Improved Method for Heating Catalytic Converters of Vehicles to Attain Ultra-Low Emissions

EPA Contract Number: 68D30124
Title: Improved Method for Heating Catalytic Converters of Vehicles to Attain Ultra-Low Emissions
Investigators: Murphy, Oliver J.
Small Business: Lynntech Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1993 through March 1, 1994
Project Amount: $50,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1993) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The three-way catalytic converter is the most important device making today's automobiles comply with existing emission laws. The first two or three miles in a typical 22-minute, 12-mile commute in today's vehicles result in the emission of half of the total non- methane hydrocarbons, which result in the production of urban smog, as well as half of the toxic CO emissions. This occurs because the catalyst in the converter will operate ineffectively until it reaches its optimal operating temperature. To meet new California and Federal standards specified for transitional low emission vehicles, low emission vehicles, and ultra-low emission vehicles, new technologies are presently being developed to lower the warm-up time for catalytic converters. This is required to bring about significant reductions in emissions of HC's primarily and CO and to a lesser extent in NOx. Technologies involving "passive" and "active" methods for rapidly bringing catalytic converters to useful operating temperatures (250?C under cold-start conditions (nominally -10?C to 25?C) are currently being investigated. However, all of these technologies, including "close-coupled" catalytic converters, on-board heat storage systems, Exhaust Gas Ignition approach and electrically heated converters suffer from various disadvantages and drawbacks. In this proposal, a new chemical method of rapidly heating catalytic converters is proposed that addresses the weaknesses of the alternative technologies. Basically the new method involves using an on-board hydrogen bleed into the exhaust system upstream of the catalytic converter which will instantly allow the catalyst to reach its light-off temperature.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Toxics, Sustainable Industry/Business, air toxics, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Chemistry, HAPS, VOCs, Technology for Sustainable Environment, mobile sources, New/Innovative technologies, tropospheric ozone, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Nitrogen Oxides, Nox, cars, urban air, air pollutants, control, hydrocarbon, vehicle emissions, nitrogren oxides (NOx), pollution control technologies, automotive emissions, toxic emissions, air pollution control, carbon monoxide (CO), automotive combustion, automotive three way catalysts, emissions, smog, air pollution, automotive exhaust, automobiles, auto emissions, carbon monoxide, automotive, hydrocarbons, pollutants, start-up emissions, vehicular exhaust, automobile combustion process design, innovative technology, catalytic combustion, nitrogen oxides (Nox), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), automotive emission controls, exhaust, exhaust gas, innovative technologies, air emissions

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final