Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MIT's Plasmatron Cuts Diesel Bus Emissions, Promises Better Gas Engine Efficiency

Date:
October 22, 2003
Source:
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
Summary:
A bus in Indiana is the latest laboratory for MIT's plasmatron reformer, a small device its developers believe could significantly cut the nation's oil consumption as well as noxious emissions from a variety of vehicles.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A bus in Indiana is the latest laboratory for MIT's plasmatron reformer, a small device its developers believe could significantly cut the nation's oil consumption as well as noxious emissions from a variety of vehicles.

The work will be the subject of an invited talk next Thursday, October 30, at a meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Plasma Physics in Albuquerque, NM.

The researchers and colleagues from industry also reported plasmatron advances at a U.S. Department of Energy Diesel Engine Emissions Reduction (DEER) meeting in August. There they reported that the device, used with an exhaust treatment catalyst on a diesel engine bus, removed up to 90 percent of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the bus's emissions. Nitrogen oxides are the primary components of smog.

The plasmatron reformer also cut in half the amount of fuel needed for the removal process. "The absorption catalyst approach under consideration for diesel exhaust NOx removal requires additional fuel to work," explained Daniel R. Cohn, one of the leaders of the team and head of the Plasma Technology Division at MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). "The plasmatron reformer reduced that amount of fuel by a factor of two compared to a system without the plasmatron."

Cohn noted that the plasmatron reformer also allowed the NOx absorption catalyst to be effective at the low exhaust temperatures characteristic of urban use.

These results indicate that the plasmatron reformer, in conjunction with an NOx absorber catalyst, could be one of the most promising ways to meet stricter emissions limits for all heavy trucks and buses. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to institute the new limits by 2007.

"Diesel-engine vehicles generally do not have exhaust treatment systems," Cohn said, adding that treating diesel exhaust is much more difficult than gasoline exhaust.

Under development for the last six years, the plasmatron is an onboard "oil reformer" that converts a variety of fuels into high-quality, hydrogen-rich gas. Adding a relatively modest amount of such gas to the gasoline powering a car or to a diesel vehicle's exhaust is known to have benefits for cutting the emissions of pollutants. "Prior to the plasmatron reformer development, there was no attractive way to produce that hydrogen on board," said Cohn.

His colleagues are Leslie Bromberg (who will give next week's APS talk) and Alexander Rabinovich of the PSFC; John Heywood, director of MIT's Sloan Automotive Lab and the Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Rudolf M. Smaling, a graduate student in the Engineering Systems Division. Smaling is an engineering manager from ArvinMeritor, a major automotive and heavy truck components company that has licensed the plasmatron technology from MIT. The bus engine tests were performed at the company's facility in Columbus, Ind., by an ArvinMeritor team.

TOWARD INCREASED GASOLINE ENGINE EFFICIENCY

The team is finding that the device could make vehicles cleaner and more efficient, with a potentially significant impact on oil consumption.

"If widespread use of plasmatron hydrogen-enhanced gasoline engines could eventually increase the average efficiency of cars and other light-duty vehicles by 20 percent, the amount of gasoline that could be saved would be around 25 billion gallons a year," Cohn said. That corresponds to around 70 percent of the oil that is currently imported by the United States from the Middle East."

The Bush administration has made development of a hydrogen-powered vehicle a priority, Heywood noted. "That's an important goal, as it could lead to more efficient, cleaner vehicles, but is it the only way to get there? Engines using plasmatron reformer technology could have a comparable impact, but in a much shorter time frame," he said.

"Our objective is to have the plasmatron in production - and in vehicles - by 2010," Smaling said. ArvinMeritor is working with a vehicle concept specialist company to build a proof-of-concept vehicle that incorporates the plasmatron in an internal combustion engine. "We'd like to have a driving vehicle in one and a half years to demonstrate the benefits," Smaling said.

In the meantime, the team continues to improve the base technology. At the DEER meeting, Bromberg, for example, reported cutting the plasmatron's consumption of electric power "by a factor of two to three."

###

The work is funded by the Department of Energy's FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program and by ArvinMeritor.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. "MIT's Plasmatron Cuts Diesel Bus Emissions, Promises Better Gas Engine Efficiency." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061155.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. (2003, October 22). MIT's Plasmatron Cuts Diesel Bus Emissions, Promises Better Gas Engine Efficiency. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061155.htm
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. "MIT's Plasmatron Cuts Diesel Bus Emissions, Promises Better Gas Engine Efficiency." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061155.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins