Environmental Catalysis

How can we reduce emissions from automotive engines?

Improving Catalytic
Converter Technology

Traditional automotive engines rely on a device known as a three-way catalytic converter to control exhaust emissions, removing harmful nitrogen oxides (NOX) and carbon monoxide (CO) from the combustion residues before they are released into the environment.

Unfortunately, the existing technology to support these devices fails to function efficiently at low temperatures, such as when the engine is starting up. In fact, vehicles fitted with catalytic converters emit most of their total pollution during the first five minutes of engine operation, before the catalytic converter has warmed up sufficiently to be fully effective.

0 %
of a vehicle's combined emissions are emitted during the first three minutes after a cold start.

Proactively addressing Tier 3 EPA regulation standards.

Tier 3 emission standards for light-duty vehicles were signed into law in March 2014.  The regulation requires that both NOx and hydrocarbons (HC) are effectively controlled during an automotive engine’s warm-up phase. The Tier 3 standards—closely aligned with California LEV III standards—are phased-in over the period from 2017 through 2025. This new legislation creates a pressing imperative to address this challenge.

Reducing cold start emissions via Passive NOx Adsorbers.

At CAER, our environmental catalysis teams are working hard to develop Passive NOx Adsorbers, engineered to effectively reduce harmful combustion emissions at low temperatures. This technology should be applicable to wide range of combustion modes, including stoichiometric gasoline, lean gasoline and diesel, in addition to advanced combustion modes currently under development.

Increasing durability and functionality.

HC/NOx adsorbers possess deficiencies in terms of their durability and ability to function under stoichiometric conditions. We aim to address these deficiencies, with the goal of developing a viable technology for use in both diesel and gasoline applications.


Can we transform a harmful pollutant
into a renewable energy source?

Learn more about algae research ›

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