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Impact of Oxygen Storage Components in Prototype Pd-Based Three-Way Catalysts under Exhaust Conditions Relevant to Propane Engines

by Daekun Kim, Todd J Toops, Ke Nguyen, Michael J Lance
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With increasing concerns about global warming, the push for sustainable and eco-friendly fuels is accelerating. Propane, recognized as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG, has garnered research interest as an alternative fuel due to its notable advantages, including a high-octane rating, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and potential cost-effectiveness. However, to realize its full potential as an alternative fuel it is essential to develop catalysts that efficiently handle emissions at low temperatures. In our research, we investigated three distinct palladium (Pd)-based three-way catalyst (TWC) formulations (PdRh, Pd-only, and Pd-OSC) to investigate the influence of typical TWC components rhodium (Rh) and oxygen storage components (OSC) in exhaust scenarios relevant to propane-fueled engines. Among these, the formulation containing oxygen storage components (Pd-OSC) showed the highest reactivity for both NO and C3H8 while minimizing performance degradation from hydrothermal aging (HTA). Notably, the temperature of 50% conversion (T50) for propane in the Pd-OSC fresh and HTA sample was lower by 30 °C and 13 °C, respectively, compared to the Pd-only sample, highlighting the role of oxygen storage materials in enhancing catalyst performance, even without dithering. Additionally, N2 physisorption showed that the Pd-OSC sample has a higher surface area and increased pore volume. This underscores the idea that OSC materials not only augment the catalyst’s porosity but also optimize reactant accessibility to active sites, thus elevating catalytic efficiency. In addition to evaluating performance, we further explored the performance and characteristics of the catalysts using catalytic probe reactions, such as water–gas shift and steam reforming reactions.