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Improved deNOx zeolite catalyst promises to reduce fuel consumption

By Tetsuo Satoh |

In a project of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki, Japan; www.nedo.go.jp), a collaboration of six industrial, government and academic partners has developed a catalyst for reducing oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from automobile exhaust. Because the catalyst operates at both low and high temperatures (for example, during startup and normal running), the achievement may lead to a “dramatic improvement in fuel consumption,” says NEDO.

Two innovations were key to the development: an ultra-fast process for synthesizing zeolites, and a method for producing fine particle powders.

The University of Tokyo, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., developed the optimized Cu-type zeolite catalyst using an ultrafast procedure to introduce Cu into Na-type zeolites. The procedure uses two flow-reactor systems for mixing liquids to quickly generate a zeolite structure while reducing structural defects “to the utmost limit” (see also Chem. Eng., January 2017, p. 11; www.chemengonline.com/a-very-fast-way-to-continuously-synthesize-zeolites-2). The reactor system requires only tens of minutes to as little as 6 s, compared to several days to weeks needed for conventional zeolite synthesis methods.

The Industrial Technology Center of Tochigi Prefecture and Ashizawa Finetech, Ltd. developed a scalable technology for fabricating fine powders while suppressing the formation of amorphous zeolites. Their technology, which combines continuous bead mills and other machinery, enables full control of the particle-diameter density of active sites. The Fine Ceramics Center and AIST contributed to the clarification of the reaction mechanisms and how that relates to catalytic performance and its degradation.

The new catalyst is highly active at low temperatures and remains highly active and durable, even after undergoing high-temperature durability testing. This catalyst is therefore suitable for use at temperature zones in which conventional catalysts do not function.

zeolite catalyst

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