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A new catalyst may reduce costs of catalytic converters

By Chemical Engineering |

Conventional catalytic converters in automobiles are based on heterogeneous catalyst systems with precious metals (such as Pt and Pd), rare earth elements and Ce (in the form of CeO2). However, the cost and limited resources of such metals is driving efforts to find more sustainable alternatives. The group of Takeshi Fujita at Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan; www.tohoku.ac.jp), in collaboration with the National Institute for Materials Science (Tsukuba, Japan; www.nims.go.jp), has developed a durable catalyst system based on more abundant, less expensive elements. The catalyst is made by a single step, whereby a NiCuMn alloy is treated with acid. This so-called “de-alloying of Mn” activation process leads to a nanoporous NiCuMnO catalyst with a diameter of 50–100 nm. Microporous characterization shows a distinct structural feature in which catalytically active Cu/CuO regions are tangled with a stable, nanoporous NiMnO network. The new catalyst exhibits good catalytic activity and durability for NO reduction and CO oxidation, showing high conversion at temperatures about 50°C lower than that required by existing Ni/Cu-based catalysts. The researchers demonstrated that the catalyst can produce CO2, without generating NO and…
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