Novel Catalytic Air Cleaner for Removal of VOCs and Particulates From Indoor AirEPA Contract Number: 68D99073
Title: Novel Catalytic Air Cleaner for Removal of VOCs and Particulates From Indoor Air
Investigators: Scott, David J.
Small Business: UItramet
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Air Quality and Air Toxics
Description:Room temperature oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and removal of particulates presents a major challenge, given that the most active exhaust catalysts do not show appreciable hydrocarbon oxidation activity below 250 C. High catalytic activity at room temperature may be induced by non-Faradaic electrochemical modification of catalytic activity (NEMCA). The NEMCA effect has been demonstrated by Ultramet to provide significant increases in the catalytic activity of a wide range of metal catalyst surfaces using a nonoptimized system. This effect, which involves the controlled in situ promotion of catalyst surfaces via a solid electrolyte washcoat, has been described for more than 25 catalyzed reactions using a variety of metal catalysts. In the proposed project, Ultramet will apply NEMCA to produce a catalytic air filtration element for the removal of VOCs and particulates generated during fuel- or solvent-intensive operations such as maintenance of aircraft fuel tanks, vapor degreasing of metal components, and spray painting of aircraft. The air filtration system will use a support fabricated from Ultramet's open-cell reticulated vitreous carbon or silicon carbide foam and coated with a high surface area solid electrolyte and catalyst phase to which a very low electrical potential will be applied. The objective of the project is to demonstrate the rapid and complete oxidation of VOCs at room temperature to carbon dioxide and water by using various catalysts and solid electrolyte materials deposited on the ceramic catalyst substrate while exploiting the innate properties of the structure to remove particulates.
This project will result in smaller, more efficient, and more economical air cleaners capable of meeting future, more demanding indoor air standards. Automobiles, diesel trucks, locomotives, watercraft, and stationary power plants easily can employ the NEMCA-based catalyst enhancement technology at very low cost. Also, this catalyst technology can potentially remove all organic pollutants from effluent wastewater streams and purify drinking water supplies.