Auto Service World
News   November 16, 2001   by Auto Service World

Catalytic Converter Technology Inventors Honored


John J. Mooney and Carl D. Keith, have been awarded the Walter Ahlstrom Foundation’s Walter Ahlstrom Prize 2001 in Finland today for their work in inventing and commercializing the three-way-catalytic converter to reduce exhaust gas pollution.
The prize is awarded in cooperation with the Finnish Academies of Technology.
The Walter Ahlstrom Prize was established to further encourage engineers and scientists to develop technological innovations. It recognizes significant technological achievements that enable widely applicable industrial advances in the use of energy, in the utilization of raw materials, or in minimizing detrimental environmental impacts. Primary consideration is given to engineering achievements that have led to important benefits in industry and to the well-being of society. The award, which includes a citation and an honorarium, was presented by Finland’s Minister of Industry and Trade at a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland.
A team of scientists led by Mooney and Keith pioneered development of the first catalytic converters at Engelhard Corporation, which appeared on 1975-model cars. A year later, Engelhard introduced a major innovation — the modern, “three-way” catalyst, which today is capable of destroying 97% of hydrocarbons, 96% of carbon monoxide and 90% of nitrogen oxides produced by engines used in cars, light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles. Among the most important pollution abatement devices ever invented, the catalytic converter today is a key component in 80% of new cars around the world. Mooney is a director of technology development at Engelhard. Keith retired from Engelhard in 1985.
“We are honored to be recognized for our contribution to clean air,” said Edmund A. Stanczak, group vice president and general manager, environmental technologies, at Engelhard. “Our expertise in catalyst technology has positioned Engelhard as a leader in emissions control solutions and made us uniquely qualified to explore opportunities in other mobile and stationary applications.”
Since its inception, the three-way catalyst technology has destroyed an estimated 56 million tons of hydrocarbons, 118 million tons of nitrogen oxides and 464 billion tons of carbon monoxide before they ever reached the atmosphere.
Today, Engelhard is a leading develop of automotive emissions catalysts.


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