WASHINGTON -- For someone who just received a major national award for career achievements, Haren Gandhi of Ford Motor Co. still has a long to-do list.
The 62-year-old engineer wants to make diesel-powered cars and trucks run as cleanly as those with gasoline engines.
He wants people in developing countries, including his native India, to enjoy the benefits of vehicle ownership without simultaneously harming the environment.
He also wants to help make fuel cell-powered cars and trucks a reality.
"I just keep planning to steam ahead with a full charge," said Gandhi in an interview on Thursday, Nov. 6.
That's the day he received a National Medal of Technology from President Bush for his work on catalytic converters over the past three decades.
The catalyst in the exhaust system of every new car and truck converts the three main pollutants from the engine - hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen - into harmless compounds that exit the tailpipe. Catalytic converters are a big reason car and truck emissions are down about 97 percent from the 1960s.