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Posted: July 30, 2007
Nanotechnology halves precious metal content in new automotive catalyst
(Nanowerk News) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a new catalyst for gasoline-powered cars that utilizes only half the precious metal components versus conventional catalyst currently available. This new catalyst will be introduced in future products from fiscal 2008.
This technology, developed as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, results in no changes in the performance of the catalyst despite using significantly less precious metal.
Exhaust-cleaning automotive catalysts comprise a mix of platinum (Pt), rhodium (Rh) and palladium (Pd). Within the catalyst, the chemical reaction between the precious metals and exhaust gases contributes to the chemical reaction of nitrogen oxide (NOX), carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) - into non-toxic compounds such as nitrogen (N2), water (H20), and carbon dioxide (CO2).
In conventional catalysts, the high temperatures within the catalyst causes the precious metals to cluster-up, reducing the exposed metal surface area, leading to less-effective cleaning of the gases. To compensate this problem, existing converters contain a higher amount of precious metals in order to maintain an efficient level of cleaning.
Employing advanced nanotechnology, Nissan has succeeded in keeping the fine metal particles separated to prevent them from clustering under high temperature conditions. This pioneering technology enables the catalyst to maintain performance while utilizing only half the component of precious metals needed.