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Converting Carbon Dioxide from Vehicles


There are more than 250 million vehicles in the United States that transport people and goods. Primarily powered by internal combustion engines, they emit 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. A typical passenger vehicle emits 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The many older vehicles still in use are the major emitters, although newer, more fuel efficient vehicles still produce some emissions.

While technologies are being used to reduce emissions of other pollutants from vehicles, this is not the case for carbon dioxide emissions.

The main technological approaches for reducing carbon dioxide emissions are capture and conversion. Capture involves long-term sequestration or use of the captured carbon dioxide in a manner that will not later result in the release of carbon. Conversion can be accomplished using catalysis, non-catalytic synthesis, or other means. Both capture and use and conversion can result in the creation of various compounds and products that have economic value—e.g., urea, salicylic acid, cyclic carbonate, polyols, and ethanol.

Capture and conversion technologies are being used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources.

Because capture and conversion technologies for carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline or diesel-powered motor vehicles are not commercially available, there is potentially a market opportunity both domestically and world-wide for cost-effective retrofit technologies that can capture or convert carbon dioxide emissions from such vehicles.

EPA is interested in innovative technologies that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. The vehicle could use either gasoline or diesel fuel. The technologies would likely be drop-in components that are installed on a vehicle after the combustion emissions pass through other on-board catalytic and filter systems. EPA is most interested in the applicability to highway vehicles such as diesel-powered long-haul trucks.

Topic Code 2B: Converting Carbon Dioxide from Vehicles. Innovative technology that converts carbon dioxide emissions from mobile sources that use internal combustion engines into harmless substances and/or materials and products that have economic value. The conversion can be achieved using catalysis, non-catalytic synthesis, or other means. Important parameters include: the types of vehicles being addressed, the technology’s interactions with other on-board emission treatment devices and exhaust gases, the target percentage of carbon dioxide captured or converted, the substances and products to be produced, the technology’s durability and longevity, O&M requirements, cost, effect on vehicle mileage and fuel usage, and treatment and disposal of the technology and any wastes produced.

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