Following a similar announcement by Nissan Motor at the end of July, now Mazda Motor Corporation has developed what is claims is a "world-first" car catalyst that use single-nanotechnology to create a catalyst material structure which substantially reduces the amount of precious metals that are used, such as platinum and palladium.

The new development enables Mazda to reduce the amount of platinum and palladium used in automotive catalysts by 70 to 90% (Nissan claimed it had halved the amount).

Mazda said there were no changes in the performance of purifying gas emissions and the high durability of conventional catalysts remained.

Single-nanotechnology is a technology that can control even smaller particles than nanotechnology.

In automotive catalysts, precious metals promote the exhaust gas purifying reactions on their surfaces. In conventional catalysts, the precious metals are adhered to a base material. Exposure to exhaust gas heat causes the precious metal to agglomerate into larger particles. This reduces the catalyst's effective surface area and catalytic activity, which requires the use of a significant amount of precious metals to counter and maintain an efficient purification performance.

In order to increase the precious metal surface area, Mazda developed a new catalyst using its proprietary catalyst material structure and precious metal particles that are less than five nanometres (nm) in diameter. This, the automaker said, is the first time that a catalyst material has been achieved that features single, nanosized precious metal particles embedded in fixed positions.

As a result, there is no agglomeration of the precious metal particles, and the amount of high-priced precious metals used in three-way catalytic converters - which purify petrol engine exhaust gases - can be reduced by 70 to 90%.

Moreover, the new catalyst material will maintain the same level of purifying efficiency, with minimal deterioration over time even under the harshest operating conditions, Mazda added.

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