Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Why is catalytic converter supplier BASF smiling?


BASF’s Huntsville plant has been turning out catalytic converters since the creation of the U.S. EPA — with no plan to slow down.

In a world of rising calls for zero-emission vehicles, cleaner burning engines and shared vehicles, what does BASF’s catalytic converter division have to be bullish about?

So far this year, the division has opened a plant in India, expanded a factory in Poland and, more recently, announced a production expansion at its catalytic converter plant in Huntsville, Ala.

That plant has been in operation since 1974, when the newly created U.S. EPA first began requiring automakers to reduce tailpipe emissions. In August, it produced its 400-millionth catalytic converter. The company has no concern about slowing down.

“Even with the projected growth of electric vehicles, we see growth for quite some time with emissions control technologies like we provide,” says Joel Johnson, vice president for BASF’s mobile emission catalyst business, with responsibility for North and South America.

Johnson: Growth ahead

Johnson has no doubt the auto industry will evolve to electromobility, and the company is already working on development of electric vehicle battery components.

“But we’re not at all concerned that the internal combustion engine will go away anytime soon,” he said. “If you look at the way emissions regulations are developing, autos, trucks and off-road heavy equipment will continue to get increasingly stringent regulations, and the technologies they’ll need to meet those regulations will require our catalysts.”

The business is preparing for a new wave of products called four-way catalysts. The current technology is known as a three-way catalyst, converting carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons.

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