Pulsed discharge regeneration of diesel particulate filters

A novel method for the removal of soot from a diesel particulate filter using pulsed electric discharges is presented. High voltage pulses of between 18 and 25 kV of nano to microsecond duration and with pulse energies of typically 100–200 mJ were applied to the filter via a series spark gap. Initial slow erosion of the soot layer proceeds via the formation of microdischarges. Subsequent spark discharges removed the accumulated soot more effectively from a larger filter volume. Average soot removal rates of *0.1–0.2 g/min were achieved at 50 Hz breakdown frequency by optimizing both electrode geometry and breakdown voltage. On-engine long term testing of the technology showed soot removal by pulsed discharge to be reliable, efficient and uniform; a total of 100 g of soot was deposited and removed over 18 filter regeneration cycles.