Impact of Biodiesel Impurities on the Performance and Durability of DOC, DPF and SCR Technologies

Aaron Williams, Robert McCormick, Jon Luecke, Rasto Brezny, Andreas Geisselmann, Kenneth Voss, Kevin Hallstrom, Matthew Leustek, Jared Parsons, Hind Abi-Akar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus Citations


It is estimated that operating continuously on a B20 fuel containing the current allowable ASTM specification limits for metal impurities in biodiesel could result in a doubling of ash exposure relative to lube-oil derived ash. The purpose of this study was to determine if a fuel containing metals at the ASTM limits could cause adverse impacts on the performance and durability of diesel emission control systems. An accelerated durability test method was developed to determine the potential impact of these biodiesel impurities. The test program included engine testing with multiple DPF substrate types as well as DOC and SCR catalysts. The results showed no significant degradation in the thermo-mechanical properties of cordierite, aluminum titanate, or silicon carbide DPFs after exposure to 150,000 mile equivalent biodiesel ash and thermal aging. However, exposure of a cordierite DPF to 435,000 mile equivalent aging resulted in a 69% decrease in the thermal shock resistance parameter. It is estimated that the additional ash from 150,000 miles of biodiesel use would also result in a moderate increases in exhaust backpressure for a DPF. A decrease in DOC activity was seen after exposure to 150,000 mile equivalent aging, resulting in higher HC slip and a reduction in NO 2 formation. The metal-zeolite SCR catalyst experienced a slight loss in activity after exposure to 435,000 mile equivalent aging. This catalyst, placed downstream of the DPF, showed a 5% reduction in overall NOx conversion activity over the HDDT test cycle.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2011-01-1136
Pages (from-to)110-124
Number of pages15
JournalSAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5400-50297 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-52650


  • biodiesel
  • durability
  • metals
  • thermo-mechanical properties


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