As we mentioned before, every vehicle with an internal combustion engine has or should have a device to clean the harmful emissions they produce. A catalytic converter is a part that does that. It usually contains platinum, rhodium, palladium, and sometimes even nickel. Those precious metals can absorb vast amounts of poisonous gasses and, in return, release less harmful ones. So, that means that this principle could be used elsewhere. Everybody knows that it is possible to find those parts in most cars, but there is another question “where else?”.
Let’s think outside the box here because converters can be found elsewhere. Let’s start with the obvious ones. Firstly, those parts have a lot of different applications in industrial or commercial equipment. Most of the time, they are even more significant if we compare them to car ones. But that doesn’t mean they are more valuable. It’s not the size of the converter that dictates its price but what’s inside of it. So, that naturally doesn’t mean that they contain even more expensive metals. Of course, the same as passenger vehicles, those catalytic converters can be recycled. Generators, industrial moving equipment, drilling machines, cranes, etc. Every internal combustion engine device should have that type of converter. That only applies to newer heavy-duty equipment, but it is harder to find one in older ones. The main reason for that was because there was no requirement to install a catalytic converter back then. There is the possibility to install one now, but since that is not enforced by law, there is a slim chance of finding one in a tractor over forty years old.Let’s think about more than vehicles with internal combustion engines. Every single one has or at least should have it. But there is more to it than it seems. The same principle can be used for most heavy equipment or commercial or industrial machinery. Like in cars, commercial converters control toxic pollution from exhaust emissions.If we talk about industries, we should consider the refinery and manufacturing, where the emission amount is enormous. Most of the time it is made of ceramic and steel, and inside it is possible to find platinum, rhodium, and palladium that acts as catalysts. Since industrialization is growing globally and governments enforce even more laws to protect the environment, all manufacturing industries are using even more catalytic converters. So, not only because of cars, catalytic converters are becoming more expensive, and everybody is looking for alternatives. It’s easier for the automobile industry, which is shifting towards electric-powered vehicles (these do not have that type of converters). Still, others will require more and more of those parts. Noble metals will remain the primary source for those parts manufacturers.
Since the natural resources of those metals are not growing but are shrinking every day, it’s evident that a permanent solution is required. It may not happen tomorrow, but researchers are working hard to discover other ways than precious metals to solve the pollution problem.