Type "stolen U-Haul catalytic converter" into a search engine and you'll get scads of results on the issue sourced from local papers all over the country. Conduct that same search on vehicles in general and the results will be numbingly numerous, trucks and vans the victims in almost all of them because thieves can easily crawl under them. The latest spate of saw-and-grab robberies seems to stem from the New York City area, with the New York Daily News reporting that burglars have stolen more th
Jeremy Clarkson is, among other things, a wonderfully entertaining writer, but it's no secret that he hates hybrids with a passion. In his most recent review of the new BMW 535i, the new sedan doesn't even get mentioned until halfway through the article (typical Clarkson), and begins with a rant about the "green-eyed monster," the horror of catalytic converters and how much time is wasted on engineering electric motors.
Believe it or not, catalysts were not mandatory in European gasoline-powered cars until 1988. The reason behind that was that the fuel consumption of European cars, noticeably lower than their American counterparts, was considered less of a harm. Then there is the EU (formerly EC) rule of making all decisions unanimously, which with France and Italy on one side and Germany on the other didn't make the process easy. We're seeing a rehash of this in the current discussion on CO2 limits. Compared t
Bulging in the exhaust system like a rabbit deep in the belly of a boa, the catalytic converter cleans engine fumes before they are released into the air. To the inexperienced, the oversized metal cylinder looks rather uninteresting. To a thief, it is a pod of precious metal worth nearly $200 on the black market.
As the cost of precious metals like platinum and rhodium has been rising, car makers have been working on reducing the content of those materials in their catalytic converters. Nissan has been using nano-technology to help keep the application of the catalytic materials more uniform. The new catalyst design will be going into production on a new vehicle in late 2008, early 2009 and will be shared with partner Renault.
Nissan has developed a new catalyst for its gasoline-powered cars that requires only half the amount of precious metals that current designs call for. The catalyst or catalytic converter is a piece of the exhaust system filled with a mix of platinum, rhodium and palladium that captures harmful toxins in a car's exhaust such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons by triggering a chemical reaction.
I don't know nearly enough about the mining of precious metals such as platinum to estimate how much it costs to get a reasonable amount from the earth. But, I do know that the metal is expensive to buy, so it must at least be reasonably difficult, right? So, perhaps we should be looking at recovering the precious metals, again like platinum, that we have already unearthed. That is what researchers from Cardiff University are suggesting.