How to calculate the price of scrap catalytic converter?

Title image: How to calculate the price of scrap catalytic converter

Title image: How to calculate the price of scrap catalytic converter
How to calculate the price of scrap catalytic converter

 Content page:

  1.     Catalytic converter – whats inside it?
  2.     PGM Group Metal Markets
  3.     Catalogues and how to start making one
  4.     Template
  5.     Free catalogue app for clients.

Catalytic converter – what’s inside it? 

We are sure that you know what‘s inside of the catalytic converter, but just to be on the same side.

Catalytic converters (originals) may contain any combination of three main Platinum group metals. It could be enriched solely with Platinum, Palladium, or Rhodium. There is a chance that it may have all three metals included, but that is fairly rare.

There are few tendencies that we have discovered under our roof. To get a better picture of the logic behind these tendencies, I invite you to dig deeper into exhaust systems.

Diesel Exhaust System:

Illustration 1.1 (Exhaust Melbourne, 2021)

We know that it does look complicated, but the main takeaway from this illustration is that all diesel exhaust system from 2007 should have a similar system in place. There are two components that you should be interested in Diesel Particulate Filter also known as DPF and SCR Catalyst or catalytic converter.

These relatively new Diesel Particulate Filters have been able to reduce emissions and were able to assist diesel engines for trucks, buses, vans, and other cars exhaust burn much cleaner and more efficiently. It has also created a new form of catalytic converters that can be recycled.

Automobile manufacturers are always looking for the best combination of metals to neutralise the negative effects after burned diesel produces. We have noticed that manufacturers opted for the platinum mix to offset Nitrogen Oxide (harmful gases) that are produced by combustion engines.

If you are interested to read more about why we should be recycling please visit our article on “Why scrap catalytic converter recycling matters to our planet“ 

Petrol Exhaust System:

Generally speaking, petrol engine exhaust systems are slightly simpler without Diesel Particulate Filter and will only contain the main catalytic converter. In most cases, the catalytic converter from what we have found will have a mix of Palladium and Rhodium.

We won‘t go into more details about the exhaust systems as it will be a completely separate blog on this topic.

Just to put it in the retrospective, to understand how many different variations of the exhaust systems types can be found, it is useful to know:

 How Many Car Brands Are there?

 The bulk of the world’s car manufacturing is handled by 60 different automakers that are owned by 14 massive global companies. However, if you take into consideration local automakers within various countries around the world and other smaller companies there could be as many as 2,000 car makers globally. (Topspeed.com, 2021). Additionally, each car manufacturer will have its exhaust system for different power engines. 

PGM Group Metal Markets

 Platinum is both an essential and precious metal and is part of the six-member family of platinum group metals (PGMs) which also includes palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and ruthenium. These metals are known for their purity, high melting points and unique catalytic properties. (platinumgroupmetals.net, 2021)

Platinum & Palladium properties

are soft, ductile and resistant to oxidation and high-temperature corrosion. They have widespread catalytic uses. In industry, they are often used with the addition of other metals, including other PGM.

Rhodium

are difficult to work, but are valuable alone as well as in alloys. Their chemical compounds have many uses, and rhodium is a particularly good catalyst.

PGM market price.

Once we know what they are let‘s have a look at the values of each metal and how to know the market price. Metals are considered a commodity, therefore, it should be found under the commodity section in the market platforms. There are a few metal markets and many websites, which show the price of PGM metals. Please understand that the price reflected in most websites will show a delayed price, in most cases delay will be about from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. If you feel that you need an actual spot price, you will have to buy a subscription from one of the firms that provide such a service or contact us to find more details about it.

Where to find the price of PGMs

A brief overview of main PGM platforms 

There are few trusted free websites for Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium prices. Each has its unique features and user experiences. We will briefly go over the few main platforms and their features.

Without further ado, let me introduce our first platform.

  1.     Fastmarkets

https://www.fastmarkets.com/commodities/precious-metals

 (former www.bullion desk.com)

Comment:

One of the oldest PGM pricing platforms. Many users still use that as an old habit.

+ Reliability

– Not very user friendly.

– Limited features.

 

  1.     Kitco

(https://www.kitco.com/charts/liveplatinum.html)

 

Comment:

Personal favourite as it has both a website and an application on mobiles. Is user friendly and has features to select currency and measurement metrics.

+ Web & App

+ Useful features

+ Has graphs

– Website navigation can be slightly complicated for new users.

 

 

Metals Daily (https://www.metalsdaily.com/live-prices/pgms/)

Comment:

The website looks well updated and it provides PGM news from around the globe.

+ Feels new and fresh

+ PGM news

+ Conveniently prices are on 1 page

– Does not have an app

 

 

 

How to calculate the price of a catalytic converter?

 

Now we know where to find the market price for 1 ounce or for 1 gram (if using kitco.com).

Information that we need:

Car brand: If we know this it makes our search much easier.

Reference: We need to know the reference of the catalytic converter, to check the database if we have data on this particular catalytic converter.

2nd Reference: Sometimes catalytic converters contain more than 1 reference. It is important to list as many as you can see on the catalytic converter.

Weight (kg): Weight of catalytic converter comb without shell in kilograms

PT / PD / RH (PPM): This part is slightly tricky as most of the discrepancies and differences occur in this part.

First, we need to understand some industry terminology. PPM is commonly referred to as „parts per million“; this is the metric we receive from XRF analysis.

To correctly obtain the number of PPM‘s, there is a subtle art or secret recipe. Each manufacturer follows a slightly different routine to get the most accurate results. We will come back to that in another blog post in near future.

XRF (X-ray fluorescence) is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials (Blondel, 2021)

To read more on how it works please visit:

https://www.olympus-ims.com/en/insight/understanding-x-ray-fluorescence-how-does-xrf-work/

For the simplicity purposes, let‘s assume that you already own accurate data or used Bacmetall to help you to obtain the accurate level of PPM in your catalytic converter.

Let‘s take an example of Mercedes Benz catalytic converter with reference number:

KT0119 (this is just an example, not real analysis)

Car Brand Reference 2nd Reference Weight (kg) PT (PPM) PD (PPM) RH (PPM)
MERCEDES-BENZ KT0119   1 0 1500 150

Calculations:

We need to translate PPMs into ounces or grams.

1 ppm = 0.001 g/kg; 1 g/kg = 1000 ppm

Ppm / 1000 = g / kg

  1.     PD calculation – 1500/1000= 1.5 g/kg
  2.     RH calculation – 150 / 1000 = 0.15 g/kg

We have calculated how many grams in each kilo this catalytic converter should contain.

Multiple g/kg * weight (kg)

  1.     PD calculation – 1.5 g/kg * 1 kg = 1.5 g
  2.     RH calculation – 0.15 g/kg * 1 kg = 0.150 g

Price of Palladium today: 75.98 Eur/g

Price of Rhodium today: $932.37 Usd/g = 775.69 Eur/g

For example purposes only.

  1.     PD calculation –  75.98 Eur * 1.5 g = 113.97 Eur
  2.     RH calculation – 775.69 Eur * 0.15 g= 116.3 eur

 Total value: 

PD + RH –  113.97 Eur + 116.3 Eur= 230 Eur

The amount of pure metals that this catalytic converter contains is worth 230 Eur. However, this is a price of 100% recovered metals and in our industry recovery for Pt and Pd is around 99%, whereas Rhodium recovery varies from 85-90%. It is also very important to understand that to recover the metals from your catalytic converter many processes have to be undertaken. For example milling, grinding, crushing, sampling and transportation costs are just a small part of the expenses that refiners incur.

If you want to find out more about or refining charges please contact our regional manager or fill this form out.

Save yourself millions of hours or the work that we have already done for you by using our App.

 Conclusion:

To sum up, catalytic converter pricing is a complex process that includes many variables such as metal market pricing, region of the catalytic converter (different countries have different regulations on emission), sampling process, XRF analysis and many more.

To understand the pricing better you will have to understand many processes well and always update your knowledge in each.

Hope this article will help you understand the pricing at least a bit better.