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Putting new auto technologies to work for cleaner air

Putting new auto technologies to work

Today’s powerful and efficient gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines are giving drivers around the world the fuel efficiency and engine performance they crave.

But GDI engines can also bring a dangerous side effect: microscopic particles of airborne carbon and other harmful chemicals, called PM2.5, the term for particulates measuring less than 2.5 microns across. Some are so small, you could fit thousands on the head of a pin.  When inhaled, the invisible particulate matter can migrate from the lungs into the bloodstream, potentially leading to pulmonary and cardiovascular problems as well as other health issues.

To help address the growing problem in regions across the world, governments and the auto industry are making regulatory changes and technical engineering advancements. Many countries are dramatically restricting the amount of particulate matter that auto engines may release into the air. Carmakers are facing stringent new limitations in Europe with even tighter regulations begin in China in 2023.

The technical challenge is complex. An emissions control system that greatly reduces fine particulates must work under all manner of demanding driving conditions, from short runs in the city to long-haul drives on the highway. It must also be cost-effective and not compromise fuel efficiency or engine back pressure which drives engine performance.

The market’s top choice to help solve the problem: Corning® DuraTrap® GC gasoline particulate filters by Corning Incorporated. 

DuraTrap® GC filters, working together with other improvements in engine controls, trap fine particulate matter from gasoline engines in the cells of a ceramic honeycomb as it leaves the engine and before it’s released from the vehicle tailpipe. Once contained in the finely engineered pores of the filter’s ceramic microstructure, heat from the exhaust system burns off the trapped particulate matter.

Over time the filter grows more efficient at filtering soot, improving emissions-control performance.  This appeals to automakers, since most regulations require particulate emissions to remain low for the entire life of the vehicle.

While the design and material science behind the filter are complex, there is also an elegant simplicity to the filter.  Automakers who considered an engine-level solution have been won over by the effective, low-cost addition of DuraTrap® GC ceramic particulate filters in their emissions control systems.

Rigorous, reliable test data is essential to build trust between supplier and manufacturer – and, in turn, between manufacturer and consumer. Corning’s suite of DuraTrap® GC filters has stood up to the tough testing requirements of an industry still shaken by faulty data exposed in emissions scandals.

Corning has proactively tested scores of filters on car fleets in Europe, China, and the United States, with drivers going through the rigorous paces of everyday driving. Detailed data for over 2 million kilometers of on-road driving was collected, with some individual vehicles driven to 240,000 kilometers.  This amount of real-driving emissions (RDE) data verified that Corning’s gasoline particulate filters significantly reduce a car’s emission of PM2.5 pollutants. Most importantly, the reduction in particulate emissions is consistent, whether the driver is cruising down the autobahn, accelerating sharply up an on-ramp, or navigating through congested city streets.

With the market’s leading solution – and industry relationships going back more than four decades – Corning is in a strong position to grow its gasoline filter business and keep supporting the global move toward cleaner and safer mobility, and ultimately, healthier air.

Expanded facilities in two key market areas will supply the near-term gasoline particulate filter market. Corning is investing $100 million to increase the size of its environmental products plant in Kaiserslautern, Germany and build a new plant in Hefei, China.

Both are slated for mass production in time for automakers to begin phasing in models to meet regional emissions standards, with Kaiserslautern coming online in 2018, followed shortly after by the new Hefei facility.