Richmond Hill, Ontario – Mazda has announced the world’s first market application of single-nanocatalyst technology in automobile catalytic converters, first introduced in the all-new Mazda3. The new system significantly reduces the amount of precious metals used.

The converter in the all-new Mazda3 requires only 0.15 g/L of precious metals, approximately 70 per cent less than the 0.55 g/L required in the previous model. The system still meets the latest emissions regulations in Canada, Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

Automotive catalysts consist of a base material coated with precious particles, which promote chemical reactions that purify exhaust gases. In conventional catalysts, exposure to hot exhaust gases causes the precious metal particles to form larger clumps, which reduces their effective surface area. To counteract this, an increased amount is required to maintain an efficient purification performance.

By using nanoparticles of precious metals, instead of larger particles, less metal is needed to produce the same surface area over the ceramic base of the catalyst. These metals include platinum, rhodium and palladium, which speed up the chemical reactions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in order to create non-toxic emissions.

While the core benefit of the technology is cost savings, as automakers are some of the largest consumers of the world supply of these precious metals, there are possible environmental and health benefits as well resulting from less platinum and palladium in converters, the automaker said. Mazda will progressively introduce the single-nanocatalyst to all its global markets.

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