Scientists develop cleaner diesel


Scientists from KU Leuven and Universiteit Utrecht have discovered a way to produce diesel that emits much less micro-dust and CO2 than is currently the case. The new technique cannot only be used for fuels from petroleum, but also for renewable carbon from biomass.

According to professor Johan Martens of KU Leuven's Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis the technique will be usable in the car industry in a few years' time. It is even possible that within five years' time cars will be driving around on this cleaner diesel. This scenario is all the more likely as a general use of the electric car is not likely to happen anytime soon.

To produce diesel catalysts are used, those are chemicals triggering a chemical process in a basic raw material. The new technique is based on the finding that a catalyst's functions are best placed at a minimum distance from one another instead of as close as possible, as has been common practice in the industry for the past fifty years. Professor Martens and his colleagues were under the impression something had gone wrong with their analyses during their research. They performed their tests three times again, to finally conclude that the generally accepted theory was wrong.

The results of the research in Leuven have already appeared in the authoritative magazine Nature.