21 September 1999

New exhaust gas aftertreatment system utilizing non-thermal plasma (NTP) is being developed by Delphi Automotive Systems. Delphi presented a prototype plasma reactor at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week. The technology won the Financial Times Global Automotive Award, which was presented to Delphi during the Show.

The NTP reactor presented at the Show will be part of a plasma-assisted catalyst system. Non-thermal plasma can enhance the performance of emission control catalysts. More specifically, the NOx reduction function of lean-NOx diesel catalysts can be significantly improved by NTP. The Delphi system also targets the emission of diesel particulate matter (PM). At this time, no technical specifications of the system are available.

The effectiveness of current emission control technologies in further reducing NOx and PM from diesel engines has been limited. Therefore, the plasma technology has a potential to address future emission requirements from internal combustion engines. The applicability of the Delphi system extends from light- and heavy-duty diesel engines through lean-burn gasoline engines to stoichiometric engines.

Plasma as a means of diesel emission control has been researched in laboratories for many years, but no commercial system has been developed. Delphi intends to be the first company to market a plasma-based emission aftertreatment system.

Delphi Automotive Systems, the world’s largest maker of auto parts, is a spin-off from General Motors. Delphi operates 168 manufacturing plants in 36 countries. About 80% of Delphi’s business comes from former parent GM. Trying to broaden its customer base Delphi presented a number of automotive products at the Frankfurt Show.

Source: Delphi Automotive Systems