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New materials range for Diesel after-treatment.


Rhodia is applying 20 years of experience in gasoline catalysis (with Actalys/Optalys) to develop new solutions for Diesel engines. The market for automotive Diesel emissions control is growing rapidly as increasingly stringent regulations are being implemented in Europe (where more than 50% of new car registrations are Diesels) and for heavy duty vehicles in the US.

Eolys technology: over 3 million vehicles

Called additive-based Diesel Particulate Filter (A-DPF) or fuel-borne catalyst Diesel Particulate Filter (FBC-DPF) technology, Rhodia's Eolys technology has been fitted to over three million vehicles currently on the road in Europe. Eolys is a chemical added to Diesel fuel in very low concentrations of only a few parts per million. After passing through the combustion process, it is trapped in the particulate filter along with the soot particulates emitted by the engine.

By catalyzing the combustion of these trapped particulates, Eolys solves a crucial problem--namely, how to completely regenerate the particulate filter at low temperature. Put another way, it provides a solution to the challenge of cleaning the filter when it is completely filled with soot particulates and the temperature of the exhaust gas is too low to initiate combustion on its own. The low dosage reduces ash build-up in the filter and results in a maintenance-free solution. Eolys [TM] third generation provides a "Fit for life" DPF solution without maintenance for 150,000 miles (no refilling of the FBC tank and no filter replacement).

"This technology has been developed to meet the requirements of all kind of diesel vehicles and is particularly well-suited for urban and semi-urban cycles, says Eric Noyrez, General Manager of Rhodia Silcea.

The best environmental compromise

Field evaluation has shown that Rhodia's additive enables the filter regeneration temperature to be lowered by about 200[degrees]C and to reduce the particulate combustion time to less than three minutes, as opposed to 20 to 30 minutes frequently necessary for other technologies.

--Particulates: This technology eliminates more than 99.9% the number of particulates in the exhaust gas. In emissions terms, this translates to approximately 1-3 mg/km particulates emitted over the standardized European MVEG cycle, which is similar to the emissions levels of most gasoline vehicles and even lower than some.

-- CO2: Black Carbon particulates show a global warming potential thousands times higher than that of CO2, but a short life time in the atmosphere. Removing soot particles from Diesel exhaust gases is a very efficient way to address environmental issues, and buy us time to deal with the general reduction of CO2 emissions. Technologies to remove soot particles from the Diesel exhausts are available now. The A-DPF technology to triggers the filter regeneration at a very low temperature. The high system reactivity limits the additional diesel fuel consumption necessary for the regeneration operation to less than 1% (compared to 3 to 5% for other technologies). This may prove even more substantial in medium- and heavy-duties applications. The 1% extra fuel consumption used to regenerate the filter is more than balanced by saving the global warming effect of the soot particles.

-- NO2: With the A-DPF technology, the regeneration is catalyzed by Eolys and not by NO2. The A-DPF technology has no impact on NO2 emissions. It does not rely on this pollutant to regenerate the filter, and thus appears to be the best compromise for NO2 emissions.

Solutions such as these are becoming more important as countries focus on reducing emissions. Upcoming regulations for Diesel vehicles, Euro 5 in 2009 in Europe and Tier 2 Bin 5 in 2010 in the US, will enforce a large reduction of soot emissions. "The use of a filter will be mandatory to meet these regulations. The performance of the system during the regeneration under all driving conditions is key. The objective is to get a complete and controlled regeneration of the filter, even at a low temperature, such as in city driving conditions, and even when the diesel particulate filter (DPF) is positioned in a remote under-floor position. Setting up the system with deNOx catalytic technologies will make it even more critical," explains Olivier Touret, Director of Rhodia's Catalysis business.

With over 3 million cars equipped, Eolys has now been proven through extensive use in Europe without a single failure. Demonstration programs have been carried out worldwide that have confirmed the benefits of additive-based technology: performance, flexibility in terms of fuel sulfur content, durability under difficult driving cycles, no impact on NO2 emissions, and cost benefits. In the US, registration by the EPA of fuel additives for on-road applications is subject to a specific regulatory procedure. Rhodia is currently following this procedure in order to register the third generation Eolys additive.

Developing new materials

New acidic materials called Acidic Mixed Oxides are being developed through a partnership between Rhodia Silcea and MEL Chemicals in order to reduce Diesel emissions.

Both companies have considerable know-how and strong positions in the supply of materials for gasoline emissions control. Currently, neither company supplies acidic mixed oxides for Diesel applications. "By working with MEL we will benefit from a number of synergies which will enable us to rapidly bring these new materials to market," says Eric Noyrez from Rhodia.

"By developing innovative materials offering properties specifically suited to use in technologies such as Diesel Oxidation Catalysis and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), MEL & Rhodia believe that we can assist catalyst producers in developing better and more durable technologies," says Eddie Haughey, MD of MEL Chemicals.

The first phase of the collaborative program focuses on developing high surface area, doped zirconias; the use of specific inorganic dopants combined with proprietary manufacturing processes gives highly acidic materials with good sulfur resistance and high thermal stability. These properties should help enhance catalyst performance and durability whilst simultaneously reducing the amount of precious metals (the active ingredient) used in the catalyst.

Growing portfolio

In 2007, Rhodia Silcea has increased its product range through the acquisition of the Alumina washcoat business from W. R. Grace & Co. Aluminas are used often in catalysts formulations, for gasoline as well as for growing Diesel exhaust control technologies, such as Diesel oxidation catalysts, washcoats for catalyzed soot filters, emerging deNOx (NOx trap) catalysts. Rhodia proposes a whole range of aluminas with different reactivities and pore modes. These can be stabilized or functionalized with rare earths--or other elements--to meet the catalyst-producers-performance-targets. Aluminas complement Rhodia's Rare Earth product range for the automotive emissions control systems. "In addition to our partnership with MEL Chemicals, this acquisition thus strengthens Rhodia's position as a key supplier to this fast-growing market," says Eric Noyrez, General Manager of Rhodia Silcea.


Silcea is Rhodia's fine inorganic chemistry enterprise and the global leader in rare earth-based materials and high performance silica, Rhodia Silcea supplies major players focused on sustainable mobility with a complete range of materials for exhaust emissions control. On the electronics market. Silcea is the specialist for phosphors used in low-energy lamps, LCD and plasma flat screens. Inventor of highly dispersible silica, which in particular reduces fuel consumption, Rhodia Silcea is a key partner for the tire industry. as well as the elastomr, feed and food industries.

Rhodia is an international chemical company resolutely committed to sustainable development. Leader in its businesses, the Group aims to improve its customers' performance through the pursuit of operational excellence and its ability to innovate, Structured around seven enterprises. Rhodia is the partner of major players in the automotive, tire. electronics, perfume, health and beauty and home care markets, The Group employs around 16.000 people worldwide and generated sales of $4.8 billion in 2006. Rhodia is listed on Euronext Paris.
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Title Annotation:innovation
Author:Palmen, Nick
Publication:Automotive Industries
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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