CORDIS - EU research results

Elimination of NOx, SOx and Particulates in Rail Transportation

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ENSPIRIT (Elimination of NOx, SOx and Particulates in Rail Transportation)

Project Context and Objectives:
FP7 Seventh Framework Programme Research Project - Grant Agreement No. 605019
Elimination of NOx, SOx and Particulates in Rail Transportation
This report covers the work carried out during the first reporting period (1st November 2013 to 31 July 2014) of the European Commission Framework 7 project “ENSPIRIT”- Elimination of NOx, SOx and Particulates in Rail Transportation
The background of ENSPIRIT relates to the diesel Locomotive engines which are significant contributors to air pollution in many cities and ports. Although locomotive engines being produced today must meet relatively modest emission requirements set in 1997, they continue to emit large amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (PM).
The 2008 Clean Air Non-road Diesel Rule stipulates new requirements for non-road diesel fuel that will decrease the allowable levels of sulphur in fuel used in locomotives by 99 percent. These fuel improvements will create immediate and significant environmental and public health benefits by reducing PM from existing engines.
The rule also establishes long-term, Tier 4, standards for newly-built engines based on the application of high-efficiency catalytic after treatment technology, beginning in 2015.
Although established Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) processes appear effective, there remain several problems such as high reaction temperatures, which sometimes require reheating of the flue gas, a large reactor volume, and the need for reductant ammonia. In addition, the process is not applicable to NO in low concentrations and at ambient temperature. As NO2 is easily removed by water, catalytic oxidation of NO to NO2 at a low temperature is a promising way of removing NO in flue gas without using ammonia.
In the ENSPIRIT project, the core research work is focussing on the production of a pre-production prototype catalytic device for NO oxidation over Activated Carbon (AC) at ambient temperature. The catalytic device will be integrated into a system of combined devices for the removal of heat, moisture, Sulphur oxides, ultrafine particulate matter and Nitrogen oxides. The integrated ENSPIRIT system will provide a complete cost-effective, energy-efficient way of meeting the EPA Tier 4 non-road emission rule in 2015.

Project Results:
WP1 New Scientific Knowledge
The purpose of work package 1 is to guide the design and testing of the sub-systems which need to be developed, and their integration in WP 2 (Development of low temperature catalytic oxidation reactor) & WP3 (Development of optimised in-situ microwave regeneration apparatus), and to guide the adaptation and integration of the sub-systems already available.
Description of Main Results obtained in Work package 1:
- Forms and sources of AC and use in catalysis established
- Methods of desorption using microwaves and their in-situ use in catalytic reactors established
- Both EU and USA are in the process of implementing more stringent emission legislations on locomotive diesel trains; there are concerted efforts to reduce the locomotive diesel train emissions by the engine suppliers and the train operators.
- Diesel fuel regulation, notably reductions in fuel sulphur is introduced to ensure the effectiveness of after-treatment technology
- Reaction temperature. Conversion of NO to NO2 sharply decreases with temperature increase. Temperatures in the 30-40 degC range are reported to offer the best conversions. At high temperature some of the NO can be reduced to N2.
- Reaction Humidity. Oxidation of NO to NO2 is severely reduced by humidity. The humidity influence is related to reaction temperature and increasing the temperature restrains the inhibitive effect of humidity.
- NO concentration. Conversion of NO to NO2 decreases with decreasing NO concentration but high conversions are reported for NO concentrations as low as 100-200ppm.
- Gas flow rate. Published work indicates that NO conversion decreases with increased gas flow rate but on the other hand the conversion rate increases (NO conversion per gram of AC per unit of time). This has implications on the space velocities that need to be employed and hence on the reactor design.
- The main features of the experimental protocol have been proposed: the EDC development, the sample line configuration, the analytical instruments for emissions, the test vehicles, the number of test repetitions and the data statistical elaborations useful to detect the pre-prototype effectiveness in achieving the project goals.
- The Process Flow Diagram showing the overall system has been completed
- The space envelope for the prototype defined as W2.5m x L2.5m x H2.5m The pilot system specification developed with consideration for the full locomotive system
- Realization of an experimental cycle, named EDC; similarly to the locomotive cycles, EDC will be composed of an idle starting phase and of a subsequent sequence of 8 constant speed segments, progressively ascending from 0 to 120 km/h, following as much as possible the locomotive engine behaviour during emission test.
- Deliverable 1.1 A specification for the characteristics of the ENSPIRIT has been completed and submitted
WP2 Development of low temperature catalytic oxidation reactor
In WP2 we have further understood the low temperature catalytic oxidation of NO which has guided the design and manufacture of the catalytic oxidation reactor sub-system which needs to be integrated in the ENSPIRIT system.
Description of Main Results obtained in Work package 2:
- AC granules suitable for NO oxidation were purchased in the form required for the experimental work with AC catalyst.
- Two tubular reactors were designed with inner diameters of 26.2 mm and 50.8 mm.
- The reactors were designed for installation inside a furnace that allows operation under controlled temperature conditions. A furnace was supplied by Lenton Company.
- The reactor gas supply system was designed to allow tests with gas mixtures of N2, O2, CO2, NO and H2O. The system allows control of gas mixture composition and flow rate. A humidifier supplied by FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGIES, INC. was incorporated in the gas supply system.
- A gas sampling system designed for the purpose of analysis of the gas upstream and downstream of the reactor.
- The test rig fully commissioned and the experimental methodology was optimised. This included the procedure for introduction of humidity into the reactor as well as control of gas sampling flows.
- Preliminary investigation of low temperature NO oxidation with AC at different reactor conditions (temperature, flow rates, catalyst quantity) was carried out and guidelines for the main NO oxidation experimental work developed.
- A Venturi Mixer has been designed for the introduction of ozone into the system.
- The prototype catalytic reactor has been designed.
- Deliverable 2.1 A report detailing the results of the catalysis trials and optimisation has been completed and submitted
- Deliverable 2.2 A report detailing the manufacture of the prototype reactor(s): A report detailing the manufacture of the prototype reactor(s) has been completed and submitted
- Deliverable 2.3 Prototype low temperature reactor: Prototype low temperature AC catalytic reactor(s)
- Milestone 1 The production of prototype low temperature AC catalytic reactor(s)
WP3 Development of optimised in-situ microwave regeneration apparatus
Work in WP3 carried out during Period 1 has in the first instance related to Task 3.1 to source and prepare catalytic material. This has allowed completion of work in Task 3.2 relating to trials with adsorbate test gas and task 3.3 relating to work to optimise microwave irradiation regime. It has also allowed commencement of Task 3.3 where we have initiated production of designs for and manufacture components for in-situ regeneration system
Description of Main Results obtained in Work Package 3:
- Successfully sourced and prepared the catalytic material.
- Technique has been successfully implemented to measure the changes in the AC surface area.
- Accurately calculated the moisture contents in to the samples using a moisture analyser
- Optimisation of microwave requirements has been completed in the work presented.
- Analysis has been completed using multiple sample sizes in an attempt to accurately predict the microwave requirements for an up-scaled prototype
- Antenna dimension for the final is agreed and achieved
- Final system architecture is well advanced
- Deliverable 3.1 Laboratory system for adsorbate gas throughput and microwave desorption has been completed and submitted
- Deliverable 3.2 Report on the optimised microwave regime for minimum has been completed and submitted
- Deliverable 3.3 Draft report on the Prototype in-situ catalyst microwave system has been made available
WP4 System Integration
Work in WP4 was started early during Period 1 to allow the initial design layout for least volume configuration in line with the space envelop available for testing in Milan.
Description of Main Results obtained in Work Package 4:
- The initial lay-out based on modular configuration to allow for transportation between partners and be easily shippable and also demountable for final system testing in Milano has been completed
- The specification for the waste heat recovery heat exchanger completed.
WP5 System testing
Work in WP5 was started early to initiate the Pilot test design particularly to allow identification and acquisition in advance of some of the proprietary parts with long lead time as well as to ensure the initial lay out can be accommodated in the test lab in Milan.
Description of Main Results obtained in Work Package 5:
- Determination on the EDC of the ENSPIRIT pre-prototype effectiveness in reducing NOx > 75% and PM2.5 > 98% (referring both to line-haul and switch locomotives emission weighting factors reported in the US legislation).
WP7 Exploitation & Dissemination
Activities in Period 1 have focussed on: the generation of a detailed dissemination and exploitation plan; protection and exploitation of knowledge; and the technology transfer and dissemination to target and wider markets.
The public website has been created for both as a Promotion and dissemination through the website’s public area where non-confidential information can be viewed in order to disseminate the projects objectives ahead of formal dissemination events and for partners to be able to view documentation created as a result of any research, meetings, presentations and disseminations events.
An ENSPIRIT Project ‘Image’ has also been generated and in the process of having it registered as a trademark. A draft dissemination and exploitation plan has been created and submitted as detailed in Deliverable report 7.3 Draft Exploitation Strategy. It also includes the Publishable Project materials that will allow effective technology transfer, dissemination and project promotion activities by the project partners. The standard promotion materials will also ensure appropriate look and feel, with the correct Project image. This includes Project Banner, as detailed in Deliverable 7.3 Project case Study and Project Flyer. However in order to ensure commercial advantage is not compromised, some of the materials will not be used until patent issue has been finalised
Description of main Results Obtained in Work Package WP7:
- The Enspirit Web Portal for partner and public use
- Project Image case study and banner created to allow technology transfer and dissemination to target and wider markets.
- Deliverable 7.3 Draft Exploitation Strategy completed

Potential Impact:
Expected Final Results and Potential Impacts
The integrated ENSPIRIT system will provide a complete cost-effective, energy-efficient way of meeting the EPA Tier 4 non-road emission rule which will come into force in 2015 for both old, remanufactured locomotives and newly built. The ENSPIRIT low temperature activated carbon oxidative catalytic device is designed to be used by train operators without the need for any input from service providers apart from periodic function checks. It is envisaged that the system will be—at least at the working prototype stage—contained in a tender behind the locomotive(s). One ENSPIRIT system will eliminate emissions from at least two locomotives in tandem. The system will be a major contribution to the provision of more environmentally friendly rail transportation without resorting to massive capital outlay or having to use precious metal catalysts at high temperatures and with the other inherent drawbacks – all of which would impinge unfavourably on the economics of both freight and passenger rail transportation provision. The project and the technology development will deliver a system to meet the needs of locomotive operators by providing a retro-fittable, total emissions abatement unit. The unit will have a time between function checks of approximately four to six months.
It is estimated that the ENSPIRIT system will achieve a selling price of €448,000 (it was €385,000 in original Dow but this has been updated based on the latest marketing information,) and will be more effective and more reliable and offer more flexibility and functionality than any current systems. In achieving these selling prices and the technologically additional performance, we estimate that in the first 5 years of commercialisation target market penetration of 0.29% is forecast which will deliver cumulative revenue of €24.8m with cumulative profits for the consortium of €9.4m and an attractive payback (at a discount rate of 10%) of 4.5 years, which includes one year post project where there is no revenue generated.

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