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Catalyst Washing & Regeneration

Why wash a catalyst?

A combustion exhaust stream is not a pristine environment.  Normal and abnormal engine operation exposes the catalyst to chemical compounds and temperatures that affect the catalyst's surface and its active ingredients.  These compounds hinder catalyst performance through a number of mechanisms and cause catalyst performance to degrade over time.  Rather than replacing the catalyst prematurely, chemical washing is used to remove these contaminants, regenerate the catalyst surface, and restore catalytic activity and performance.  EmeraChem's catalysts are durable and resilient and respond well to washing and regeneration.


The first mechanism is "masking".  Sulfur, a common masking agent that comes from fuel and lube oil, accumulates on the catalyst surface and covers over the precious metal sites.

  Once this has occurred exhaust gas pollutants such as CO and NOx can no longer come in contact the precious metals and react as they should.  The second mechanism is "fouling."  Ash ingredients such as calcium from lube oils can foul a catalyst by physically plugging the substrate, blocking the exhaust gas flow, and causing a rise in back pressure.  The third mechanism is "poisoning."   Metallic oxides containing zinc, phosphorous and others come from lube oil and engine wear and poison the catalyst by chemically reacting with the precious metals to form alloys that are not catalytically active.  

Chemical washing is designed to react and remove masking and fouling agents, and sometimes poisoning agents.  However, the damage caused by some poisoning agents such as lead and silicon are irreversible and can require catalyst replacement.  

Our process is catalyst OEM process

EmeraChem's Catalyst Washing System is a proven, effective performance regeneration process.  This know-how comes from operating a catalyst chemical manufacturing plant for over 20 years.  This proprietary technology is a vital service provided by EmeraChem and EmeraChem's authorized Catalyst Service Centers located around the country.

Our wash system is a modern chemical processing facility

Our chemical washing process utilizes modern chemical processing equipment, methods, and procedures specified by EmeraChem chemical engineers and used daily in our chemical processing facility.  EmeraChem deploys this process at two scales:

  • A large-scale system located at our manufacturing plant for processing 40 to 1000 combustion turbine catalysts
  • A small-scale system located at our manufacturing plant and at Catalyst Service Centers around the country for processing 1 to 40 reciprocating engine catalysts


The work is carried out by trained chemical technicians using proper health and safety equipment and protocols.  Spent chemical solutions are neutralized and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner in accordance with discharge permits from regulatory authorities.

Our chemicals solutions have been carefully selected

EmeraChem chemists specified the chemical cleaning solutions as most compatible with the catalyst formulations and most effective at removing a variety of chemical contaminants and ash.  EmeraChem specifies the purity grade of these chemical reagents and prequalifies all chemical suppliers.  The effectiveness of these cleaning chemicals has been proven time after time and can be used with confidence.

We use fresh chemical solutions for each batch to prevent cross-contamination.

A key advantage to EmeraChem's catalyst washing process is the use of fresh chemical solutions for each batch of catalysts.  Our customers are assured that their catalyst elements won't become contaminated by the masking and poisoning agents from someone else's catalyst.  Reusing wash solutions creates risks such as cross-contamination of elements, or poor cleaning due to diluted batches of unknown quality. The chemical makeup each of our batches of solution is based on a known recipe and the results are predictable. 

Our process is a recirculation process for deep cleaning

Using the right chemical solutions in the correct sequence is essential.  But that's not sufficient.  Experience has taught that simply soaking catalyst in a solution is not enough to remove a majority of the contaminants and masking agents.  EmeraChem uses chemical recirculation pumps and a special manifold to continuously flush the solutions through the cells of the element for deep cleaning.  This is an effective way to release contaminants from the catalyst, particularly from within the interior surfaces and catalyst pores.  Circulating the wash solutions is a more effective cleaning process and it yields higher gains in catalyst performance.

All catalyst washing is NOT alike!

EmeraChem stands above the rest in catalyst washing. Rather than settling for our competitors who often dip or soak elements in a series of tanks using the wrong chemical solutions in the wrong sequence and use dirty solutions over and over again, trust EmeraChem's years involved in every part of the development and manufacturing of catalysts.