KINETA: A novel low-cost aftertreatment solution for lean-burn gas engines
A blog by Dr Matthew Keenan, Global Technical Expert – Exhaust Emissions
The reduction of tailpipe CO2 from industrial engines is a significant challenge facing on-road commercial vehicle OEMs and fleet operators, and the choice of fuel plays an important role in meeting it.
Natural gas is an attractive alternative fuel to help meet the CO2 reduction targets which have been set in the EU for on-road commercial vehicles. The combustion of diesel emits 28 percent more CO2 compared with natural gas and operating the engine in lean mode can further reduce the CO2 impact for a non-hybridized system.
However, whilst the CO2 impact might be reduced, the control of methane (CH4) and NOx emissions is a challenge when it comes to the operation of natural gas engines, particularly when running them in lean combustion mode.
Traditionally, urea-based SCR is used to control NOx and a highly loaded precious metal-based methane oxidation catalyst (MOC) is used to attempt to achieve low tailpipe CH4 emissions.
This combined aftertreatment solution becomes a significant proportion of the total engine cost due to the number of catalysts and the associated control requirements, making the natural gas a potentially expensive solution.
Additionally, there are operational challenges associated with lean burn natural gas engines. The MOC only achieves highly efficiency in the region of 500°C, which is rarely achieved under normal engine operation.
To meet these challenges, Ricardo has developed KINETA; low-cost aftertreatment solution which is able to oxidise methane at low temperatures with the use of alternative oxidising agents.
KINETA technology utilises ozone (O3) as the oxidant and uses a low-cost current production PGM free catalyst and has an active temperature range of between 180-350°C, rather than the 500°C of the traditional approach. This makes the technology very compatible with existing exhaust after-treatment installation locations and makes the lean burn operation of a natural gas engine more viable.
Whilst there is a cost associated with the on-board O3 generator and the associated power consumption, the solution is anticipated to deliver a significant greenhouse gas reduction at a lower cost compared with diesel and stoichiometric natural gas solutions.
Results has shown significant improvements in efficiency with a novel designed multi staged fixed bed reactor, leading to the potential to eliminate the expensive PGM based MOC
These results were presented at ATZ Heavy-Duty, On- and Off-Highway Engines 2019 conference on Tuesday 26th November 14:45
Could you be a member of the Ricardo Kineta Pre-Competitive Consortium? Starting in Q2 2020, it will validate the technology on a testbed engine, developing it to readiness for members to then undertake their own engine application developments. Contact us for more information: [email protected]