The Reduction of Greenhouse Gases by Combustion Catalysis

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
The reduction in man's contribution to the Greenhouse effect will only be achieved by a number of small steps. Some steps will absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere in slightly greater quantities, others will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide generated. This paper deals with the reduction of carbon dioxide by improving the combustion efficiency of petroleum fuels. Until recently most reductions in fuel consumption and air pollution have been brought about through mechanical adjustments to combustion equipment. Since the development of tetraethyl lead, little has been done to chemically modify combustion reactions to improve fuel efficiency or reduce emissions. During the past five years Australian laboratory and field trials with ferrous picrate treatment have demonstrated significant and economic gains in the combustion efficiency of diesel fuels. These studies have revealed that even under ideal conditions in diesel engines, carbon monoxide (CO) momentarily saturates the combustion chamber. This state reduces combustion rates, peak pressure and power and increases the risk of pollution. Theoretical, laboratory and field data are presented which support the mechanism by which the ferrous catalyst accelerates the oxidation of CO to the terminal CO2 thus reducing fuel consumption and the undesirable combustion products accompanying the CO saturation of combustion environments. While this paper deals principally with diesel fuels commonly used in mining operations, the catalytic effect of the ferrous ion is also shown to significantly reduce fuel consumption by petrol engines thereby promising a means to reduce the much larger contributions to the Greenhouse gases by automobiles.
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