Precious Metal Catalysts Market size is forecast to reach $12.1 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 5.9% during 2021-2026. Since platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium, and other precious metals are inactive towards chemical reaction and are chemically highly stable, they are used in several applications in a variety of industries such as petrochemicals, refinery, chemicals, polymer, and pharmaceuticals. Increasing demand for precious metal catalysts in the automotive industry aid in minimizing atmospheric emissions of volatile organic compounds and other pollutants would also drive the market growth. Furthermore, the accelerating demand for high-performance fuel for transport and growing investment in refineries are the major factors which is anticipated to drive the the precious metal catalysts industry in the forecast era.
Impact of COVID-19
The demand for precious metal catalysts declined in the year 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. Reduction in mining output, closure of various key refineries, transport/logistics impacts, and reduction in trading desk risk appetite are the main factors which affected the precious metal catalysts market growth in the year 2020.
Precious Metal Catalysts Market Segment Analysis – By Type
Platinum is the most widely used metal in the precious metal catalysts market, which, enhances combustion, and helps to minimize the CO2 emission control applications. Besides, platinum provides many other benefits, such as producing a strong melting point, providing thermal resilience, having excellent low-temperature oxidation activity, being efficient against sulfur compounds and helping to minimize the sulfur content of crude oil in refineries. Since platinum is efficient under oxygen-rich conditions, it is commonly used for diesel applications. The platinum catalyst segment’s dominant position is due to the increase in diesel vehicle sales in different regions. Thus, with the increasing demand for platinum catalyst for several applications the precious metal catalysts market is estimated to experience growth in the forecast period.
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Precious Metal Catalysts Market Segment Analysis – By Reaction Type
Hydrogenation reaction held the largest share in the precious metal catalysts market in 2020. Precious metal catalysis is often synonymous with versatility and diversity. Owing to their dissociative behavior against hydrogen and oxygen, dehydrogenation, isomerization, and aromatization, these metals effectively catalyze oxidation and hydrogenation. The size and shape of platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium, and other precious metal nanocrystals have a great impact on their reaction performance in hydrogenation. Although commercial plants are operated under heated and pressurized conditions, many hydrogenation reactions proceed at room temperature.
Precious Metal Catalysts Market Segment Analysis – By Application
Automotive held the largest share with more than 25% in the precious metal catalysts market in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period 2021-2026. Precious metals have long been important in auto manufacturing to ensure the environmental efficiency and reliability of components such as catalytic converters and sensors for the engine. As high-tech vehicles expand, precious metals will also become more important. Besides, the use of platinum in catalytic converters for converting unburned hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water vapor in cars, the use of precious metal catalysts in exhaust cleaning of car is on the rise. Thus, with the rising demand for precious metal catalysts from the automotive industry is expected to drive the market growth in the forecast period.
Precious Metal Catalysts Market Segment Analysis – Geography
The Asia Pacific region held the largest share with 35% in precious metal catalysts market in 2020. Globally demand for precious metal catalysts is dominated by the Asia-Pacific region due to the rising automotive, pharmaceutical, and petrochemical industries. Asia Pacific constitutes a major share of the global precious metal catalysts market, due to easy availability of raw materials at competitive prices in the region. Rapid growth of the automotive and pharmaceutical industry in China, India, and South Korea is projected to propel the demand for precious metal catalysts in the near future. According to the OICA, the production of cars by 2020 gradually increased from 26,84,192 in first quarter to 1,32,21,849 in third quarter, in China. Thus, the demand for the precious metal catalysts market is therefore anticipated to increase in the forecast period because of the mentioned factors.
Precious Metal Catalysts Market Drivers
Environmental Concern and Strict Government Regulations
Emission regulations to control pollution levels were implemented by governments and catalytic converters quickly became a common way to help meet these new requirements. Catalytic converters generate cleaner emissions by converting toxic by-products of vehicle engines, using an internal combustion technique which catalyzes chemical reactions. In order to ensure that pollution goals are met, regulators have set stringent regulations on the performance characteristics of these products, which, in turn, are estimated to drive demand growth for precious metal catalysts. For instance, as per the European Federation for Transport and Environment the future post-Euro 6/VI standard (formally referred to as ‘Euro 7/VII’) allows the EU the capability to eliminate pollution from road transport, reclaim technological and regulatory leadership, and align standards with its existing ‘Zero Pollution Ambition’ and the target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Thus, strict government regulations is estimated to drive the market growth of precious metal catalysts in the forecast period.
Increasing Demand for Nano-Scale Precious Metal Catalysts
Due to improved and speedy performance during chemical processing and to offset the high cost of noble materials, the use of nano-particle catalysts made from noble materials has increased. Hydrogen and oxygen are readily absorbed into the atmosphere by the nano-scale metal particles found in precious metal catalysts. Under moderate conditions, the absorbed hydrogen and oxygen readily react with several substitutes. Thus, if mild reaction conditions are retained, it is possible to achieve a relatively high product yield by reducing by-product formation. With developments in the field of nano-technology, progress has been made in recent times in the preparation of precious metal catalysts. This has resulted in energy savings, high productivity, and declination in production costs. Thus, the rising demand for nano-scale precious metal catalysts is expected to drive the precious metal catalysts market growth during the forecast era.
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Precious Metal Catalysts Market Challenges
Volatility in the Price of Precious Metals
Precious metals such as platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium, and others, are volatile and difficult to predict. Severe price fluctuations pose a challenge for every company that includes precious metal catalysts in its value creation chain. Volatility in the price of precious metals affects margins, capital commitment, and competitiveness. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Compared with the average prices of January 2019, the average prices for January 2020 more than tripled for rhodium and rose by 68 percent for palladium and 22 percent for platinum. In comparison to gold, platinum is quite dependent on industrial demand and mining activity. Therefore, the price of platinum is very unpredictable. Of all precious metals, the price of platinum fluctuates the most. Hence, the fluctuation in the price of precious metals will further create hurdles for the precious metal catalysts market in the forecast period.
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the precious metal catalysts market. Major players in the precious metal catalysts market are BASF SE, Evonik Industries AG, Heraeus Group, Johnson Matthey Plc, Umicore SA, Clariant International Ltd, Alfa Aesar, and Vineeth Precious Catalysts Pvt. Ltd among others.
In November 2020, Evonik Industries AG has acquired the Porocel Group, in Houston (USA). With this acquisition the company target to expand the competencies with new technologies and products to further strengthen the presence of Evonik’s catalyst activities globally.
In March 2020, BASF SE has launched a Tri-Metal Catalyst that can reduce the cost of catalytic converters for automakers and partially rebalance the consumer demand for Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), thus improving the sustainability of the PGM market.
Increasing use of advanced nano-technology to increase the surface area of the exposed metal so that the fine metal particles stay isolated, leading to efficient cleaning of gas during exhaust cleaning of cars is estimated to drive the market growth in the forecast period.
Growing investment in R&D in precious metal catalysts to minimize costs and achieve maximum returns from the metals recovered is boosting the growth of the market.
Besides, with increasing health consciousness among consumers, the rising healthcare industry is driving the demand for precious metal catalysts market growth. In pharmaceuticals, the use of precious metal catalysts is growing due to its growing usage as an anti-cancer agent.
Related Reports :
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B. Refinery Catalyst Market
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