Helping China to meet the urgent need for cleaner air
Umicore today opened its new production facility for catalysts used in heavy duty diesel (HDD) vehicles such as trucks and buses. The catalysts made at this facility will enable truck producers and engine manufacturers in China to meet the new China IV emission standards which came into force in July 2013 and will also be essential in meeting more stringent legislation as already established in some major cities around the country.
The facility produces Selective Catalytic Reduction systems (SCR) for NOx after-treatment and is built close to Umicore's existing automotive catalysts plant and technology development centre in the Suzhou Industrial Park. It employs 40 people.
With this addition to its infrastructure and technical capability Umicore now boasts a full range of automotive catalyst development and production services for both the light duty and heavy duty markets in China.
David Fong, Senior Vice President Umicore Greater China, commented: "Concerns over the health effects of air pollution are growing in China and I am very proud of the contribution that this facility will make to cleaner air. While emission standards have been moving in the right direction in China for a while now. Umicore has the innovative technologies and production capabilities to enable China to meet even more stringent standards."
Umicore's catalysts enable improvements to air quality by transforming harmful vehicle emissions through sophisticated catalytic processes. In China Umicore has been producing catalysts since 2005 and since then its technology has enabled some 20 million tonnes of harmful pollutants to be removed from the air.
The Chinese truck market is the largest in the world in terms of number of vehicles, with an annual production of more than 2 million units. Umicore has secured a number of contracts for HDD engine platforms complying with the new standards.
Combustion engines intrinsically produce toxic emissions. National and regional authorities impose limits on these emissions in order to obtain good air quality. Vehicle producers typically comply with these limits by installing a catalyst system in the exhaust system of the vehicle, which transforms toxic emissions into harmless ones. The vast majority of passenger cars produced today have such a catalyst system on board and this is more and more the case for heavy duty vehicles as well. The catalyst system has to reduce the NOx (nitrogen oxide) one of the targeted toxic emissions, to harmless N2 (nitrogen gas). A diesel engine operates with excess oxygen which makes NOx reduction directly in the exhaust system not possible. A dedicated catalyst is therefore needed. This can either be a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, which uses a urea additive, or a NOx storage catalyst.