Transportation / Mobility

December 26, 2003


Nikkei Environmental Award Grand Prize Goes to Daihatsu's Intelligent Catalyst Development Group

Keywords: Chemicals Environmental Technology Manufacturing industry Transportation / Mobility 

As reported in Japan's Nihon Keizai newspaper (the Japan Financial Times), Daihatsu Motor Company's Intelligent Catalyst Development Group won the 13th Nikkei Global Environmental Technology Award's Grand Prize.

Exhaust gases from gasoline-powered vehicles contain hazardous substances such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and so design elements are added to render these substances harmless by means of chemical catalysis, in oder to prevent toxic wastes from being directly released into the atmosphere. This chemical reaction is accelerated by fine particles of precious metals such as palladium and platinum, but they are vulnerable to heat and have a tendency to stick together and form larger particles. As a result, the catalytic effect of these precious metals gradually declines.

To prevent this decline in effect, many automakers around the world have been using larger amounts of precious metals, resulting in a significant increase in the consumption of these metals by car manufacturers. However, there are also calls for reducing the use of precious metals in automobiles, in that they are finite and valuable resources used in various fields, ranging from electronics and chemistry to dentistry.

After pursuing studies on how to keep the precious metal particles from aggregating, Daihatsu finally developed a method using nanotechnology, in which ions of the metals smaller than the fine particles are placed in ceramic crystals to avoid particle enlargement.

This technology can help maintain the catalytic effects of precious metals, and has led to a reduction in palladium consumption by about 70 percent.

Posted: 2003/12/26 04:56:16 PM
Japanese version