Posted by Eric Tindall on Mar 28, 2019
At the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor North Luncheon on March 28, 2019, Rotarian Bob Specht talked about Federal Emissions Testing of Gas Vehicle.
Engine efficiency has been steadily improved with improved engine design, more precise ignition timing and electronic ignition, more precise fuel metering, and computerized engine management.
Advances in engine and vehicle technology continually reduce the toxicity of exhaust leaving the engine, but these alone have generally been proved insufficient to meet emissions goals. Therefore, technologies to detoxify the exhaust are an essential part of emissions control.
Air injection: One of the first-developed exhaust emission control systems is secondary air injection. Originally, this system was used to inject air into the engine's exhaust ports to provide oxygen so unburned and partially burned hydrocarbons in the exhaust would finish burning.
Air injection is now used to support the catalytic converter's oxidation reaction, and to reduce emissions when an engine is started from cold. After a cold start, an engine needs an air-fuel mixture richer than what it needs at operating temperature, and the catalytic converter does not function efficiently until it has reached its own operating temperature.
The air injected upstream of the converter supports combustion in the exhaust head-pipe, which speeds catalyst warm-up and reduces the amount of unburned hydrocarbon emitted from the tailpipe.
Exhaust gas recirculation: In the United States and Canada, many engines in 1973 and newer vehicles (1972 and newer in California) have a system that routes a metered amount of exhaust into the intake tract under particular operating conditions. Exhaust neither burns nor supports combustion, so it dilutes the air/fuel charge to reduce peak combustion chamber temperatures. This, in turn, reduces the formation of NOx.
Catalytic converter: The catalytic converter is a device placed in the exhaust pipe, which converts hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and NOx into less harmful gases by using a combination of platinum, palladium and rhodium as catalysts.
There are two types of catalytic converter, a two-way and a three-way converter. Two-way converters were common until the 1980's, when three-way converters replaced them on most automobile engines.
Evaporative emissions are the result of gasoline vapors escaping from the vehicle's fuel system. Since 1971, all U.S. vehicles have had fully sealed fuel systems that do not vent directly to the atmosphere; mandates for systems of this type has appeared in other jurisdictions.
In a typical system, vapors from the fuel tank and carburetor bowl vent (on carbureted vehicles) are ducted to canisters containing activated carbon.
The vapors are adsorbed within the canister, and during certain engine operational modes fresh air is drawn through the canister, pulling the vapor into the engine, where it burns.
Information help for Bob's talk to write this story was found at