Image Number 4 for United States Patent #7337658.
A method is described for operating an internal combustion engine, in particular of a motor vehicle. In the method, a lean air/fuel mixture is burned in a combustion chamber; nitrogen oxides contained in the exhaust gas are stored in an accumulator-type catalytic converter; a storage efficiency, with which the accumulator-type catalytic converter stores the nitrogen oxides contained in the exhaust gas, is ascertained; and the storage efficiency is ascertained as a function of an instantaneous space velocity of the exhaust gases in the accumulator-type catalytic converter. Two efficiencies are ascertained at least as a function of the temperature of the accumulator-type catalytic converter and a space velocity. One of the two efficiencies is ascertained for a great space velocity, and the other efficiency is ascertained for a small space velocity. The storage efficiency is ascertained as a function of the instantaneous space velocity from the two efficiencies.