Transportation - Next-generation sensors


Future automobiles and trucks may be equipped with a nitrogen oxide (NOx) sensor that helps reduce emissions by seamlessly activating NOx traps or by using other approaches. The sensor, which is being developed by a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Tim Armstrong and Ford Motor Co., boasts response times of about a second and couples advanced design concepts with the application of a voltage across the electrodes. This feature allows the sensor to be adjusted to provide NOx-selective data. Furthermore, the sensor utilizes standard commercial microelectronics manufacturing processes so it should be as inexpensive as the current industry standard. Nitrogen oxide emissions are of special concern because they resist decomposition in the oxygen-rich exhaust conditions from diesels and today's lean-burn gasoline engines. With the new sensor and control system in place, NOx emissions could be remediated with catalysts, traps or selective catalytic reduction. The project is funded by the Department of Energy's offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Distributed Energy and FreedomCar and Vehicle Technologies.

 -  Ron Walli,  865.576.0226,  November 10, 2004

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