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Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is a nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions reduction technique used in most petrol/gasoline and diesel engines. Originally devised by GMC in the USA, EGR works by recirculating some of an engines exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders. Mixing the incoming air with recirculated exhaust gas dilutes the mix with inert gas, lowering the adiabatic flame temperature and in the case of diesel engines reducing the amount of excess oxygen. The exhaust gas also increases the specific heat capacity of the mix, lowering the peak combustion temperature. Because Nitrogen Oxide formation progresses much faster at high temperatures, EGR serves to limit the generation of it.
Recirculation of exhaust gas is usually achieved by piping a route from the exhaust manifold to the inlet manifold, which is called external EGR. It is the EGR Valve which regulates and times the gas flow.