We are all aware of how technology has an immense impact on our lives, and we are used to the fact that everything is available and that we are only one click away from getting the information, but it wasn’t always like that. Throughout the time, several industrial revolutions led us where we are now, and with the second one and the invention of the internal combustion engine, everything started rapidly evolving.
The invention of the automobile was a game-changer, but even that had and still has some dangerous effects, especially when it comes to our environment. Although many vehicles made this world a much more convenient place for everyone, it has also made this world a more polluted one. Today, air quality has never been worse, and besides plants and industry overall, vehicles are one of the main contributors to that.
That is why for almost 40 years now, there is a constant war on emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses. From 1970 and the USA bill, which stated that every vehicle manufactured since then must have a catalytic converter. What this device does is changing the chemical nature of exhaust gasses and reducing the volume of dangerous emissions. The invention and implementation of the device called CAT (catalytic converter) to every vehicle drastically lessen the emission of gasses tied to the greenhouse effect.
Due to their ability to tackle main types of emission, today, there are two-way and three-way catalytic converters. The two-way CAT has two tasks, oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and the oxidation of partially and or completely unburnt fuel to water and carbon dioxide. The three-way CAT has all that and one task more (hence the name), and that is the reduction of nitrogen oxide to nitrogen, and it is the one that most cars have.
Every CAT device has a catalyst (a substance responsible for accelerating the chemical reaction) and a catalytic converter. Two types of them are in usage, and the first one uses rhodium and platinum for reducing the emissions of nitrogen oxide. The catalyst ‘job’ is to rip atoms of the nitrogen molecules, which, in the end, releases much cleaner oxygen through the exhaust system. The other type uses palladium and platinum, and it is also known as the oxidization catalyst. Unlike the first one, which is all about ripping apart atoms, this one burns the hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, which as a result, has a reduced amount of smog that is produced by unburnt fuel.
The O2 sensor is another integral part of every CAT, and its position is right after that device. This sensor is responsible for checking all chemical processes of the CAT by sending the information on the amount of oxygen found in the exhaust gasses to the engine control unit (ECU). Then the computer can easily adjust the ratio of the air and fuel, which allows the engine to run to its full potential. The importance of the O2 sensor is quite significant and has multiple roles. It helps the overall efficiency of the engine by choosing the right amount of fuel and oxygen for the combustion process and also assuring that the CAT will get enough oxygen for efficiently completing the oxidization process (second catalyst).
From everything mentioned above, it is quite clear why the implementation of the catalytic converter in every vehicle is essential, and what it does. The process itself may sound complicated, but the significant thing to know is that it is an integral part that improves the air conditions and improves our health and lives overall.
Removing the CAT device from your car is not only not recommended, but it is also highly illegal in many countries, and everyone should avoid that.
From time to time, you would have to clean your CAT because it can get not only dirty, but it will also lose its function, and you will not pass your MOT. Of course, no one needs to do this by themselves, and every exhaust cleaning service can do it for you. To help it last longer and to prevent any problem with an exhaust system overall, using premium branded fuels along with taking the long drives where you can increase your speed (up to the speed limit, not above) will help you with that.
Those old cars are often the biggest producers of emissions because of the state of their CAT, and some cleaning or even replacing them is required. If you need to replace them, be aware that the price for a new one can vary depending on the engine and the type of car, and it can cost several hundreds of dollars. The price can only get higher, especially if it is an integral part of the overall exhausting system. That is why regularly checking and cleaning it can save you both time and money. But if you need money for a new car and already have an old one stored in a garage, check Autowranglers, a place where it doesn’t matter in what condition the car is, and also where you can find out how much money you can get for it.
Although the CAT is not a solution to pollution, their role in reducing the immediate pollution from the roadways is quite high, and to get the most out of them is to get them to worm up, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes of driving. From this, it is quite apparent that in the first couple of minutes (until the CAT is warm), your car will still release some emissions.
The perfect solution for car emissions is only the invention of a more efficient engine, which will reduce or make those emissions not existent. And although the technology is improving, the hazardous pollutants remain, and until those efficient engines come, using CAT is the best answer. There is no need for removing it, and getting an additional one or two horsepower is not worth the amount of pollution that it will cause.