Mazda Motor Corporation has developed a new catalyst for cars that uses between 70 to 90 percent less platinum and palladium than current catalysts. However, the company claims that this does not result in any change in the performance of the catalyst.
In automotive catalytic converters, ceramic base materials with precious metal particles around 0-100nm in size deposited across their surface promote chemical reactions that purify exhaust gases. However, exposure to the heat of the exhaust causes the precious metal particles to agglomerate into larger ones, reducing the catalyst’s effective surface area and catalytic activity. A significant amount of precious metal must be used in a catalytic converter to counter the effect and maintain the efficiency of the catalyst.
To increase the surface area of the precious metal, Mazda developed a new catalyst using precious metal particles that are less than 5nm in diameter embedded in fixed positions on the ceramic base material.
As a result, there is no agglomeration of the precious metal particles, and the amount of expensive precious metals used in a typical three-way catalytic converters – which is used to purify gasoline-engine exhaust gases – can be reduced by 70 to 90 percent.
Moreover, the company claims that the new catalyst material will maintain the same level of efficiency with minimal deterioration over time even under the harshest operating conditions.