Reduction of NO.sub.x from diesel engine exhaust by use of plasma-regenerated absorbent beds. This involves a process for the reduction of NO.sub.x and particulates from diesel engines by first absorbing NO.sub.x onto a solid absorbent bed that simultaneously acts as a physical trap for the particulate matter, and second regenerating said solid absorbent by pulsed plasma decomposition of absorbed NO.sub.x followed by air oxidation of trapped particulate matter. The absorbent bed may utilize all metal oxides, but the capacity and the kinetics of absorption and desorption vary between different materials, and thus the composition of the absorbent bed is preferably a material which enables the combination of NO.sub.x absorption capability with catalytic activity for oxidation of hydrocarbons. Thus, naturally occurring or synthetically prepared materials may be utilized, particularly those having NO.sub.x absorption properties up to temperatures around 400.degree. C. which is in the area of diesel engine exhaust temperatures.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.