Catalytic Converters

Arguably the most important pollution abatement device ever invented, the autocatalyst, or catalytic converter, based on platinum group metals (PGMs) is a key component of most of the world's vehicle powertrains. Autocatalysts are one of the largest users of PGMs: in 2010, they used the equivalent of 51% of total world demand for PGMs.

Key Facts:

  • Over 98% of new cars sold worldwide each year are now fitted with these devices.
  • Just one car sold in the 1960s would have produced as many harmful exhaust emissions as one hundred of today's automobiles equipped with catalytic converters.
  • Without autocatalysts, air quality in and around most cities would be far worse than it is today: autocatalysts help to avoid over 1.3 tonnes of toxic and harmful polluting gases.
  • Autocatalysts convert over 90% of harmful polluting gases into less harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour.
  • Due to the catalytic properties of PGMs it has been possible for legislators to mitigate the effects of exhaust pollution from increasing numbers of vehicles on our roads.

Platinum, rhodium and/or palladium are coated onto a substrate housed in the exhaust system and act as catalysts to reduce levels of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) to legislated levels