University of Alicante

The University of Alicante was created in October 1979 on the structure of the University Study Centre (CEU), which was started in 1968. Thus, Alicante recovered in this way its university studies centre that was suspended in 1834.

Universidad de Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig s/n 03690

Noble metal-free ceria-based diesel soot combustion catalyst

managed by University of Alicante


A new diesel soot combustion catalysts has been developed at the University of Alicante, which consists of high surface area ceria-praseodymia mixed oxide nanoparticles.
A catalyst active phase has been developed with the following composition
particles size smaller than 9 nm and specific surface areas higher than 90 m2/g. The method used allows obtaining 7 nm particles with 125 m2/g surface area.
Important scientific and technical efforts in order to develop a device for soot removal in diesel engine exhausts, because these carbon nanoparticles are responsible of severe health and environmental negative effects. These devices usually consist of a filter located at in the exhaust pipe, where soot particles are collected, and a catalysts is usually used to lower the soot combustion temperature.
One of the main handicaps of these devices is the poor contact between soot and catalysts particles, which hiders significantly the catalyst performance. Platinum catalysts are the most active ones for this application among those with high enough stability under the demanding conditions of temperature and gas composition that are faced in an exhaust pipe. Alternative catalyst active phases are being investigated in order to lower the prize and improve the activity, and ceria-based oxides are promising candidates.
The synthesis is carried out using a reverse microemulsion and following the several steps:
1. The cerium and praseodymium precursors are dissolved in water.
2. An emulsion is prepared with the previous water solution.
3. Another alkali emulsion is prepared.
4. Both emulsions are mixed.
5. The solid obtained is separated by centrifugation.
6. The solid is calcined at T > 400ºC.
(See fact and figures related to catalyst performance in document attached).


- Better/equal activity than Pt catalysts
- Cheaper prize


Doped ceria nanoparticles loaded into a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) have been successfully tested, but the utilization of such nanoparticles as fuel additive has not been explored. Laboratory results lead to think that the doped ceria nanoparticles should also work as fuel additive, but proof-of-concept tests would be required.


This technology is suitable for gas purification in Diesel engine exhausts, like vehicles, stationary power generation engines, etc.

Readiness Level (TRL)

technology validated in lab
"The noble high surface area ceria-praseodymia catalysts have been tested at laboratory both as powder and supported on silicon carbide diesel particulate filters under simulated Diesel exhausts (with NOx, O2, H2O, CO2 y N2)."
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Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are a method of estimating technology maturity of Critical Technology Elements (CTE) of a program during the acquisition process. The use of TRLs enables consistent, uniform, discussions of technical maturity across different types of technology.

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Current status

PCT Application


Available for



Agustin Bueno, Noelia Guillen, Avelina Garcia


Case manager: Ivan Rodriguez Rosello

EU-Japan Centre
European CommissionMeti