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 CO that 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.
The prototype 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 says: “Catalytic converters are the most important component in a vehicle for controlling exhaust emissions. Yet their design has not changed since they were first developed in the 1940s. The prototype I have developed could make cars cheaper to run because they use less fuel. It could potentially help manufacturers to reduce their costs. Drivers could also be a major beneficiary of this device, which could save on fuel costs and ultimately lead to reduced CO emissions.”