Related: Automotive Materials
To address 2015 California state emission requirements, BASF (basf.com) has come up with a coating for air intake boxes that “traps” hydrocarbon emissions from combustion engines, and eliminates the need for an additional part for absorption.
The water-based polymer coating called “EvapTrap” is infused with a blend of activated carbon and zeolite to absorb hydrocarbons that bleed out of the combustion chamber when the engine is shutoff. The material is sprayed on to the inside of the intake system
Right now, most automakers use filters, such as activated carbon honeycomb, inside the air intake box to prevent hydrocarbons from escaping. Unlike filters, the EvapTrap coating is a “pass-by” technology, explains Chris Arendoski, head of marketing for BASF catalysts in the Americas. Filters are “pass-through,” meaning the hydrocarbons must go through them in order to be captured, which increases back pressure, thereby reducing horsepower and fuel economy.
With EvapTrap, emissions from the air intake system are reduced by 99.9%, while eliminating the need for a part, BASF says. When the engine is restarted, the trapped hydrocarbons are recycled back into the engine for full combustion, creating an efficiency improvement.
“A coating is more beneficial than a part because a coating is scalable for all designs,” says Arendoski.
An air intake box for a mid-size vehicle with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine requires about 35 grams of EvapTrap material.
Arendoski adds, “It meets all OEM  requirements and governmental requirements for tamper-proof emissions control with a durability of 150,000 miles in accelerated testing.”
BASF has three accelerated programs with OEMs to introduce the EvapTrap coating into serial production by the end of this year.—ZP