Guess how much platinum there is in a Volkswagen Passat diesel? If you said $238 worth, you'd be right.
Nanostellar is trying to reduce it. The company, which focuses on car emissions, has produced a platinum alloy that can substitute for the pure material inside catalytic converters, according to CEO Pankaj Dhingra. Recently, it began production of 250 kilograms a week.
Platinum sprinkled in the catalytic converter captures gases like carbon monoxide and turns them into less dangerous compounds, such as carbon dioxide. But platinum costs a lot. Nanostellar's particles can cut around $56 to $117 out of the platinum budget and cut down on emissions.
Crooks have also been stealing catalytic converters for the platinum lately. The stuff sells for $1,100 an ounce, after all. Nanostellar is trying to land deals with automakers, but its materials will end up in aftermarket converters in the relatively near future.