Deactivation of emission control catalysts for heavy-duty vehicles

Impact of biofuel and lube oil-derived contaminants

Time: Fri 2020-02-28 10.00

Location: Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Chemical Engineering

Doctoral student: Sandra Dahlin , Processteknologi

Opponent: Professor Isabella Nova,

Supervisor: Professor Lars Pettersson, Processteknologi


Catalytic emission control is used to reduce the negative impact of pollutants from diesel exhausts on our health and on the environment. For a heavy-duty truck, such a system consists of a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), a diesel particulate filter (DPF), a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst, and an ammonia slip catalyst (ASC). Due to greenhouse-gas induced global warming, it is necessary to decrease the emissions of such gases. Two strategies for this reduction are: 1) to produce engines that are more fuel efficient, 2) to use sustainably produced renewable fuels such as biodiesel and HVO. However, both these strategies may pose additional challenges for the emission control system: a colder exhaust due to the higher fuel-efficiency requires the use of highly active catalysts; catalyst deactivation related to impurities in biofuels, which requires very robust catalysts.   The objective of this thesis was to study the impact of biofuel as well as lubrication oil-related contaminants on the performance of emission control catalysts (DOC and SCR catalysts) for heavy-duty diesel engines. The main focus has been on the low-temperature performance of V2O5-WO3/TiO2 (VWTi) and Cu-SSZ-13 SCR catalysts.    Results from the project have shown that both Cu-SSZ-13 and VWTi catalysts capture and can be deactivated by phosphorus (P), while only the Cu-SSZ-13 is deactivated by sulfur (S). The degree of the P-related deactivation depends on the concentration in the catalyst, which depends on content of P in the exhaust and the exposure time, as well as the type of catalyst. S-deactivation of Cu-SSZ-13 is observed at low temperatures, where un-poisoned Cu-SSZ-13 are significantly more active than VWTi catalysts. As a contrast, the VWTi-performance can even be improved by sulfur; but alkali metals are severe poisons to VWTi catalysts. Partial performance-recovery of S-poisoned Cu-SSZ-13 can be obtained by exposing it to sulfur-free exhausts at elevated temperatures. The use of an upstream DOC, providing fast SCR conditions to the SCR catalyst, considerably improves the low-temperature performance of the VWTi, as well as sulfur-poisoned Cu-SSZ-13 catalysts. An upstream DOC also protects the SCR catalysts from phosphorus deactivation, as it can trap large amounts of P. However, if too much phosphorus is captured by the DOC, severe deactivation of this catalyst results, which lowers the overall performance of the exhaust treatment system.  Insights from this project will guide the development of robust exhaust treatment systems for various applications. Additionally, it could aid in developing more durable emission control catalysts.