Approaches to Integrating Catalytic Aerogel Materials into Three-way Catalytic Converters.

Bradford  Bruno, Union College

Approaches to Integrating Catalytic Aerogel Materials into Three-way Catalytic Converters.

Bradford A. Bruno1, Mary K. Carroll2, Ann M. Anderson1

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2Department of Chemistry

Union College, Schenectady NY 12308 USA

This poster summarizes findings from our group’s investigations into the opportunities and challenges associated with incorporating catalytic aerogel materials (CAMs) into three-way catalytic converters (TWCs).  We have demonstrated the ability to synthesize several candidate CAMs, including copper-alumina, copper-silica, ceria-alumina and platinum-alumina, via a novel rapid supercritical extraction (RSCE) process and using several distinct synthetic approaches to introduce the catalytically active species into the aerogel matrix1-3. The synthetic approaches include impregnating sol-gels with solutions of metal salts via solvent exchanges, forming sol-gels from “co-precursor” solutions containing salts of the active metal species, and incorporating commercially available metal nanoparticles into the aerogel precursor recipe. The resulting CAMs have been characterized (surface area, SEM/EDX, X-ray diffraction) and tested for TWC activity under conditions representative of use in automotive gasoline engines. Several recipes, including some that do not contain platinum group metals, show promising levels of catalytic activity. In addition to verifying that CAMs show TWC activity we have evaluated important performance aspects including demonstrations of high temperature stability and numerical studies that indicate that CAMs’ low mass can reduce time to light-off. We have demonstrated that CAMs can be slurried and that they can be exposed to actual (humid) exhaust environments and retain their catalytic activity. We have also developed several methods for ruggedizing the aerogels, including laser-machining of CAM monoliths, offering a potential alternative to the standard cordierite/washcoating approach. These findings point to the promise of aerogel catalysts.

  1. Dunn, N. J., Brown, L. B., Juhl, S. J., Anderson, A. M., Bruno, B. A., & Mahony, M. K. (2016). U.S. Patent No. 9,358,534. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Anderson, A. M., Bruno, B. A., Donlon, E. A., Posada, L. F., & Carroll, M. K. (2018). Fabrication and testing of catalytic aerogels prepared via rapid supercritical extraction. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), (138), e57075.
  3. Anderson, A. M., Bruno, B. A., Dilone, F., LaRosa, M. T., Andre, T. F., Avanessian, C., & Carroll, M. K. (2020). Effect of Copper Loading in Copper-Alumina Aerogels on Three-Way Catalytic Performance. Emission Control Science and Technology, 6(3), 324-335.

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