Ceramics in exhaust gas purification

Exhaust gases from various technical environments pollute our ambient air and can result in environmental and health damage. With regard to purifying exhaust gases and complying with emission and immission limit values, the available methods differ vastly from each other depending on type and origin of the pollution. In many of these methods of purification, ceramic filters, adsorbents, catalytic converters and catalyst supports enable efficient and cost-efficient results, in particular when it comes to high temperatures, chemical corrosion and longevity.

Ceramic catalyst supports and diesel particulate filters have become indispensable, in particular with regard to the purification of exhaust gases from internal combustion engines, such as gasoline or diesel engines. Every year approx. 20 million ceramic catalyst supports and particulate filters are integrated in Western European cars alone. Beyond this, ceramic components play an important role for the purification of exhaust gases from large-scale industrial processes, such as from power plants, waste incineration plants and chemical and thermal process engineering plants. Ceramic filters and catalytic converters are even used in many household applications.

Thanks to its many years of development in this area, Fraunhofer IKTS helps to optimize materials and manufacturing methods and opens up new applications. The institute also provides sophisticated analysis, modeling and simulation technologies, some of them newly developed, to support the optimization of materials, components and processes. The examination of ceramic components following field tests is also part of the portfolio. Furthermore, IKTS has extensive know-how in the development of ceramic gas sensors and complex sensor systems for use in exhaust gas purification.



Treatment of exhaust gases from engines

Exhaust gases from engines of passenger cars, trucks, offroad vehicles, stationary plants or vessels are among the main emission sources of air pollutants. Compliance with emission standards for carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NO) and particulate matter (PM, PN) is therefore a major aspect in the development of internal combustion engines. While air pollution has been reduced in recent years to respond to stricter emission standards and thanks to improved exhaust gas treatment technologies, metropolitan areas still see immission limit values for nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter exceeded on a frequent basis.


Industrial exhaust gas purification

Various methods are available for the purification of hot exhaust gas, depending on the type of emission and application. Ceramics are used in particular for cases where more traditional solutions reach their limits due to the prevailing temperatures or the presence of very corrosive media. Ceramics can also be a cost-efficient alternative to expensive special alloys or other costly materials.


Domestic application

Most people spend considerable chunks of their day indoors – whether at home, in transit or at work. Room air quality therefore plays an important role. Dust, bacteria and odors pose a threat to air quality. Foam ceramic filters for dust removal or ceramically supported photocatalysts for odor filtration can contribute to healthy indoor air quality and a beneficial room climate.



Thanks to the chemical resistance of ceramic materials, even in high temperatures, ceramic-based sensors are particularly suitable for use in tough environments, such as exhaust gas treatment and purification. Fraunhofer IKTS offers sophisticated sensor elements and sensor integration solutions from one single source.


Material and process analytics

As an accredited and audited service provider, Fraunhofer IKTS offers numerous characterization techniques and extensive equipment for the development of ceramic filters, adsorbents, catalytic converters and catalyst supports.



For the development, production and characterization of ceramic filters, adsorbents, catalysts and catalyst supports, the Fraunhofer IKTS has extensive, often unique technical equipment at its disposal, such as a continuously operating system for foam coating or hot gas filtration test rigs.



For the development of ceramic filters and catalysts, the IKTS has extensive expertise in the areas of substrate selection, catalytic and adsorptive coating and sample production. In addition, IKTS has profound know-how in the field of sensor technology and filter analysis.