Intellectual Property

A Synthetic Gas Ageing System for Automotive Catalysts

A Synthetic Gas Ageing System for Automotive Catalysts

Researchers at QUB have developed an automated low cost system to age catalysts within the automotive industry that has virtually zero CO2 emissions.



In the automotive industry, emissions regulations worldwide are demanding that manufacturers demonstrate that exhaust emissions treatment systems are durable and fit for purpose.  The technique used is to artificially age the catalytic converters using an accelerated test cycle on a running engine in an engine test cell facility.  In this method, the engine is run through a rapid ageing cycle simulating road conditions with the hot exhaust gas being passed through the catalytic converter.  Although less expensive and some 25 times faster than using vehicles (100 hours representing 100,000 miles), this is still a very costly process with the industry spending around $1 billion per annum in the USA alone.


The new system proposed here reproduces this rapid ageing test cycle by controlling the operating conditions to accurately replicate the temperatures and exhaust gas mix seen by the catalyst.  The system uses synthetic gases, mixed together in the correct concentrations and heated to the required temperature.  This is a more controllable, more technically advanced and more economical technique achieving exactly the same results as the current engine approach. The objectives of this project are to develop a production feasible prototype applying this approach and demonstrating this technology as a suitable, low cost alternative to current practice.

There is a clear competitive advantage for this concept by way of replacing the current high-cost approach with a lower-cost, lower-emissions technology.  The current method uses a running engine to provide the high-temperature, ageing conditions.  This is costly to run, is difficult to support, requires expert operating experience and produces large amounts of CO2 emissions.  The new technology is much more cost effective, is easily automated and has virtually zero CO2 emissions.    

This technology is being commercialised through Catagen



Roy Douglas and Andrew Woods

Patent Status

This work is the subject of patent application. A provisional patent application was filed on 12 Dec 2008 and entered PCT on 11 Dec 2009 with Publication Number WO 2010/067127

This technology is being commercialised through Catagen


Project part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.


We have access to a range of potential funding mechanisms to support your business engage and exploit this IP including.

boosting-business Boosting Business through R&D is designed to help you ensure your business remains competitive and grows its market share. With support, you can invest in new products, services and processes, use design to improve your business performance, gain a better understanding of the technical, legislative and intellectual property issues you may face and access collaborative networks to access new business opportunities that might otherwise be beyond your reach.
ktp Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are based on partnerships between academic groups and companies who need access to skills and knowledge in order to innovate. The academic and industrial partners jointly devise and manage a two or three year programme to achieve the advances the company needs. This programme of work is carried out in the company by a KTP Associate and the resulting relationship can be very challenging and rewarding to all parties
qub-innovation-fund The Queen's University Belfast Innovation Fund (QUBIF) is a £1 million venture capital fund, set-up to invest in post Proof of Concept, pre-commercialisation spin-out companies. Funding rounds will be typically in the range of £50k to £200k and investments must be strongly related to the QUB research base.

Project Number

If you are interest and would like to find out more including potential funding mechanisms, please complete your details below