Improved catalytic converter to save fuel and reduce car production costs

Date:29 January 2014 Tags:, , ,

A new catalytic converter that could cut fuel consumption and manufacturing costs has been designed by a scientist from Imperial College London.

A catalytic converter is the component in a vehicle’s exhaust system that eliminates some harmful emissions. Tests suggest that the new prototype could reduce fuel consumption in a standard vehicle by up to three per cent. It could also deliver environmental benefits by reducing the amount of CO₂that each vehicle emits.

The new design uses up to 80 per cent less rare metal, a development that could significantly reduce costs for vehicle manufacturers. Catalytic converters are expensive to manufacture because they use precious metals such as platinum to eliminate emissions. These metals currently account for up to 60 to 70 per cent of the cost of the component.

Invented by Dr Benjamin Kingsbury, a Research Associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, the prototype device is also predicted to perform better than existing models because the rare metal degrades less over the lifetime of the component. Laboratory tests suggest that it deteriorates by only four per cent over a distance of 100 000 kilometres, compared to 35 per cent for a standard catalytic converter.

Dr Kingsbury has been awarded funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering to take his prototype to the marketplace. A key next step is to develop a production process for mass manufacturing.

Source: Imperial College London


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