NOx Sensor Wins Okochi Memorial Production Prize

March 23, 2015

NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (President: Taku Oshima; Headquarters: Nagoya, Japan) announced today that it has won the Okochi Memorial Foundation´s 61st (FY 2014) Okochi Memorial Production Prize for the development and commercialization of a thick-film multi-layered zirconia NOx sensor.

The Okochi Memorial Prize was established in conformity with the wishes of Dr. Masatoshi Okochi, then the third Representative of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, with the Okochi Memorial Foundation awarding outstanding achievement in Japan in the implementation of an advanced manufacturing system. It is one of the most prestigious prizes in the industrial field. NGK developed and commercialized the world´s first thick-film multi-layered zirconia NOx sensor as a built-in automobile sensor capable of highly precise measurement of nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentrations. The sensor has been recognized for its originality and innovation and highly evaluated for the substantial contribution it has made to the popularization of clean diesel automobiles. This is the second time that NGK has won the Okochi Memorial Prize after receiving the 2004 Okochi Memorial Grand Production Prize jointly with the Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc. for the joint "development and practical application of a sodium sulfur battery (NAS Battery) for power storage."

NOx sensors are mounted in the exhaust pipes of automobiles. They can measure the NOx concentrations in the vehicle exhaust emission in real time with high precision at the ppm (parts per million) level. The detected values of NOx concentration in the exhaust emission are then used for control and fault diagnosis of exhaust gas purification equipment.

NOx sensors for vehicles
NOx sensors for vehicles

Automobile exhaust gas regulations are being strengthened worldwide. With regard to diesel vehicles in particular, the regulations for NOx emissions, in addition to particulate matter (PM) emissions, are being further strengthened. NGK has skillfully applied its accumulated ceramics technology, formed the shape of its own original zirconia ceramics and used multi-layered elements to develop and commercialize the world´s first highly accurate built-in NOx sensor that satisfies tough exhaust gas regulations, contributing significantly to the realization of a low fuel-cost clean diesel vehicle. Clean diesel vehicles are already subject to stringent regulations in Japan, Europe and the United States, and reinforcement of regulations is expected in emerging countries as the vehicles grow in popularity.

As a leading company in the field of NOx sensors, NGK will establish a production system that is properly able to cope assuredly with the continued expansion in demand, thereby contributing to the preservation of the atmospheric environment.

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