Faculté des Sciences appliquées
Faculté des Sciences appliquées

Process-oriented Characterization of Platinum Group Metals from Spent Automotive Catalysts and Evaluating Future Urban Mines (Université de Liège)

Hassan, Ali ULiège
Promotor(s) : Pirard, Eric ULiège
Date of defense : 25-Aug-2020 • Permalink :
Title : Process-oriented Characterization of Platinum Group Metals from Spent Automotive Catalysts and Evaluating Future Urban Mines (Université de Liège)
Author : Hassan, Ali ULiège
Date of defense  : 25-Aug-2020
Advisor(s) : Pirard, Eric ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Nguyen, Frédéric ULiège
Renno, Axel 
Bastin, David ULiège
Bouzahzah, Hassan ULiège
Michel, Didier 
Language : English
Number of pages : 96
Keywords : [en] platinum group metals
[en] recycling
[en] automotive catalytic converters
[en] three-way catalyst
[en] diesel oxidation catalyst
[en] diesel particle filter
[en] ceramic
[en] metallic
[en] scanning electron microscopy
[en] washcoat
[en] catalyst poisoning
[en] sintering
[en] hydrometallurgy
[en] process-oriented characterization
Discipline(s) : Engineering, computing & technology > Geological, petroleum & mining engineering
Engineering, computing & technology > Materials science & engineering
Engineering, computing & technology > Multidisciplinary, general & others
Funders : EIT RawMaterials
Research unit : GeMMe
Name of the research project : CEBRA
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en ingénieur civil des mines et géologue, à finalité spécialisée en "geometallurgy (EMERALD)"
Faculty: Master thesis of the Faculté des Sciences appliquées


[en] Platinum group metals (PGMs) are among the 27 raw materials labeled as critical by the EU in 2017 due to their economic importance and supply risk. South Africa and Russia collectively produce approximately 80% of the global PGM mine production. The single biggest application of Pt, Pd, and Rh is in automotive catalytic converters (ACCs) to abate the emissions from engine exhaust. Each ACC contains a few grams of these precious metals. The concentration of PGMs in ACC urban mines (>2000 ppm) is much higher than that of conventional mines (<10 ppm). Thus, recycling of end of life automotive catalytic converters (ACCs) present an important source of platinum group metals (PGMs). The circular economy of ACC not only helps Europe further develop domestic production but has several economic and ecological benefits. PGMs are currently recycled from ACCs by pyrometallurgical means and the development of low-cost alternatives in hydrometallurgy has long been the focus of research. The efficiency of the economical leaching techniques has generally been low, owing to the paucity of understanding of a very complex and heterogeneous ACC material and insufficient process-oriented characterization.
An in-depth literature study suggested that automotive catalysis is a broad field and ACC input material is influenced by several factors including technological and legislative development, size and type of engine, manufacturer, etc. It was also found that due to the nano nature of PGMs in ACCs, the potential of SEM characterization has been under-utilized. SEM characterization showed structural and compositional differences between ceramic three-way catalysts (CTWC), metallic three-way catalysts (MTWC), diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC), and diesel particle filter (DPF). It was also found that harsh operating conditions further impact the ACC material as analyzed under SEM. PGM particles were not only visualized but key processes that happen over time such as catalyst poisoning, PGM, and washcoat component thermal sintering, were obvious which influence chemical composition and particle size/porosity reduction. All this information was found to be of great relevance for subsequent leaching processes. Leach feed and residue samples also showed that some information on the process controls could be acquired using SEM.
It was also found that the statistics from the automotive market and basic understanding of ACCs could help in defining different sections of ACC-urban mines based on grade and PGM type.



Access Thesis _HASSAN-Ali.pdf
Description: -
Size: 7.52 MB
Format: Adobe PDF
Access 1 Page Summary.pdf
Description: -
Size: 48.96 kB
Format: Adobe PDF


  • Hassan, Ali ULiège Université de Liège > Master ingé. civ. mines & géol., à fin. (EMERALD)


Committee's member(s)

  • Total number of views 20
  • Total number of downloads 16

All documents available on MatheO are protected by copyright and subject to the usual rules for fair use.
The University of Liège does not guarantee the scientific quality of these students' works or the accuracy of all the information they contain.