Automotive catalysts (Clean air is our business)
Hydrogen-powered vehicles are currently still a thing of the future but that doesn’t mean that the cars which are currently roaming the streets should not fundamentally improve their environmental performance. This is being done thanks to the large-scale introduction of automotive catalysts in the past twenty years. These catalysts can now be found in almost any car.
And once more precious metals enjoy a prominent role: materials with such exotic names as platinum, rhodium and palladium react with harmful emissions from combustion engines (nitrogen oxide, organic molecules and carbon monoxide), rendering these gases largely harmless.
The Group’s Automotive Catalyst business has been busy developing, producing and engineering catalysts for a wide range of engines since the 1960s and is currently one of the world’s top three players.
Increasingly stringent emission regulation – not just in the European Union or North America but also in Asia and China – encompassing new categories of vehicles (such as trucks and buses) puts a heavy premium on technological development.
DID YOU KNOW
Clean air is our business?
The equivalent of about 10% of the revenues of Umicore’s catalyst business is used to fund the activity’s research & development programme. One in every six employees at the business is a member of the research department: it therefore does not come as a surprise that Umicore makes new technological breakthroughs every year.
The catalytic active material is integrated into a porous substrate through which the exhaust gases (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide) flow. The precious metals subsequently react with the exhaust gases, rendering them harmless. The entire structure is shielded by a metal housing.