Automotive & Transportation

PremAir means light-duty trucks, SUVs can keep trucking

SUVs and pickup trucks accounted for 63 percent of total automotive sales in 2016, yet the high emissions outputs of these vehicles negatively impact automakers' ability to meet tightening standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board.

To help automakers meet regulations in a cost-effective way, BASF developed PremAir®, a catalyst coating that's applied to the radiator and converts ozone to oxygen.

PremAir is a direct ozone reduction technology that qualifies for a 5 mg/mi credit, which can be used against individual vehicle certification or fleet averages. BASF has shown through dynamometer testing on a SUV that the credit also allows automakers to reduce precious metal content in the three-way catalytic converter, thus reducing the total cost of compliance.


About EPA Tier 3 and CARB LEV III standards

Automakers must meet EPA Tier 3 and CARB LEV III standards by 2025, calling for a 70 percent reduction of fleet average emissions.

The standards intend to reduce tailpipe and evaporative emissions from passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles and some heavy-duty trucks.

The EPA and CARB hope to sharply curtail air pollutants and ground level ozone, which contributes to smog. When inhaled, smog can trigger a number of health problems, especially in children and the elderly. And it can cause damage to sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.

With PremAir, automakers can continue producing vehicles consumers want, fulfill government regulations and improve air quality.


How PremAir works

PremAir is a catalyst coating that is applied to the radiator surface. It's a proven solution that has been used on more than 3 million vehicles during the last ten years.

Capitalizing on the large volume of air that passes through a vehicle's radiator, PremAir converts ozone it into harmless oxygen. As a base metal catalyst, it also provides a sustainable and stable raw material supply chain.

"PremAir's simplicity in design makes it easy for engineers to use," said Jim Peterson, marketing manager for BASF mobile emissions catalysts. "With PremAir, a 210 HP truck can still meet regulations without sacrificing performance."


Using PremAir to reduce cost of compliance

The EPA and CARB grants a 5 mg/mi credit against tailpipe emissions for the direct ozone reduction benefit PremAir offers, making it an effective part of a SULEV vehicle compliance strategy.

In a recent study, BASF confirmed that a combined system of PremAir and the three-way catalytic converter can reduce the cost of compliance for automakers when greening their fleet.

The three-way catalytic converter removes more than 95 percent of emissions from exhaust gas flow. However, it calls for precious metals such as Palladium and Rhodium, which can be expensive. And to achieve increasingly stringent emission standards, even more precious metal content is needed.

Through dynamometer testing on an SUV, BASF found that the 5 mg/mi credit allows automakers to reduce precious metal content by 3 to 4 grams in the three-way catalytic converter. Estimated savings equal to about $100 per vehicle.

The test leveraged BASF's software, CatSimTM, which predicts emissions instantaneously and accurately represents a real after-treatment system.

Given the right vehicle data, BASF can assist automakers in determining if PremAir is a good tool for a specific powertrain and estimate potential PGM savings.