Lean-burn gas engines have recently attracted attentions in the maritime industry, because they can reduce NOx, SOx and CO2 emissions. However, since methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas, the slipped methane which is the unburned methane emitted from the lean-burn gas engines likely contributes to global warming. It is thus important to make progress on exhaust aftertreatment technologies for lean-burn gas engines. A Palladium (Pd) catalyst for CH4 oxidation is expected to provide a countermeasure for slipped methane, because it can activate at lower exhaust gas temperature. However, a deactivation in higher water (H2O) concentration should be overcome, because H2O inhibits CH4 oxidation.

This study was performed investigates the effects of exhaust gas temperature or gas composition on active Pd catalyst sites to clarify CH4 oxidation performance in the exhaust gas of lean-burn gas engines. The authors developed the method of estimating effective active sites for the Pd catalyst at various exhaust gas temperature. The estimation method is based on the assumption that active sites used for CH4 oxidation process can be shared with the active sites used for Carbon mono-oxide (CO) oxidation. The molecular of chemisorbed CO on the active sites of the Pd catalyst can provide effective active sites for CH4 oxidation process. To clarify the effects of exhaust gas temperature and compositions on active Pd catalyst sites, the authors developed an experimental system for the new estimation method. This paper introduces experimental results and verifications of the new method, showing that chemisorbed CO volume on a Pd/Al2O3 catalyst is increased with increasing Pd loading in 250–450 °C, simulated as a typical exhaust gas temperature range of lean-burn gas engines. The results provide a part of the criteria for the application of Pd catalysts to the reduction of slipped methane in exhaust gas of lean-burn gas engines.

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