batteries
12.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Low-cost battery from waste graphite
11.10.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>