PGMs in the Life Cycle

Assessing the Life Cycle of Platinum Group Metals

The PGM industry had completed a first Life Cycle Assessment study on 2010 production data in 2013 in order to generate a reliable, current and independent dataset of the environmental footprint of PGMs and PGM-containing products, and to enable it to identify areas in the life cycle where it can improve its environmental performance.

In 2020, the PGM industry conducted a second industry-wide LCA based on 2017 production data and adapting to new reporting requirements. The study was reviewed according to ISO 14040 (2006) & 14044 (2006) and ISO/TS 14071 (2014) by and independent technical expert.

The LCA has been conducted on platinum, palladium, and rhodium, since these are the most relevant metals for application in catalytic converters, an application accounting for over 60% of demand in 2017.

Data integration into databases is currently being reviewed.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions document for further information: FAQs.

The results ouf our second LCA are presented in the new Environmental Profile of PGMs and the LCA Fact Sheet, which are currenty being revised.

Eleven out of twelve IPA members took part in the study, representing the primary producers of PGMs (95% representation), the secondary producers of PGMs (>70%) as well as the fabricators of autocatalysts (90% representation). Hence, the LCA study offers a remarkably high representation of the global platinum group metals production, with a high geographical and technological coverage.

The IPA LCA followed the "cradle-to-gate" approach which covers processes within the life cycle of the product from the extraction of the raw materials to the finished product.

The separate applicaton study on autocatalyst production covers Euro-6d-TEMP modelled diesel and gasoline vehicles with an average lifetime of 160,000 km.