Catalyst for change

Nissan Motor Company

has developed an ultra-low precious metal catalyst for introduction into the Japanese market later this week, inside the Nissan Cube multipurpose vehicle.

Conventional catalysts cause precious metals such as platinum and rhodium to cluster, which leads to a reduction in surface area and less-effective cleaning of emissions.

Masanori Nakamura, manager of the Nissan Research Centre, said that to solve the issue of clustering Nissan’s engineers approached the problem from a physical, rather than chemical, perspective.

Nakamura explained that the new under floor catalyst improves surface area by using an unnamed ‘wall material’ to keep the metals separate.

The new catalyst design, which is claimed to be a world first, uses half the amount of precious metals and improves efficiency by emitting 75 per cent less nitrogen oxides (NOx) and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC).

The catalyst will be produced for the domestic vehicle market in Nissan’s Yokohama Plant. The technology has been developed under the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and future applications may include Renault vehicles and diesel engines, as well as non-automotive uses.