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F.C.C. Develops Paper-Based Motorcycle Catalytic Converter

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.




Affordable and lightweight? I might have to raid the Honda parts bin so I can put a catalytic convertor on my motorcycle.


Nice piece of work! I still prefer my E-cycle for noise and pollution reasons.

Roger Pham

Super paper that can withstand the exhaust heat of ~800 degrees C ? Unless very cool exhaust? Wonder what this "paper" is made off?

Rafael Seidl

Roger -

by the time the exhaust gases reach the catalyst, temperatures should be lower than that. Moreover, this is for stoichiometrically operated four-stroke engines, so there's very little free oxygen in the hot gas. This news is very good in that a single small-displacement four-stroke motorcycle without a three-way cat emits about as much as 30 cars equipped with them.

Unfortunately, crankcase-scavenged two-stroke engines cannot be controlled to lambda = 1 with sufficient accuracy for a three-way catalyst, not to mention the sensitivity of rated power to backpressure in the exhaust. The HC and blue smoke emissions due to the 1:50 admixture of the engine oil are toxic.

This is bad news for the millions of people in the third world who cannot yet afford the more expensive four-strokes. India is one country where rickshaws and scooters make up a large proportion of the total motor vehicle fleet.

Roger Pham

Honda has been making 4-stroke-50cc motorcyles since the late 1960's while Suzuki, Sach, Vespa, Lambretta, and Yamaha etc. at the time were still using 2-stroke engine. Even the early Honda 4-strokers mighty mites were very powerful, extremely reliable and quite affordable, with fairly clear exhaust, unlilke those blue smoky exhaust of the two-strokers.

I can't see why 2-strokes motorcycles aren't totally banned from the inner city due to high pollution level, while even the earliest and tiniest Honda 4-strokers were clearly superior in every aspects. So, this affordable "paper" catalytic converter is great news.

John Schreiber

lawn mowers would be a good app for this.


Rafael -

Roger is correct - Gasoline 3-way converters can be hot. (A diesel is cooler and reaches 550 - 600 at high load.)

The key in understanding this news release is a bit of insight into the word 'paper'. The fiber that is most commonly used in paper is cellulose - which would not withstand the high temperature environment. However, paper can also be made with ceramic, glass, or metal fibers.

Paper catalyst substrates have been proposed, developed, and marketed for application in diesel systems in the past. I know Haldor Topsoe has a SCR catalyst using a 'paper' on the road in Europe.

I'll wait to see FCC's paper catalyst on the market before jumping for joy over the announcement. Typically ceramic paper and textiles that are durable (i.e. to vibration) aren't described as inexpensive unless being compared to a premium material like nickel.


Honda is very committed with the environment.
They do not manufacture 2-stroke engines since many years ago.

John W.

Thanks Harvey that was helpful. I was wondering about the temperature thing too, esp. since the exhaust is hottest by far at stoichiometric ratio, where the cat works its magic. This is particularly relevant for Honda as they have developed micro-sized fuel injection systems for cheap mass production application into their scooters worldwide, you should see them in a couple to a few years, spreading to all their bikes eventually, so that the carb will be a thing of the past for them. This and their fuel injection systems will mesh very well. Looks like great news so far.

motorcycle oil

A few years ago, it was difficult to find synthetic motor oils, and equally difficult to find someone who admitted to using them. Nowadays, however, you can find synthetic motor oils on the shelves of Wal-Mart, and other retailers, and the number of people turning to synthetic motor oils, particularly in light of the recent events affecting fuel prices, has risen greatly.

So why do people use synthetic motor oils rather than sticking with the old petroleum based stand-bys which are admittedly cheaper?

1. Let's start with the cost per quart issue. Synthetic motor oils ARE more expensive at purchase. However, these oils last longer, requiring fewer oil changes. As a synthetic motor oil outlasts several changes of petroleum based lubricants, the ultimate out-of-pocket cost of the lubricant is less. This cost savings becomes even greater if you have someone else change your oil for you rather than doing it yourself!


Any chance that Synth Oil is less toxic from a 2-stroke than Petrol Oil? I'm curious to find that out.


For those two strokers out there, Aprilia makes a clean two stroke scooter using Orbital's (Australia) Direct Injection technology that's been around for 25+ years! Bombardier of Canada has there own system DI system thats employed in their snowmobiles and Johnson/Evenrude boat motors. They are cleaner than a four stroke with a carb and no cat, plus they have approx. 40 less parts for every cyclinder!

There's a Colorado University that builds kits for Rickshaws in Indonesia that employs Orbitals tech.

Gerry Adams

Please update this development. I find no mention of success in 2011.

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