Vapour catalyst set to cut diesel emissions

A method of reducing air pollution from diesel engines by 90 per cent went on trial in York this week.

Engineers from Emission Technology, based in Phoenix, Arizona, fitted the city council’s cars and Road Haulage Association’s vehicles with a system that sprays a catalyst into the engine combustion chamber.

Richard Tarry, managing director of Emissions Technology Europe, claimed the system delivers fuel savings and produces cleaner engines.

‘It works at the engine burn stage. It is what we call a vapour catalyst and its effects are increased horsepower and cleanliness,’ he said. ‘The other problem with normal catalytic converters is when you clean them they are a real health hazard. This product removes that danger.’

The catalyst consists of radium, rhenium and platinum. Unlike a conventional petrol catalytic converter, which filters emissions in the exhaust pipe, this is injected through the engine air intake in aerosol form.

Emissions Technology claims it helps the fuel to burn more completely during combustion which reduces the amount of unburned fuel particulates, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen that are released into the atmosphere.

The catalyst also plates the inside of the engine and exhaust assembly. That plating will absorb the unburnt hydrocarbons and other waste byproducts in the exhaust gases, further reducing emissions. Tarry claims that the plating also helps to clean the engine of carbon.

Plating can take 200-400 hours of engine running time. Measurements of emissions from the York vehicles will be carried out after 400 hours.

The trial will run for three months. The North Yorkshire Police and a local taxi firm are also preparing to test the equipment in the coming months.

The system is based on research by Trevor Griffiths, professor of chemistry at the University of Leeds, into the effects of platinum on the combustion process. Businesses interested in fitting the equipment to their own vehicles were invited to view the technology at a special workshop this week.