Development of NEXT GENeration cost efficient automotive CATalysts

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The main objective of NEXTGENCAT proposal is the development of novel eco-friendly nano-structured catalysts for automotive industry utilizing transition metals (Cu, Co, Cd, Pb, Zn, Fe etc) nanoparticles. Based on nanotechnology, low cost nanoparticles will be incorporated into different substrates, including advanced ceramics (SiO2, Al2O3, ZrO2, CeO2, perovskite) and silicon carbides, for the development of high efficient and economical catalysts. The main idea of the current proposal is the effective dispersion and the controllable size of the metal nanoparticles into the substrate that will lead to improved performance. To this end a modified polyol process as well as chemical and physical treatment of selected substances will enable the introduction of transition metal nanoparticles on the catalyst substrate precursors via adsorption and ion-exchange. The presence of metal ions on fixed precursors’ sites will avoid the agglomeration during heating and final products with very fine dispersion of the particles and tuneable metal content will be obtained. It is expected that the developed catalysts will exhibit, increased catalytic performance, even at low temperatures (200-250oC). Other key properties of the proposed nanostructured catalysts include: increased thermal stability (avoiding aggregation), improved durability, capability of reuse and recovery of transition metals as well as low health and environmental impact.

Apart from the scientific innovations, the proposed project holds also great economic importance. Taking into account that the autocatalyst industry uses extremely large quantities of precious metal- 60% of Pt and 65% of Pd of the total world supplies – the impact of replacing PGMs is of tremendous significance. Based on the current metal prices, it is estimated that the developed catalysts will reduce the catalyst cost at about 40-50%, opening the way to an efficient adaptation of nanotechnology-based catalysts in the automotive sector.

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