Matter Blog: Diesel Filters Cut Soot and Aid Fuel Economy

Here is a plug for an interesting blog for those interested in sustainable technologies for the future. Below is also short blurb that appeared on the blog about GEO2. But more importantly, the post highlights the potential of clean diesel as a favorable alternative to more complex and less reliable technologies for human mobility.

John Gartner is the co-founder and editor of Matter, a blog and Web site that examines the strategies, technologies and products that are powering the shift to a sustainable economy (http://www.matternetwork.com/). He has been covering computer, internet and sustainable technologies for 20 years and currently writes for both Wired News and Autopia. John started Autopia two years ago and decided to launch Matter so he could focus on sustainable technologies both within and beyond the auto market. Prior to founding Matter, John was a full-time editor at Wired News, launched several Web sites for the TechWeb network, worked as an editor at TechTV and was the director of the product test lab at Windows magazine. Also, John’s writing has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Inc.com, MIT’s Technology Review, the Environment News Service, Alternet, and Revenue magazine. He has appeared as an analyst on CNN, NBC, and EcoTalk radio as well as numerous other media outlets.

Diesel Filters Cut Soot and Aid Fuel Economy

New particulate filters made from ceramic and developed by Geo2 Technologies could increase fuel efficiency while reducing the amount of soot emitted by diesel engines. Geo2 Technologies’ VP of product development Bilal Zuberi told me the technology his company is developing could filter out multiple pollutants simultaneously in a much smaller package. Zuberi says the technology can filter out both nitrogen oxide and other emissions, saving valuable space and weight in a vehicle, enhancing fuel efficiency. Geo2’s goal is reduce the size of today’s particulate filters by 1/2 to 2/3.

Particulate filters can reduce the fuel efficiency of vehicles because of building up “backpressure” when the flow of gases becomes to slow, according to Zuberi. Geo2’s filters are more porous, and will only increase backpressure by 4 percent. The filters will also remove up to 95 percent of the soot, he said.

The ceramic material costs about as much as today’s powder-based filters, Zuberi says, but they cost less because they do not require the precious metals such as platinum that make up several hundred dollars of the price. The technology, which is currently being evaluated by a tier one supplier and OEMs according to Zuberi, could show up in production vehicles as early as 2010.

Companies that have not invested in (or perhaps believe in) hybrid technology are planning a slew of diesel vehicles in the next few years as high MPG alternatives. If this technology works as planned, diesels good surpass hybrids in both fuel economy and emissions.

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