Lean NOx trap catalysts have demonstrated the ability to reduce NOx emissions from lean natural gas reciprocating engines by >90%. The technology operates in a cyclic fashion where NOx is trapped on the catalyst during lean operation and released and reduced to N2 under rich exhaust conditions; the rich cleansing operation of the cycle is referred to as “regeneration” since the catalyst is reactivated for more NOx trapping after NOx purge. Creating the rich exhaust conditions for regeneration can be accomplished by catalytic partial oxidation of methane in the exhaust system. Furthermore, catalytic reforming of partial oxidation exhaust can enable increased quantities of H2 which is an excellent reductant for lean NOx trap regeneration. It is critical to maintain clean and efficient partial oxidation and reforming processes to keep the lean NOx trap functioning properly and to reduce extra fuel consumption from the regeneration process. Although most exhaust constituents do not impede partial oxidation and reforming, some exhaust constituents may negatively affect the catalysts and result in loss of catalytic efficiency. Of particular concern are common catalyst poisons sulfur, zinc, and phosphorous. These poisons form in the exhaust through combustion of fuel and oil, and although they are present at low concentrations, they can accumulate to significant levels over the life of an engine system. In the work presented here, the effects of sulfur on the partial oxidation and reforming catalytic processes were studied to determine any durability limitations on the production of reductants for lean NOx trap catalyst regeneration.

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