[Harley explained that the root of the problem may be catalytic converters that work too well. When nitrogen oxide from the engine's exhaust is "over-reduced," a complex chemical reaction ensues. Ammonia gas (NH3) forms in the catalytic converter, which is then emitted from the vehicle's tailpipe.
"Catalytic converters have played a major part in reducing air pollution caused by automobiles. Unfortunately, this research suggests that while fixing one problem, the converters have caused an unexpected secondary problem," said Andrew Kean, a graduate student in Harley's laboratory.
"I am confident that if the catalytic converters were not being used, we wouldn't see the high ammonia emissions that we saw," Kean said. "Though they have been very helpful to reducing air pollution from cars, catalytic converters have caused ammonia levels to increase." ]
[Thus, the importance of testing for the presence of the PGE metals Platinum, Rhodium, and Palladium has increased accordingly. This is directly related to the dramatic upsurge, beginning in the 1980's, in the use of these elements in catalytic converters for the purification of automobile exhaust...
Because of the high temperature within the catalytic converter as well as the high amount of exhaust passing through, small amounts of the catalytically active metals are expelled through mechanical friction with the rest of the exhaust, thus entering into the environment. In investigations both in the laboratory and in the field, it was discovered that up to 5 micrograms per kilogram can be emitted. As well, one cubic meter of exhaust, at 100 km/h, may contain about 15 nanograms.While the major part of these emitted metals will remain in the soil, a small amount may be transmitted in mobile form, ending up in bodies of water. The danger lies in the possibility that the mobile PGE metals may be absorbed by plants, and through the food chain end up being ingested by humans. In a study done in Munich, for example, there were considerable concentrations found in grass cultures with long-term exposure alongside well-traveled roadways. In more thorough investigations, high concentrations of Platinum and Rhodium were found in various environmental sectors, and not only in those in the immediate vicinity of roadways.
The allergy-causing properties of Platinum and Palladium are especially well-known. People with long-term occupational exposure to soluble Platinum suffer from so-called Platinumosis,and experience problems with their skin and lungs. Certain Platinum compounds cause more virulent reactions. Palladium can cause especially strong allergic reactions. Thus far, concentrations found in environmental studies have been well under the threshold for causing any effects which have yet been observed, but, over time, increased concentrations are to be expected. It is especially worth noting because even the smallest concentrations can affect the organism. As has happened so many times before in history, an originally good idea has had unintended negative consequences.]
Include this with a recent study finding further increased carcinogenic properties of platinum, palladium, and rhodium and cats may be changing soon anyhow.
Add to this fact that cars are becoming so increasingly efficient in the combustion process that some of you guys have passed emissions without cats!!!
If my cats melted and stopped up (have in the past on an '85 LTD I had) I'd go cat-free.
More studies are finding that our world is faring better than we thought, eating more of the bad crap than we expected. Seeing that it is 4am, I don't feel up to looking up more info for you guys. Just trust me that it is being proven that the "global warming" trend isn't our fault... it's just that time of the month for ol' mother earth.
FWIW, I work in nuclear propulsion (guess that makes me a submariner) and I hear all about EPA bull$h1t and emissions (nocturnal included).
on Green Peace.
-lil ol me