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May 29, 2014
NGK INSULATORS, LTD.

NOx Sensor Wins Invention Prize at National Commendation for Invention

NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (President: Taro Kato; Headquarters: Nagoya, Japan) has developed a built-in automobile sensor capable of highly precise measurement of nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentrations. The subsequent commercialization of this sensor has earned it a strong reputation, and now it has won the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation's Category 1 Invention Prize at the 2014 National Commendation for Invention.

Held for the purpose of contributing to the progress of science and technology and the development of industry, the National Commendation for Invention award scheme commends persons who have accomplished extremely excellent inventions full of originality, persons who have rendered distinguished services in the achieving of inventions, and persons who have greatly contributed to the promotion of excellent technology and to the guidance and development of human resources. The Category 1 prizes are awarded for inventions that achieve outstanding progress in science and technology, in addition to realizing significant practical benefits. NGK has developed and commercialized the world's first automobile built-in NOx sensor. With the award, the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation has highly evaluated the substantial contribution that the performance of NGK's NOx sensor has made to bringing about a "clean diesel automobile." The Awards Ceremony will be held in Tokyo on July 8, graced with the attendance of the institute's patron, H.I.H. Prince Hitachi, accompanied by H.I.H. Princess Hitachi.

Overview of Award

Award name: Category 1 Invention Prize, 2014 National Commendation for Invention

Organization name: Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation

Details of commendation: Development of thick-film multi-layered zirconia NOx sensor

Award winner: Kunihiko Nakagaki of NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (on loan to NGK EUROPE GmbH in Germany)


NOx sensors are mounted in the exhaust pipes of automobiles. These sensors can measure the NOx concentrations in the vehicle exhaust emission in real time with high precision at the ppm level (parts per million). The detected values of the NOx concentration in the exhaust emission are then used in controlling the exhaust gas after being treated and in its on-board diagnosis (OBD).

Automobile exhaust gas regulations are tending to be tightened worldwide. With regard to diesel vehicles in particular, the regulations for NOx emissions, in addition to particulate matter (PM) emissions, are being further tightened. 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 in-vehicle NOx sensor. These components are indispensable in the control of diesel vehicles' exhaust gas after being treated. NGK expects to see an expansion in demand for NOx sensors reflecting the worldwide tightening of diesel exhaust gas regulations, and winning this award will be the impetus for a greater increase in sales.

NOx sensors for vehicles

NOx sensors for vehicles


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