AEA produces filter for diesel cars that cuts particulates by 80%

One of Europe's largest environmental consultancies has developed a self-cleaning filter designed to reduce diesel emissions without the need for low sulphur fuel or petrol additives.

The Electrocat Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) uses electrostatically-enhanced filtration combined with plasma filter regeneration to remove particulates, including ultrafines, as well as polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

“The particles pass through a plasma which causes a chemical reaction,” Andrew Strange of AEA Technology told edie.”It results in a 80% reduction in particulate emission and a very slightly higher CO² emission – a fraction of 1%. Since diesel engines have a lower CO² emission anyway, it isn’t a problem.”

AEA hopes to attract a partner, through a joint venture or licensing agreement, who would mass produce and market the Electrocat. The filter can be integrated into the design of new vehicles or can be retrofitted to older vehicles. The technology can also be applied to static diesel engines, such as generators, as well as commercial fleet vehicles, buses, trains and ships.

“We see the Electrocat as one day being industry standard,” said Strange. “The industry needs to come up with technology to meet EU particulate standards that come into force in 2005. This is a solution that works. We’ve been testing it for a long time on London taxis – the engine design on London taxis is very old – and it works.”

The Electrocat represents AEA’s first foray into the cleaner fuels market. The company has worked in the area of plasma technology and saw the opportunity to apply plasma to the automotive emissions reduction sector. The product was designed and produced at AEA’s Oxfordshire offices.

The filter has been nominated for a Financial Times Global Automotive Award, to be announced on 15 September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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