How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?
Each year, about 90 tonnes of platinum, 300 tonnes of palladium and 30 tonnes of rhodium are used globally for catalytic converters – both diesel and gasoline. But, 30 -50% of this comes from recycling. Johnson Matthey is committed to sustainability, and both makes emission control catalysts, and recycles catalytic converters and other pgm waste to extract and re-use the precious metals in them. Each year, we refine enough pgms to make millions of catalytic converters.
Why are precious metals used in a catalytic converter?
Catalytic converter catalysts convert over 90 per cent of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen into less harmful carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapour. Precious metal catalysts are very effective and stable at high temperatures, and they are durable enough to last the lifetime of a car. Although inert as a solid metal, when finely divided as nanoparticles (which are coated on a support) they become active catalysts, so only a small amount of precious metal needs to be used to remove harmful pollutants and particulates from the air we breathe.