NASA Langley researchers, in work spanning more than a decade, have developed a portfolio of technologies for low-temperature gas catalysis. Originally developed to support space-based CO2 lasers, the technology has evolved into an array of performance capabilities and processing approaches, with potential applications ranging from indoor air filtration to automotive catalytic converters and industrial smokestack applications. The technology is now used commercially in systems that provide clean air to racecar drivers. Backed with extensive research on these technologies, NASA welcomes interest in the portfolio for other commercial and industrial applications.
The low-temperature oxidation catalyst technology employs a novel catalyst formulation, termed “platinized tin oxide” (Pt/SnOx). The catalysts can be used on silica gel and cordierite catalyst supports, and the latest developments provide sprayable formulations for use on a range of support types and shapes. Originally developed for removal of CO, the catalyst has also proven effective for removal of formaldehyde and other lightweight hydrocarbons.
NASA researchers have also extended the capability to include reduction of NOx
for automotive catalytic converters via the engineered addition of other functional
components. These catalyst formulations operate at elevated temperatures and have performed above the EPA exhaust standards for well beyond 25,000 miles.
For use as a gas sensor, the technology takes advantage of the exothermic nature of
the catalytic reaction to detect formaldehyde, CO, or hydrocarbons, with the heat being produced proportional to the amount of analyte present.
The technology portfolio includes U.S. patents: