Enterprise Europe Network

Catalyst for nitrous oxide decomposition

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Partner keyword: 
Process Plant Engineering
Inorganic Substances
Clean Production / Green Technologies
Industrial chemicals
Agricultural chemicals
Other pollution and recycling related
Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering


A Spanish public research organisation has developed a novel catalyst, with a simple preparation method, that achieves the removal of 98% of N2O emissions at temperatures below 350ºC, when applied in the so-called "tail gas" of nitric acid production plants (tertiary treatment) and under real manufacturing conditions (presence of water, oxygen and at high speed). Industrial partners interested in the production or use of the catalyst ,under a patent licence agreement, are being sought



Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas with an effect 298 times greater than CO2 on the global warming. The industrial sector generates 5% of the total emissions of N2O and they are increasing in the last years. In particular, emissions in nitric acid plants have a particular difficulty in being reduced. The most effective technologies for the elimination of nitrous oxide in nitric acid plants are catalytic decomposition processes after the ammonia oxidation stage (secondary treatment) or in the tail gas stream (tertiary treatment).
The invention consists on a new solid catalyst for the tertiary treatment of nitrous oxide emissions. The material shows a significant improvement in the catalytic activity, allowing the use of lower volume of catalyst at lower temperatures, for the N2O removal.
The catalyst was tested under real operating conditions of a nitric acid production plant: 1400 ppm N2O, 3% O2, 0.5% H2O and a catalyst flow/volume ratio of 50,300 h-1, resulting in N2O conversion value of 98% at 340ºC.
The Spanish research organisation is looking for companies of the chemical sector interested in the manufacture or, alternatively, nitric acid producers interested in the use of this catalyst for the removal of the nitrous gas, under a patent license. The catalyst has only been tested at a laboratory scale, therefore, some further development might be needed before reaching an industrial use and the Spanish research organisation could collaborate with the company in that project.
The Spanish research organization has broad experience in the development of novel catalyst for innovative industrial processes and in the collaboration with industrial partners in their development and scale up

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
• Catalysts for tertiary treatment offer the great advantage of not influencing the heart of the nitric acid plant • The catalyst is active at relatively low temperatures (between 250ºC and 500ºC) • The catalyst can work below 300ºC with conversions around 80%. • The catalyst works with high efficiency under real conditions (in the presence of other tail gas components: O2, H2O) • The catalyst has good stability: 65 h in reaction without decreasing conversion of N2O, with the presence of H2O and O2.

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Under development/lab tested

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
The Spanish research organisation is looking for industrial partners from the chemical sector interested in the manufacture of the catalyst, under a patent license agreement. Alternatively, the reserch organisatoin is looking for nitric acid producers interested in the use of this catalyst for the removal of the nitrous gas, under a patent license too. The role of the partner would be the scale-up of the catalyst, since it has only been tested at a laboratory scale.

Type and size

Cooperation task: 
SME 11-50,SME <10,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500