Functionalized ceramic membrane filter for highly efficient soot particle removal

Title of Programme
Materials engineering
Cost-sharing contracts
Financing Code for Project
Project start year - end year 1998 - 2001
Financing organisation
Coordinator Aerosol and Particle Technology Laboratory (APTL)
Other partners
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki / Department of Physics / Laboratory for Thin Films, Coatings and Materials Characterization and Metrology (LTFN)
Technische Universiteit Delft (TUDelft)
Centro Ricerche FIAT S.C.P.A. (CRF)
Johnson Mattey plc (JM)
Aachen University of Technology (RWTH-AACHEN)
Budget / APTL Budget 2.480.800,00€ / 300.000,00€
Scientific Manager / Project researcher A. G. Konstandopoulos / D. Zarvalis
Project website
Summary description
Recent findings correlating mortality rates in cities with concentrations of fine particles smaller thanapproximately 2.5 microns prompt for increasingly tighter 
legislation in terms of reducing particulate burden on the environment. Soot particles emitted from combustion sources occupy a central position among the total amount of emitted particles in the less than 2.5-micron size range. Although combustion process modifications have been actively pursued both for stationary and mobile sources, it is commonly felt that meeting future particulate emission standards will not be feasible without aftertreatment devices. The present Industrial Research project addresses the problem of developing advanced ceramic filters for soot particle emissions control with the following main objective: To overcome problems of currently available ceramic filter technology in terms of material reliability, pressure drop, collection efficiency for fine particles and ease of cleaning ("regeneration" by oxidation of collected soot) at a lower cost than competing nonEuropean technology by integrating: A silicon carbide (SiC)-based extruded monolithic filter, with very high collection efficiency (>99%) for nano-sized particles, low-pressure drop and high material reliability. A two layer gradient filter structure (a filter membrane with an overlaid highly porous "foamy" layer) functions at the same time as a fine particle 
separator and as a soot oxidation reactor, through a catalytic coating dispersed into the entire ceramic microstructure. 
Advanced catalytic coatings for soot oxidation incorporated into the filter microstructure. Two types of novel catalytic coatings will be developed: Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD)-based nanoscale catalysts and Supported Liquid Phase (SLP) catalysts. Adaptive control of flow direction in the ceramic filter based on comprehensive computer modelling tools, extended beyond the state-of-the-art for the design and optimisation of soot particle filter systems.
The project is structured around four workpackages: filter development, development of catalytic coatings, testing and characterisation, and modelling and simulation. The main innovations of the present approach compared to state-of-the-art practice include: 
  • The development and use of a composite ceramic filter/membrane-reactor microstructure with locally varying properties to assure good contact of soot particles with catalytic coatings produced and dispersed into the structure with novel techniques. 
  • Optimised autothermal regeneration of the ceramic filter by adaptive flow direction control. 
  • The formation of a strategic partnership for a new generation of soot particle emission control technology with no foreign (non-European) patent dominance, combining SME's, manufacturers, suppliers and research institutes.
Expected achievements of the project compared to current USA/Japanese dominated soot filter technology include: 
  • The considerable increase in system reliability and avoidance of material failures, thereby increasing substantially the cost effectiveness of the system 
  • The higher removal efficiency of the new filter system for nano-sized particles with appreciably lower pressure drop and improved permeability. 
  • The significant improvement in filter "regeneration" temperature compared to the best available technology with catalytic filters. 
The consortium spanning the European continent (6 countries) consists of an industrial SME with significant patented R&D experience in ceramic filters and materials manufacturing, an industrial SME with substantial international presence in combustion technology and aftertreatment, the materials division of a reputed engine manufacturer, a large catalyst manufacturer and an internationally acknowledged engineering software industry. Non-industrial R&D performers include a wellknown research group in industrial catalysis, a particle technology group from an established research institute, and a specialised thin film and coatings technology laboratory.