Browse Publications Technical Papers 2014-01-1502

Strategies Toward the Sustainable and Cost-Effective Use of the Platinum Group Metals: An Analysis of Critical Topics Affecting the PGM and Automotive Industries 2014-01-1502

Platinum Group Metal (PGM) use is dominated by the automotive industry. The PGM market is sensitive to shifts in the drivers for emission control and the delicate supply-demand balance. Technology shifts in the emission control industry are particularly impactful because of the automotive market's dominance and the consequent ability to significantly affect metal prices. On the supply side, evolving ore ratios of platinum, palladium and rhodium, production ramp-up times, geopolitical factors, and labor relations contribute to a challenging production environment. This is mitigated by a growing above-ground supply from spent autocatalysts. The availability of spent autocatalyst is critical to alleviate the pressure on primary supply and is especially important in light of the hurdles primary PGM producers face.
This paper reviews technology developments, legislative drivers, and consumer trends in the automotive industry and their impact on PGM demand. Evolving emission regulations for criteria pollutants around the world put pressure on catalyst performance and durability while greenhouse gas standards bring new challenges to the operating environment of these catalysts. Technological advancements in engine control systems, engine technologies, advanced catalyst and substrate materials, fuel injectors and new fuels each uniquely impact PGM demand. The potential impact of future advanced vehicle technologies, such as low-temperature combustion (for example, HCCI and RCCI), and the effect of alternative fuels are also explored. Understanding the larger context in which PGMs are produced and used is essential to develop cost-effective and sustainable strategies for technology development and application.


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