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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H024492/1
Title: Rapid Pulse Discharges: A New Approach to Particulate Filter Regeneration
Principal Investigator: Garner, Professor CP
Other Investigators:
Williams, Dr AM Binner, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
3D X-Ray Ltd Caterpillar Inc (Global)
Department: Sch of Mechanical and Manufacturing Eng
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 02 May 2010 Ends: 01 December 2013 Value (£): 500,249
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Nov 2009 Process Environment and Sustainability Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The project will research a radically new approach to cleaning surfaces that uses pulsed electric discharges to efficiently regenerate engine exhaust particulate filters. It has class-leading features that make it potentially both commercially and technically very attractive.IC engines are the major source of motive power in the world, a fact that is expected to continue well into this century. Whilst diesel engines emit low CO2 emissions, and have good fuel economy and good durability, they emit significant amounts of particulate matter (PM) emissions that are potentially harmful. Engine and vehicle legislation introduced in the EU, US and Asia can only be achieved with the use of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) with further reductions proposed for 2013. Without regular cleaning (regeneration) DPFs become clogged after about 150 miles of vehicle operation leading to a high exhaust back-pressure on the engine, resulting in poor performance and fuel economy. Whilst current DPFs yield >95% reductions in PM by forcing the gas stream through a porous ceramic wall, to-date the regeneration systems suffer from high power consumption, unreliability, unacceptably high cost and limited choice of materials, or are simply too bulky and complex. The step-change in regeneration technology proposed here will achieve a more ideal system and could enable wider application of DPFs to a greater number of engines and applications.The research proposed here will achieve the advantages of a non-thermal non-oxidative regeneration system without either the sensitivity to filter geometry and pore structure or a prohibitively high power consumption, bulky, heavy and noisy regeneration system. The new concept uses pulsed electric discharges to rapidly and very efficiently remove the PM from the filter surface without oxidation. Preliminary results suggest that shock waves produced by pulsed electric discharges within the filter overcome surface forces to break the bond of the PM with the filter surface using as little as 10 W electrical power for a whole filter. The combined effect of the pressure waves within the filter and the electric field accompanying the discharge break up the agglomerated particulates and allow efficient removal of the PM from the filter using a small reverse flow. The PM is then captured in a container, from where it can be subsequently destroyed, e.g. by a robust and easily controlled electric heater, or compacted and stored, reducing carbon emissions. The result is the rapid, low power, durable, effective and low cost regeneration of diesel particulate filters without ash accumulation. A very significant additional advantage of electrical discharges are that they are attracted to the most electrically conducting sites within the filter, i.e. once the discharge has cleaned one region it will self select a region with higher PM loadings.The research is strongly supported by key partners Caterpillar and 3DX-Ray Ltd., who will be providing substantial support in terms of cash, equipment, staff time and exploitation paths. This will enhance the impact of the research, which is expected to be high in terms of new scientific and technical knowledge, commercial value and societal benefits to the environment.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk