Biodiesel claims victories in NOx-stringent states.

By | November 01, 2005
In California and Texas, three recent victories in the war on diesel exhaust pollution took place on the biodiesel front.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently approved Johnson Matthey's continuous regenerating technology (CRT) diesel particulate filter (DPF) for use with B20 blends of ASTM D6751 biodiesel blended with ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), which is a first for biodiesel-not only in California, but nationwide.

According to Urszula Miezio, a business development and marketing specialist with Johnson Matthey, the company has had its CRT DPF verified for use with approved diesel fuels (e.g., ULSD) by both CARB and the U.S. EPA for several years. "The verification process covers certain vehicle families and certain fuels at a verification site," Miezio said. "The extension of the main CRT verification to cover B20 meant [the Johnson Matthey team] had to go out and do some extra work and statistical analyses."

The CRT DPF is similar to a flow-through channeled catalytic converter, but the filter itself is not coated with catalytic precious metals, and every other flow-through channel is plugged. The solid particulate matter (PM) gets trapped in these plugs while the gaseous exhaust flows through the permeable cell walls. This traps the PM and continually regenerates it, or burns it (to avoid backpressure), by first going through an upstream oxidation catalyst, which lowers the burning rate of the PM from 400 degrees Fahrenheit to an easily reached 240 degrees, Miezio said.

In Texas, two victories for biodiesel recently took place. Texas is implementing its low emissions diesel policy (TxLED-see state feature in July 2005 Biodiesel Magazine), whereby biodiesel blends must be approved by the state in order to be legally sold in a designated 110-county zone.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently approved an additive-GTAT California's Viscon additive-for use with both No. 2 diesel and B20 blends of biodiesel. Under TxLED rules, any diesel fuel needs to meet a minimum cetane number of 48 and no more than 10 percent of total aromatic hydrocarbons by volume. Standard No. 2 diesel would not meet TxLED's goal of NOx reduction without an additive such as Viscon. This is the first additive to be approved for use with both biodiesel and No. 2 diesel fuel.

Also in Texas, Biodiesel Industries Inc. recently became the first biodiesel producer in the state to have its own B20 biodiesel blend state certified for sale in the 110-county non-attainment region. The company reports that its proprietary B20 blend reduces NOx by more than 8 percent and PM by more than 20 percent, compared to No. 2 Diesel.
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