Each year, the number of vehicles on the road increases. However, society’s desire for more sustainable and environmentally friendly options is also growing. Most people are aware of the impact of air pollution and the contribution from cars and trucks is a growing concern for consumers. Automotive catalysts were one of the first means of decreasing the levels of pollution that vehicles produced, and this article will discuss the future of automotive catalysts and their positive impact on the environment.

Green car producing exhaust while driving down road

How do Automotive Catalysts Work?

CO oxidation is a critical reaction in automotive catalysts, and they have been studied in detail since the 1970s because of how fundamental it is to emission control regulations. Automotive catalysts are found in the exhaust system of vehicles and are used to control the emission into the atmosphere of harmful gases

such as carbon monoxide (CO), unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) as well as other particulate matter.

Automotive catalysts convert these harmful gases into gases that are less toxic such as carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O) and nitrogen (N2). Generally, automotive catalyst performance analysis is carried out by analyzing gas coming out of the exhaust. However, different areas of the automotive catalyst control different parts of the reaction. It is possible to monitor the reaction zones in the monolith using a capillary inlet system with the monolith channels.

Automotive catalysts are usually based on a metal or mixture of metals that are deposited on an inert monolithic material. However, the impact of the shape of the monolith is not well understood. To understand the impact of the monolith, the Hiden SpaciMS system (spatially resolved capillary inlet mass spectrometry) has been employed. The SpaciMS is made up of a range of capillaries that can be used to quantify gaseous species and temperature profiles for axial and radial orientation with increased temporal and spatial resolution. This means that mapping of species and temperature distribution can be carried out within the monolith.

NOx storage and reduction (NSR), also known as Lean NOx Trap (LNT) catalysts, is considered to be one of the most promising technologies for the removal of NOx from engine exhausts. In the NSR reaction, NOx is placed in lean conditions and then converted by H2, CO or hydrocarbons to N2 within a minimal rich period.

How Hiden Analytical are Involved with Automotive Catalysts

At Hiden, we manufacture quadrupole mass spectrometer systems which are critical to the research and development of treatments for the minimization or removal of potentially harmful byproducts from exhaust systems.

We have a range of gas analysis systems which have been fundamental in the examination of catalytic processes, ranging from catalyst characterization and development to reaction monitoring and optimization.

Our gas analysis systems can help researchers to understand intricate reaction mechanisms like LNT regeneration in automotive catalysts with spatially resolved data, allowing for deeper insights into catalyst performance.

Harmful emission from the automotive industry is an environmental problem that is being tackled across the globe. Hiden Analytical supplies advanced gas analysis systems which facilitate research and development into automotive catalysis and how they can be cleaner and greener. To find out more, contact us today.


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