PanCeria NOx Reducing Device: Selective Catalytic Reduction System for Emission Control of Small Off-Road Engines

EPA Grant Number: SU839310
Title: PanCeria NOx Reducing Device: Selective Catalytic Reduction System for Emission Control of Small Off-Road Engines
Investigators: Cocker, David
Institution: University of California-Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: February 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2017) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , P3 Awards , P3 Challenge Area - Pollution Prevention


Global levels of air pollution have steadily increased since the industrial revolution at the turn of the twentieth century. Consequently, air quality has deteriorated primarily due to substantial NOx concentrations – leading to the formation of smog – in large, populated metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC, Phoenix, AZ and Houston, TX. [Source]. Large amounts of smog have become a serious factor in human health as it promotes lung and heart problems, lung inflammation, irritation of the eyes and nose, weakened immune systems, and shortened life expectancy [1]. Smog has led to a substantial number of hospitalizations and in extreme cases, deaths. Children, seniors and those with existing lung diseases are at significant risk of developing acute respiratory diseases from smog. As a result, domestic governments – Federal, state, and municipal – and international governments have passed legislature aimed at reducing smog and its adverse health effects [2]. However, these regulations often focus on automotive, manufacturing, and energy industries. An area that is often overlooked in the conversation is the contribution from small off-road engines (SOREs). The California Environmental Protection Agency (CARB) classifies SOREs as any piece of equipment with a spark-ignition engine that is less than 25 horsepower, which can include lawn and garden equipment (LGEs), generators, specialty vehicles, and logging equipment [3]. Unlike other major sources of NOx emissions, SOREs are present globally whether it be a generator for warmth and electricity in Delhi, India or a lawn mower cutting grass in Los Angeles, CA. Reducing theseemissions is a globally beneficial endeavor with implications in developing and underdeveloped nations where small gas and diesel generators are used as a power source. PanCeria is capable of reducing NOx and CO pollutants and consequently producing cleaner air. Currently, the PanCeria prototype is in the first stage of bench-scale testing. The prototype will be retrofitted to be used on any SORE, specifically focusing on lawn and garden equipment such as lawn mowers, generators, and leaf blowers. Through careful material selection, the device will be environmentally-friendly, affordable, and last the life time of the LGE. To further our efforts in reducing air pollution, educational and outreach events that introduce the concepts of sustainability and air pollution and purification will be held in the surrounding Riverside community and on the University campus. Interactive demonstrations will be provided to teach these concepts to K-12 students at various outreach events coordinated by the University and student organizations such as Engineers without Borders.


The PanCeria prototype aims to be an inexpensive catalytic converter for small off-road engines (SOREs) to reduce undesired exhaust emissions. Our device is focused on reducing the concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NO), particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted through devices such as lawn mowers, gasolinepowered generators, and leaf blowers. The ongoing development of this device will encompass the optimization of a non-precious metal catalyst, and the selection of low-cost, environmentally friendly construction materials to engineer an affordable and user-friendly device.

Expected Results:

The PanCeria prototype is expected to reduce NO and CO emissions from LGEs by 85% or higher. The development of the PanCeria prototype will be conducted in three phases – (1) proof of concept and bench-scale catalyst testing, (2) scale-up of catalyst production and monolith substrate coating, and (3) model LGE testing on leaf blowers and generators. This reduction of NO and CO emissions from LGEs will significantly reduce the potential for smog formation and detrimental environmental and human health effects.

Supplemental Keywords:

 air-pollution, criteria pollutants, environmental sustainability, human health, catalysis