Following approximately four years of research and development, Horiba introduced in November 2011 its latest innovation in emissions testing—the MEXA-1400QL-NX laser spectroscopic motor exhaust gas analyzer, featuring the principles of quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology.
Horiba’s new QCL measurement system—which will be on display at the SAE 2012 World Congress in Detroit, along with the company’s e-motor testing solutions for electrified vehicles as well as other capabilities—provides real-time simultaneous measurement of four nitrogen components contained in motor exhaust gas (NO, NO2, NH3, N2O). It does so by generating wavelengths in the mid-IR range where many exhaust components exhibit strong absorption tendencies.
The system is said to be effective for certification or reporting U.S. EPA-regulated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of 1065 regulations. It is also applicable for R&D-related testing, as well as Euro VI direct measurement of NH3 from heavy-duty engines or direct measurement of N2O from heavy-duty or non-road engines.
The main challenges overcome during the development of MEXA-1400QL-NX were avoiding interference and making the response for NH3 faster, Ken Mitera, General Manager, Horiba Automotive Test Systems, told SAE Magazines via email.
“MEXA-1400QL-NX is truly unique for direct sensing of the four nitrogen compounds simultaneously by one principle in a single cell without any conversion of gas components compared to other existing analyzers in the market,” Mitera explained. “It was the first product to bring quantum cascade laser technology to the automotive industry. It is also unique for very low detection capability and extremely fast response.”
Different types of heavy-duty and light-duty engines employed in a variety of industries can be analyzed according to specifications, he noted: “The system was mainly developed for and tested on diesel and gasoline engines, but all types of engines [i.e., alt fuel and bi-fuel] can be analyzed as long as the gas matrix is within the guaranteed list of non-interference component specifications.”
OEMs and catalyst developers around the world are currently using the MEXA-1400QL-NX analyzer. (Horiba prefers to keep the specific companies or universities confidential.) The company also anticipates widespread use of this product for Euro VI compliance where NH3 and simultaneous NO and NO2 measurement are required.
“MEXA-1400QL-NX is capable of measuring the GHG gas component of N2O from heavy-duty vehicles; there are expectations for widespread use in the U.S. market,” Mitera shared. “In light-duty vehicles where the N2O emission level is low, we introduced MEXA-1100QL-N2O.”
Both testing solutions offer the reliability, low maintenance costs, and liquid nitrogen-free testing benefits of QCL.
MEXA-1100QL-N2O was introduced to a limited group of customers over the course of 12 months after completion of development, and it will be available soon for all customers, according to Mitera. Development for this analyzer took about two years.