Precious metals such as palladium and platinum are applied to carrier material to get precious metal catalysts. The commonly used carrier materials are aluminum oxide or active carbon. Precious metal catalysts have a wide range of applications such as it is used as a catalytic convertor in automobile industry. Catalytic convertor is used to convert toxic vehicle emissions into less toxic pollutants. Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are the commonly used precious metals in catalytic convertors. In pharmaceutical industries, synthesis of many active pharmaceutical ingredients such as acetaminophen, L-dopa, carbapenam, and tetracycline is done in the presence of precious metal catalysts. These catalysts are used in preparation of bulk chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, phenols, and anilines. They are also used in the synthesis of polymers such as vinyl chloride, methyl methacrylate, and synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester. Furthermore, they are used in hydrocarbon processing. For instances, platinum on alumina base is used for production of high-octane gasoline while platinum and palladium impregnated on silica-alumina base is used in the process for hydrocracking in refineries. They are used in petrochemical industries in the process of hydro purification. Precious metal catalysts are also used to reduce Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in refineries. The demand for precious metal catalysts is increasing owing to its applications in various industries and strict pollution control regulations. 

The high cost, thermal degradation, and loss of activity due to poisoning are some of the factors hindering the growth of the global precious metal catalyst market.

Precious Metal Catalysts -Market Taxonomy

On the basis of product type, the global precious metal catalyst market is segmented into:

  • Iridium
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Ruthenium
  • Rhodium
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Others

On the basis of end user, the global precious metal catalyst market is segmented into:

  • Automobiles
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Refinery
  • Petrochemicals
  • Others

Platinum catalyst is widely used in automobile sector thereby making it the most commonly used precious metal catalyst owing to the stringent environmental requirements.

Precious Metal Catalysts -Market Outlook

  • Europe is the largest market for precious metal catalysts, owing to the introduction of stringent emission rules such as Euro 6 and Euro 7 which defines the limits for exhaust emission for new vehicles that are sold in Europe.
  • Precious metal catalyst market is growing rapidly in Asia Pacific, owing to the growth in pharmaceutical and automobile industries. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), trust established by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India the pharmaceutical industry in India is estimated to grow to US$ 100 billion by 2025. Also, various investment plans by automobile manufacturers such as US$ 1 billion investment by 2020 by General Motors in India, will increase the demand for precious metals. Furthermore, the booming demand for automobile and pharmaceutical industry in China will contribute to the market growth.
  • The global pharmaceutical share of USA is estimated to reach 41% by 2020 as predicted by International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufactures and Associations (IFPMA) which represents pharmaceutical companies and associations of the world. Furthermore, USA has many automobile manufacturing industries which have transmission and engine plants, and conduct testing and research and development activities. Thus, USA has significant demand for precious metal catalyst.
  • The pharmaceutical, automobile, and petrochemical industries are growing in Latin America which, in turn, is increasing the demand for precious metal catalysts.
  • In Middle East, the growing demand for automobiles in UAE and Saudi Arabia is rising the demand for precious metal catalysts.
  • The pharmaceutical industry in Africa is expected to grow, owing to the growing urbanization, increased awareness about health, and supportive government policies which, in turn, will increase the demand for precious metal catalyst.

Key Players in the Global Precious Metal Catalyst Market

The companies are adopting various strategies such as mergers and acquisitions to sustain their market positions. For instance, in March 2015, Monarch Catalysts Pvt. Ltd. acquired Evonik Industries AG. Some of the key players operating in the global precious metal catalyst market include Alfa Aesar,   BASF SE, Clariant International Ltd, Evonik Industries AG, Heraeus Group, Johnson Matthey Plc, Umicore SA, and Vineeth Precious Catalysts Pvt. Ltd.

Precious Metal Catalyst Market: Key Developments

  • In June 2019, BASF catalysts launched Durasorb HG, a new product for mercury removal from Natural Gas. With the introduction of this, the company is in a position of adding new solutions to its portfolio for the processing applications for natural gas. Durasorb HG is a non-regenerable, mixed metal oxide adsorbent containing a dispersed and promoted copper sulfide phase.
  • In Nov 2017, Evonik Industries AG consolidated its precious metal catalyst activities in India in Evonik Catalysts India Pvt. Ltd. (ECI). The company developed innovative precious metal catalysts which are based on the unique Noblyst catalyst technology.
  • In June 2015, Alfa Aesar introduced an heterogeneous catalyst kit, which was developed by Johnson Matthey Catalysis and Chiral Technologies. The products contained in this kit are based on precious metals and have optimized combination of metals and support for excellent catalytic performance.
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