Tokyo, Japan – Nissan Motor Company has announced it will introduce its new ultra-low precious metal catalyst on the catalytic converter of the new Cube on November 19 in Japan. The breakthrough catalyst, which the company said is a world’s first, uses half the amount of precious metals compared with conventional catalysts.

Of the world’s reserve of precious metals, 50 per cent of platinum and 80 per cent of rhodium are used in the automotive industry as catalysts.

In conventional catalysts, the high temperatures cause the precious metals to cluster, reducing the exposed metal surface area and leading to less effective emissions cleaning. To compensate, existing converters contain higher amounts of precious metal in order to maintain an efficient level of cleaning.

With Nissan’s technology, the precious metals are separated by a “wall material”, which prevents clustering and leads to improved cleaning efficiency. “Nissan engineers approached the problem from a physical perspective, rather than a chemical perspective, in order to achieve the breakthrough,” said Masanori Nakamura, manager of the Nissan Research Center, who said the concept is similar to “eggs protected in a bird’s nest.”

The new converter, which will be introduced in the next-generation Cube, reduces the amount of precious metals used from 1.3 grams to .65 grams, while 75 per cent fewer nitrogen oxides (NOx) and non-methane hydrocarbons are emitted. The ultra-low precious metal catalyst will be produced in Nissan’s Yokohama Plant for the domestic vehicle market. It was developed under the Renault-Nissan Alliance and will also be used in Renault vehicles and diesel engines in future, as well as possibly in non-automotive applications.

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