In the research and development department of Umicore, different tailor-made catalyst technologies are being designed in order to meet the car industry's requests for technical and economical satisfactory solutions.
Reduction of Harmful Emissions
On a global basis, most passenger cars are equipped with stoichiometric Otto engines. Although the exhaust gas aftertreatment for such type of engines is well-known, demanding emission limits, especially in the European Union, the USA, and Japan, require even more sophisticated technical solutions. Three-way catalysts are one essential part of this system design. These technologies must guarantee a conversion level in the 95% range and even higher for major pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons — over the lifetime of the vehicle.
Another way to reduce emissions in passenger cars is to reduce fuel consumption. For this reason, lean operating Otto engines have entered the market offering fuel saving potentials of 15 to 20%. One major challenge for exhaust gas aftertreatment device is the chemical reduction of nitrogen oxides in an atmosphere that contains large amounts of oxygen. To overcome this challenge NOx adsorber catalyst technologies have been developed in close cooperation with the car industry.
In addition to advanced functions that are implemented in three-way catalyst technologies, these adsorber catalysts contain special nitrogen dioxide (NO2) storage functions which allow the adsorption (storage) of NO2 under lean engine operation conditions. The completely filled adsorber can be regenerated in a short period of rich engine operation conditions, allowing the engine to return to the fuel-saving lean operation mode.
Umicore has become the first catalyst manufacturer to supply the NOx adsorber catalyst technology for vehicles. Some of today's applications already meet the 2015 emission requirements.