Nikkei. F.C.C. Co., a manufacturer of clutches for motorcycles and cars and whose leading shareholder is Honda, has devised a catalytic converter made from paper for cleaning motorcycle exhaust. The company hopes to commercialize the product by 2010 at a price point that enables its application even on scooters.
Conventional automobile catalytic converters are made from ceramics, but motorcycles use converters made from nickel and other metals that can better withstand vibrations. The weight of the devices and the high price of the metals has limited their application to larger and more expensive motorcycles.
F.C.C adapted manufacturing technologies used to make friction materials for clutches to mix in platinum and other precious metals during the papermaking process. The resulting paper-based catalytic converter is easy to manufacture, light-weight, withstands vibration and can be built into the muffer.
The catalyst material was developed in collaboration with Kyushu University. The porous structure of the current paper catalyst increases its efficiency compared to earlier attempts as the air gaps are the site of the catalytic reactions. The catalyst powder is highly homogeneous and can cover a large area at low cost using the manufacturing method.
F.C.C. expects its first customer for the paper catalytic converter to be Honda Motor Co.
Original F.C.C. announcement (Japanese)