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How Much Platinum Is In A Catalytic Converter?

February 23, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

Platinum is a crucial metal used in catalytic converters, although some models may contain other expensive metals like gold. These metals are essential in reducing harmful emissions and ensuring a car’s proper functioning. In the past, many car owners were not aware of the value and significance of platinum in their vehicles.

For those who want to learn more about the amount of platinum present in a catalytic converter, reading this article until the end will provide valuable information.

Why is platinum used in Fuel Cells?

Understanding the role of platinum in your car’s fuel cell is crucial. Many car manufacturers incorporate platinum into their vehicles because it aids in breaking hydrogen into protons and electrons, generating electrical current and serving as an alternative to battery-powered cars. While hydrogen fuel cells are integral in the fight against global carbon emissions, they can still be costly.


What is the role of Platinum in Catalytic Converters?

The presence of platinum in catalytic converters serves the purpose of oxidizing carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons, particularly under oxygen-excessive conditions, making it a preferred metal for diesel applications.

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What is Platinum Used For?

Apart from being used in catalytic converters, platinum is used in various manufactured products such as electrical contacts, electrodes, laboratory equipment, platinum resistance thermometers, dentistry equipment, jewelry, and more.

What roles did platinum play in Catalytic Converters?

Platinum plays a crucial role in oxidizing hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide in the presence of oxygen in a catalytic converter. It is a popular choice for diesel applications due to its oxidizing properties.

Both palladium and platinum are effective metals for the catalytic converter for petrol-powered vehicles. Choosing which to use is typically based on cost-effectiveness since a balance between oxidants and resultants in the exhaust gas is necessary.

How Much Platinum is in a Catalytic Converter?

It’s important to note that the amount of platinum present can vary depending on the model and manufacturer. On average, a standard catalytic converter contains between 3 to 7 grams of platinum.

Rhodium can also be used in addition to palladium and platinum in three-way catalysts for petrol cars, which reduce NOx to nitrogen and CO to hydrocarbons.

There are several benefits to using platinum in catalytic converters. For example,

  • it interacts with poisons like sulfur compounds only on the metal surface, making it more effective.
  • Platinum is also recyclable
  • Platinum comes with a high melting point.
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Although this melting point is typically not relevant during everyday use.

The platinum in catalytic converters is present in nanoparticles that disperse when on a highly porous support compound. As the catalyst temperature increases, the particles start mobilizing and fusing in a sintering process. This process becomes noticeable when the metal reaches Tammann temperature, which is half of the metal’s melting point on the absolute temperature scale.

Copper and silver have an affinity for sulfur-containing elements and can react with them to form compounds, making less metal available for reactions.

How Much Platinum Can Be Recovered from a Catalytic Converter?

Platinum is one of the most valuable metals, even more than silver and gold, due to its unique properties. Platinum is of a higher quality and value than these other metals.

Platinum is also rare, with only one platinum for every 15 gold, making it difficult to obtain. To acquire one ounce of pure platinum, ten tons of platinum raw ore are required.

When extracting platinum from a catalytic converter, only a few grams can be obtained, usually between three to seven. The cost of these grams of platinum can range from $100 to $237 and can vary depending on several factors.

Which Cars Have the Most Platinum in Their Catalytic Converters?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer, as each car model and manufacturer can have different amounts of platinum in their catalytic converters.

However, one car that has been frequently targeted for catalytic converter theft due to its high precious metal content is the Toyota Prius. The Prius has more precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium in its converter compared to other vehicles. Unscrupulous scrap yards may offer as much as $700 per converter to thieves or car owners who extract the precious metals from the converter.

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You can check out our article on Which Cars are Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen.


Do all Catalytic Converters Contain Platinum?

The platinum per gram is currently around $41, and the amount of platinum in a catalytic converter varies by model. On average, a standard catalytic converter contains 3-7 grams of platinum, 2-7 grams of palladium, and 1-2 grams of rhodium. There can be significant gains when tons of scrap catalytic converters are recovered.

Are Diesel Catalytic Converters Worth Anything?

It’s important to note that diesel catalytic converters are found in diesel engines, and some diesel cars may not contain valuable metals like platinum, palladium, rhodium, or gold.

How do you extract platinum from a Catalytic Converter?

When extracting platinum from a catalytic converter, following the correct procedures is crucial. Firstly, you need to remove the platinum coating on the catalyst pieces and then take out the catalyst pieces from the converter. Once this is done, turn the catalytic converter lengthwise and use a blunt instrument to hit one end until the catalyst pieces start falling out of the lower, open end of the converter.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.