Although scrap catalytic converter prices vary according to the brand and model, refining systems provider Proses Makina notes that the precious metals contained in the catalytic converter influence the price and monetary value, meaning that the price of a catalytic converter could vary from between $6 up to $800.
“Logically, this means that the more precious metals it contains, the higher the scrap metal price. However, increasing platinum, palladium and rhodium prices also influence the price,” the company says.
For context, Proses Makina explains that the most expensive catalytic converter, according to 2021 data, is used in the Ferrari F430 brand model and costs around $4 500. This is followed by the catalytic converters used for the Dodge Ram 2500, Lamborghini Aventador, Ford 250 and Ford Mustang, respectively.
It is for its monetary value that catalytic converters are often stolen. They are considered a “good source of money” owing to the precious metals they contain.
However, despite the risk of theft of catalytic converters, Proses Makina notes that scrap catalytic converters can be an important investment.
“By recycling, the precious metals in it are recovered. Palladium and rhodium, which is even more valuable than gold, are recovered from catalytic converters. With Proses Makina’s 15 years of experience and advanced technological equipment, these precious metals are recovered in high purity from scrap catalytic converters,” the company says.
It adds that “investors who want to establish a refinery in this area can make a strong entry into the sector by using Proses Makina machines”.
With prices having increased dramatically over the past 30 years, Proses Makina says the steps taken to establish recycling are an important investment. In a short time, the plant starts to make a profit.
At the same time, such investments help with the problem of storage of scrap catalysts.
“Thanks to recycling, the environmental problem is eliminated, and money is also earned. Many countries offer incentives for citizens to invest in this regard. In this way, both waste is minimised and precious metals remain in the country,” the company says.
Catalytic converter recycling facilities have become an important investment in today's conditions, Proses Makina says, noting that, owing to ever-increasing precious metal prices, “collecting scrap catalytics has become a kind of precious metal investment” as it is “quite easy to recycle”.
The company explains that the most preferred recycling method is to complete the physical processes and sell the material to large refineries. However, the realisation of this sale, especially between countries, also means the exit of precious metals from the country.
However, as a result of the chemical processes produced and developed by Proses Makina, these precious metals can be recovered in high purity and remain in the country.
Through physical and chemical operations, the company assists in removing harmful components in the power material, and the precious metals are obtained in high purity separately at the end of the process by interacting with chemicals.
Platinum and palladium can be recovered in metallic form. Rhodium is preferably recovered in powder form. However, it can be converted into metallic form when appropriate conditions are provided.
Proses Makina produces, installs and provides training for the entire system on a turnkey basis.
LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RECYCLING
The energy sector has turned to alternative vehicles owing to the increase in the number of vehicles, rapidly decreasing oil resources, wars and increasing pollution rates across the world.
Electric vehicles that have been developed for this purpose have come to the fore in the production sector because their pollutant emissions are lower than conventional vehicles and they reduce dependence on oil.
In addition, lithium-ion batteries are used everywhere (from computer technology to drones and small household appliances) and although a 'green energy' definition is used for these batteries, Proses Makina notes that “it is also true that they have a lifetime”.
As such, and in much the same vein as with catalytic converters, the recycling of these batteries, which are used in almost every field, is an important problem to deal with, as the increasing need for lithium, cobalt and nickel is driving prices higher globally and, therefore, “obliging the recycling of these batteries”.
Globally, more than 600 000 t of lithium batteries are being disposed of – most of them used in small electronic devices.
Lithium-ion batteries end their life and are scrapped owing to aging, overuse and overcharging. When the effects of ambient temperature are added, their lifespan is shortened, or they could be scrapped owing to faulty production.
However, lithium-ion batteries are also valuable as scrap as the metals (especially lithium, cobalt and nickel) used in their production, are very valuable and can be used in industry after recycling.
Proses Makina explains that there is constant demand from different branches of industry for these metals, meaning that li-ion batteries, which are separated as scrap, can be bought and sold owing to their material value.
However, even though li-ion batteries can be recycled, the company warns that they “also need to be transformed in terms of environmental health”.
When lithium-containing batteries and lithium polymer batteries are physically damaged, they come into contact with air and start to burn.
“This situation requires well-designed recycling systems. The cost of these machines, which are produced considering the safety of both the facility and the employees, is relatively higher than other recycling facilities.
“In addition, the structure of these batteries makes recycling difficult,” Proses Makina notes, adding that it was important to prevent fires that may occur during accidents, especially in electric vehicle batteries.
As the world shifts to electric vehicles, lithium battery demand is predicted to increase tenfold by 2030. This is seen as an opportunity for battery recycling.
Taking all of this into account, Proses Makina has accelerated its efforts to develop recycling systems for li-ion batteries with its recycling experience in electronic waste and catalysts.
It has completed its research and development studies and is in the process of establishing a pilot recycling plant in the US “with the least environmental impact and high efficiency”.