Innovative Catalytic Converter for Automobiles

In this technology friendly world, transportation is becoming easier and has created a world with no boundaries. However, population and pollution are the two major challenges in developing countries, like India.

Need of transportation has increased the probabilities of accidents as well as exposure to hazardous gases generated through automobiles. During the last decade, automobile market has grown exponentially. Gases generated through automobiles like Carbon Monoxide (CO), unburned Hydrocarbons (HC), Nitrogen Oxides (NO) are poisonous and have adverse effect on human health, air quality and environment.

Here, two major constraints – economical and limited resources of noble metals – motivated the team of Nirma University researchers to develop a project in which the alternative catalytic materials are used to reduce the content of noble metals in catalytic converter. To minimise the emission of pollutants, converters are being used in the automobiles.

Currently, there are three ways of catalytic converter based on noble metals such as Pt-Pd-Rh (Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium) which is expensive and having lower resistance to sulphur poisoning and also resources of them are limited in the nature.

The interdisciplinary team of professors, Dr Femina Patel, Dr Sanjay Patel, from Chemical Engineering Department and Dr Niraj Shah from Mechanical Engineering Department, took this challenge and worked on a project funded by Nirma University entitled “Affordable Pddoped Perovskite based Catalytic Converter for Abating Automotive Emission”.

In this study, intelligent catalyst perovskite with small amount of palladium has been developed which offer high catalytic activity because Perovskite Oxides have very good thermal and mechanical stability with excellent redox properties as well as low cost material compared to noble metals. The performance of perovskites has been enhanced by incorporating small amount of palladium into a perovskite structure which could minimise tail pipe pollutants significantly and also exhibited no sintering, minimum volatilisation at high operating temperatures and very low deactivation.

A novel synthesis method reactive grinding also known as mechano-chemical synthesis using high energy ball mill has been developed to prepare Pd-doped perovskites. The unique reactive grinding planetary ball mill, developed indigenously produces perovskites in an efficient, simpler and economical manner.