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 We Buy Scrap Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters have proven to be reliable devices and have been successful in reducing noxious tailpipe emissions. However, they may have some adverse environmental impacts in use:

The requirement for a rich burn engine to run at the stoichiometric point means it uses more fuel than a "lean burn" engine running at a mixture of 20:1 or less. This increases the amount of fossil fuel consumed and the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicle. However NOx control on lean burn engines is problematic at best, and many lean burn engine manufacturers are considering rich burn variations. Another solution is to increase the amount of biofuels used - if 100% biofuel was used the engines would be CO2 neutral, presuming no fossil fuels were consumed in production of the biofuels, which currently is far from the case (see energy balance of biofuels).
Catalytic converters are "estimated" to account for 50% of total nitrous oxide (dinitrogen oxide, 'laughing gas') emissions to atmosphere. While N2O emissions in these concentrations are not harmful to human health, it is a potent greenhouse gas, accounting for around 7% of the overall greenhouse effect despite its small concentration in the atmosphere. The California Air Resources Board is investigating this issue, and will introduce legislation to address it if necessary.
The manufacturing of catalytic converters requires palladium and/or platinum; a portion of the world supply of these precious metals is produced near the Russian city of Norilsk (about 15%), with significant negative environmental effects due to the lack of environmental protection legislation. [2]
It can be argued that catalytic converters have reduced toxic emissions and smog at the expense of increased greenhouse gases, however anyone making this argument should consider the California Air Resources Board reports on improvements in Air Quality that have been achieved over the last 30 years.


 


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