Low temperature catalysts reduce emissions

31 March 2019
Presented by Jack Tavener.

CAR-EXHAUST

Car exhaust pipes

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Catalytic converters are in car exhausts and convert toxic carbon monoxide into much less harmful carbon dioxide, as well as removing other pollutants. On a petrol car, they are the metal box you see just before the exhaust. Unfortunately, current catalytic converters don’t work effectively at lower temperatures, usually only starting to work well when heated to about 200°C, once the vehicle has been running for a few minutes. This is what’s known as the cold start problem and why the US Department of Energy have set a target to remove 90% of harmful emissions from exhausts below 150°C. A collaboration led by Yong Wang from Washington State University has discovered a new way to help achieve this. Jack Tavener spoke to catalyst expert, Patrick Barrie, from the University of Cambridge to get his take on this breakthrough...

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