TROY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The team of engineering, research and development professionals at General Motors, whose work produced the world's first road-ready catalytic converter emission control system for cars and opened the age of unleaded gasoline, was presented with the 2008 GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering award on Tuesday, October 21. The award celebrates the 35th anniversary of the creation of the breakthrough device and was the first public recognition for this little-known engineering team.
Although catalytic converters had been invented prior to 1973, getting them to work and survive in harsh environments—like the undercarriages of cars—proved to be a significant challenge. This team's behind-the-scenes engineering breakthrough helped to overcome the effects of severe thermal, chemical and mechanical punishment of catalysts in harsh automotive exhaust gas environments. Their engineering efforts between 1973 and 1975 resulted in the adoption of the automotive catalytic converter in time for General Motor's 1975 model year. It also ensured the commercial availability of unleaded gasoline, thus helping start the first "green" movement in the automotive industry.
"GlobalSpec is honored to recognize these engineers and scientists from General Motors and from its AC Spark Plug Division, whose seemingly 'everyday' work ultimately resulted in significant health and economic benefits to hundreds of millions of people throughout the United States and around the globe," said GlobalSpec Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Killeen. "As a team, this group conceived, designed, led the assembly, created and tested the world's first production-ready automotive catalytic converter emission control system. Their pioneering work paved the way for unleaded fuels becoming viable and for improved drivability and greatly reduced emissions. We thank and salute them for their efforts."
GlobalSpec, the leading specialized search engine, information resource and e-publishing company for the engineering, industrial and technical communities, presented the award on October 21 to this team of retirees from General Motors.
Richard Klimisch, Ph.D., General Motors' first catalyst expert, accepted the award on behalf of the team. Also addressing attendees was Alan Taub, executive director, GM Research & Development, and Robert Stempel, past GM chairman, himself one of the honorees.
Klimisch said the real hero of the catalytic converter initiative was former GM Chairman Ed Cole, now deceased, who "made a public commitment to the industry and led his team in achieving significant improvements in air quality and fuel economy."
In accepting a duplicate award for display inside GM, Taub said the team "was asked to and then delivered the impossible task. GM engineers today stand on the shoulders of giants."
The GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering award is presented annually to a person or group whose singular moment of engineering ingenuity produced a significant turning point for the application of technology and resulting benefits to people, science and industry. The 2005 award was presented to NASA engineers from April 1970 responsible for saving the lives of crew members during the harrowing flight of Apollo 13. In 2006, the award was given to members of the Jason Jr. engineering team in honor of the 20th anniversary of the first video survey of R.M.S. Titanic. Last year, GlobalSpec saluted the Motorola engineering team responsible for building the DynaTAC, the world's first cellular telephone.
GlobalSpec, Inc. is the leading specialized vertical search, information services and e-publishing company serving the engineering, technical and industrial communities. GlobalSpec users benefit from domain-expert search engines, a broad range of proprietary and aggregated Web-based content, including GlobalSpec's PartFinder product, and more than 60 e-newsletters—helping them search for and locate products and services, learn about suppliers and access comprehensive technical content. SpecSearch, GlobalSpec's trademarked search technology, allows users to search by specification more than 180 million parts in 2,300,000 product families from more than 24,000 supplier catalogs. For suppliers, GlobalSpec offers highly filtered sales and marketing opportunities, product promotion and brand advertising platforms, including the GlobalSpec Industrial Ad Network, and a wide range of e-media advertising and marketing solutions.