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Buildings — Capturing furnace emissions

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The team built a prototype furnace that incorporates monolithic acidic gas reduction, or AGR, as the catalyst to minimize acidic gases and condensate acidity, and oxidize carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and methane.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed a novel solution to reduce the environmental impact of natural gas-condensing furnaces commonly used in U.S. homes.

The team built a prototype furnace that incorporates monolithic acidic gas reduction, or AGR, as the catalyst to minimize acidic gases and condensate acidity, and oxidize carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and methane.

In a demonstration, researchers conducted a 400-hour reliability and durability test and proved that AGR, made of titanium dioxide, copper oxide and minor platinum, removed more than 99.9% of the acidic gas products produced during combustion. It trapped and removed sulfur oxides and reduced additional emissions.

“AGR functions like a catalytic converter in a car, passing the exhaust over metals to reduce acidic gases and other pollutant emissions that contribute to global climate change,” ORNL’s Zhiming Gao said. “This technology could be applied to commercial rooftop units, thermally driven heat pumps, gas-fired water heaters and boilers.”

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