Swindon UK based Tetronics’ plasma arc technology is now being used to process and recover value from catalytic converters, which are used in car exhaust systems of modern cars to reduce pollutants, after Duesmann & Hensel Recycling’s plant achieved Final Acceptance Test (FAT) status. The material found in converters includes valuable Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), which are essential for various manufacturing processes.
Tetronics’ process concentrates the PGMs for resale by a factor of x25 and makes them accessible via wet chemistry so that they can re-enter the supply chain and be used in the manufacture of new products. In the same process, hazardous elements contained in the less valuable material are transformed and the waste is turned into an approved, inert, reusable building product called Plasmarok.
An initial agreement to develop a plasma smelting furnace for Duesmann & Hensel Recycling in Karlstein near Frankfurt was reached in 2013. Today’s announcement means the plant is fully commissioned and can process the catalytic converters from up to 1.85 million cars per year. Germany itself produces typically 500,000 end of life vehicles annually; each with a catalytic converters.