Mazda develops catalyst to slash precious metal use

TOKYO Mon Oct 1, 2007 3:59am BST

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TOKYO Oct 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) said on Monday it has developed the world's first catalyst for cars that employs single-nanotechnology to create a material structure that slashes platinum and palladium use by 70 to 90 percent.

The reduction results in no change in the performance of the automotive catalyst, which uses platinum, rhodium and palladium to trigger a chemical reaction with polluting nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to clean tailpipe emissions.

Domestic rival Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) in July also said it had developed a catalyst for gasoline cars that uses nanotechnology to prevent clustering of the catalyst's fine metal particles under high temperature conditions. That would halve the use of precious metal components, it had said.

Single-nanotechnology can control smaller particles than nanotechnology.

Automakers have been burdened with higher-than-expected commodity prices, and are looking for ways to reduce material use to save costs.

A Mazda spokesman said the company had not decided yet when it would first employ the technology on a production model. It also has no plan for now to share the technology with controlling shareholder Ford Motor Co (F.N).

Shares in Mazda climbed 2.1 percent in morning trade, outperforming a 0.2 percent rise in the transport sector subindex .ITEQP.T.

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