Okay, I admit this is a pretty technical-sounding headline, but the implications are big: 20% of worldwide NOx emissions are from passenger cars, trucks or buses. And NOx should not be taken lightly. Direct exposure will result in irritation and ultimately damage to the respiratory system. NOx also contributes to smog and acid rain, harming us and our environment.
Although diesel engines are rugged and durable, as well as the solution which is being increasingly turned to in order to achieve better fuel economy in passenger cars, they do not have a very clean reputation. Ever-stricter emissions controls are making it harder for manufacturers to reduce the emissions of toxic gases to the extent required by new legislation.
So Mitsubishi Plastics contribution here could be an invaluable one. Their new catalyst uses a combination of copper and another of their products, “Aqsoa”. Aqusoa is a new zeolitic water-absorbing material that Mitsubishi Plastics have been marketing as a way to reduce humidity, thus improving the efficiency of air conditioners.
But it seems that Aqsoa many be multi-talented. The copper / Aqsoa catalyst tested by Mitsubishi Plastics scientists is 1.5 to 2 times as effective as traditional catalysts at low temperatures (150 to 200 degrees Celcius).
At 200 degrees, this new catalyst cleans 95% of the NOx from exhaust gases. The low-temperature operation of this new formula is important: Since cars and other vehicles are often used for relatively short journeys, the faster a part can reach optimum operating temperature is crucial in improving efficiency.
Source: Nikkan (Japanese)