70% of the toxic gasses emitted from automotive exhaust systems originates from the first 60 seconds of the cold start. Severe health effects are associated with air pollution from motor vehicles. In fact, it causes 6% of total mortality per annum, half of which is attributed to vehicle emissions. Current catalytic converter technology relies on expensive platinum group metals (Pt, Pd, Rh) which are very effective in oxidizing these toxic gases at elevated engine working temperatures, however, they completely fail to catalytically convert the gases at temperatures of cold starts. Nanoparticles of gold are well known for their superior catalytic capabilities at low temperatures. Nevertheless, they have never been integrated into the catalytic converter technologies because of their tendency to coarsen at elevated temperatures and lose their catalytic activity. We have developed nanoporous gold (np-Gold) that has the same catalytic activity as that of gold nanoparticles but is thermally stable at elevated temperatures. This is due to the fact, that we form our np-Gold from a eutectic Au-Ge alloy and in the form of single crystals. The elimination of grain boundaries as well as more energetically stable facets of np-Gold removes the rapid diffusion routes leading to the coarsening of the nanoporosity and renders np-Gold thermal stability. This makes our np-Gold a promising candidate to solve the current problem of cold start catalysis. We trust that our np-Gold solution will make a great positive impact on the environment and society by lowering the levels of air pollution and occurrence of diseases attributed to toxic cold start vehicle emissions. We propose herein to study how we can incorporate our np-Gold into current catalytic converter products by replacing some of the current catalysts or incorporating as an add-on component to the existing technology.
Field of science
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fossil energy/gas
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
- /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/environmental sciences/pollution
Call for proposal
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