The challenge to substitute less expensive Pd for Pt in TWC catalysts is complicated by the fact that Pd is susceptible to fuel poisons. Laboratory studies indicate that while the precious metal support plays an important role in the CO-NOx reaction, sulfur poisoning dominates. In a reaction to probe selectively the Rh metal function within a washcoat, it was found that small levels of Pd can have a deleterious impact on the performance of the Rh metal. Engine aging studies corroborate the work of recent publications showing that conventional Pd/Rh TWC catalysts exhibit poorer performance than standard Pt/Rh catalysts.
The more stringent TLEV and LEV emission standards require more robust catalysts than are currently available. To obtain faster light-off in close coupled positions, the catalyst will experience higher exhaust temperatures. A Pd/Rh catalyst, with an engineered washcoat to minimize alloying, can exceed the performance of a current Pt/Rh commercial catalyst. The potential for reducing the Rh loading in such a Pd/Rh catalyst will be demonstrated. Data will be presented to show the evolution of this technology.