More and more you hear motorcycle manufacturers talk about greener motorcycles, and more and more you can hear them talk about catalytic converters.
And what does this catalytic converter exactly do? The catalytic converter converts harmful waste – gases carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC) – into less harmful nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water. It does this by passing the gases through a ceramic and stainless steel honeycomb coated with aluminum, silicon and precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium.
They are very effective. They have brought about 94 percent reduction in CO and HC emitted by motorcycles between 1999 and 2006 and a 50 percent reduction in NOx.
Unfortunately it can't help with carbon dioxide, which a catalytic converter actually produce more of. The only way to reduce that is by improving fuel consumption – the less fuel burned, the less CO2s emitted.