Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc., a leader in advanced emission control technology, introduced a new leg of its advanced materials platform: Base-Metal Activated Rhodium Support (BMARSTM) technology.
BMARS is one of CDTi's new, key enabling catalytic powder materials — developed to reduce the dependence on the use of costly platinum group metals (PGMs) in vehicle emission control systems — currently undergoing vehicle and engine testing at third-party laboratories.
Initial test results demonstrate that in a typical two-catalyst configuration using a close-coupled (CC) and an underfloor (UF) catalyst, BMARS, with 50% less PGM, outperformed the OEM catalyst system on a popular passenger car. In addition, the BMARS CC catalyst alone outperformed the OEM CC+UF system. This offers OEMs the prospect of eliminating the UF catalyst unit altogether while achieving a greater than 50% PGM cost reduction on the remaining CC catalyst unit, resulting in an overall potential cost savings of over $200 per vehicle.
Chris Harris, CDTi's President and CEO, stated: "2015 is a big year for us. It is the year when we expect to validate our advanced materials platforms on vehicles at independent testing facilities. BMARS represents another breakthrough technology, in addition to SPGM™ DOC and Spinel™, which we plan to employ in our own catalyst coatings and commercialize more broadly with other industry coaters in a proprietary powder form. Initial tests reveal that BMARS delivers superior oxides of nitrogen (NOx) reduction on modern turbo-charged gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines compared to OEM catalysts, and the potential to greatly simplify an automotive exhaust system by reducing a two-catalyst system to a single catalyst."
On the 88 million passenger cars produced annually, rhodium (Rh) is the key PGM used to drive NOx conversion in gasoline three-way catalysts. Automotive OEMs spend approximately $1 billion per year on Rh according to information derived from Johnson Matthey's PGM Report – November 2014. The auto industry's reliance on Rh has helped fuel significant price volatility in the past, with prices ranging from $890 to $10,100 per troy ounce during the past 10 years. Recently, Rh has been near historic lows, averaging $1,127 per troy ounce during the first half of May 2015. Without innovations like BMARS, Rh prices could surge as automakers increase usage in order to meet the 80% NOx reduction requirement under the EPA's new Tier 3 regulations, and as OEMs move toward more fuel-efficient turbo-charged GDI engines and hybrids.
Benchmark testing of BMARS technology was conducted on a model year 2014 Buick vehicle with a 2.0 liter engine and on a 1.6 liter engine from a model year 2012 BMW Mini using industry standard Federal Test Procedure (FTP) aging and test protocols. Both are turbo-charged GDI engines, with the Buick's OEM catalyst certified to EPA's Tier 2 Bin 4 standard and the BMW Mini's OEM catalyst certified to the EURO 5 standard. Initial tests demonstrated BMARS has the potential to significantly reduce the PGM loading on the catalyst while still achieving tailpipe regulations for NOx, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons (HC). The activation of Rh by the new technology enabled the reduction of palladium (Pd) loadings as well as Rh. In addition, BMARS demonstrated greater oxygen storage capacity (OSC), which is vital for calibration and on-board diagnostics of emissions systems.
Consistent with the Company's stated advanced materials strategy, several patents have been filed on BMARS compositions, processes and applications. Commercialization efforts for OEM and aftermarket applications of BMARS powder-based catalysts are well underway. Meanwhile, vehicle and engine testing continues on other CDTi advanced catalyst materials, including Spinel™, with more interim results soon to be announced.