SDC Materials, a Tempe nanotechnology company, is in the commercial phase of developing a nano-catalyst from platinum group metals like palladium. SDC recently finished field trials of their Nano-Nano-micron emissions catalyst and began commercial deployment of the catalyst in transit exhaust systems in Europe. The technology reduces the amount of platinum group metals in exhaust systems while meeting higher and more stringent emissions standards. The catalysts reduce the emissions profile and lower the light off-temperature, enabling cheaper, longer-lasting and more efficient catalytic converters. The key to achieving these benefits is the increased surface area created by the proprietary nanofabrication process SDC Materials utilizes.
This product improves the efficiency and performance of internal combustion engines, providing better catalysis of pollutants while displaying better platinum group element loading than traditional catalysts.
The ecological and human health risks associated with SDC catalysts are relatively simple and well understood. SDC does not actually manufacture stage 3 products, rather they manufacture stage two materials that are then sold to catalyst manufacturers. The health and environmental risks are in the latter stages of product development when workers are dealing with the materials SDC produces. Additionally, it should be noted that the finished product from SDC is at the micron scale, rather than the nano-scale, only retaining its nanoproperties internally. This reduces the environmental health and safety risks of dealing with their finished products. Additionally, SDCs manufacturing process uses very little energy inputs and is virtually a zero waste process. All of the material inputs that are not consumed are reused or recycled by SDC.