Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: John T. Fox

Diesel engines power 85% of the U.S. ton miles of freight. Mobile sources, including highway and non-road vehicles combine to the second leading anthropogenic source of PM in the United States. Diesel engines form particulate matter during combustion and results in both an ash and soot particulate component. The particulate matter emitted by diesel engines is captured by diesel particulate filters (DPF), a required emission control device, but must be cleaned and serviced at periodic intervals. 

Hunsicker Emissions Services LLC is currently developing an innovative, data driven process technology to clean the filters faster, and more efficiently, while using 50% less energy than the existing DPF cleaning process. In a recent PITA research effort, Hunsicker Emissions Services LLC collaborated with the Lehigh University team, utilizing the University’s analytical laboratory capabilities to optimize the proprietary process for more efficient DPF ash and soot cleaning. In moving from a development to commercial process, the innovative process technology will need the capability to make similar analytical measurements in real time. In addition, due to the nature of particulate matter captured in the diesel particulate filter, certain metal ash components in the cleaning process waste have been identified as environmentally unsuitable for direct disposal unless treated. This PITA project will build real-time analytical measurement capability to ensure the same (or improved) level of cleaning process efficiency and environmental sustainability attained during process development are realized consistently in the commercial application. The Lehigh University Team’s analytical capabilities will be utilized to evaluate and screen candidate real time analytical methods. The suitability of leading candidates in the commercial process will be determined by their durability in the process environment to which they will be subjected.