Palladium catalyst is one of the precious metal catalysts used to increase the rate of chemical reaction without itself undergoing any change. The activity of palladium catalyst depends upon the volume of palladium present in the catalyst, method of depositing palladium, type of support, and distribution of palladium on the support. Palladium is obtained from ores in a mineral form. These ores are rare. Palladium catalyst is formed by depositing palladium salt from a solution onto a carrier. The salt is then treated with hydroxide or carbonate to eventually form metallic palladium. Metallic palladium is then deposited on the support. The carrier support can be based on activated carbons, alumina, silica, calcium carbonate, or zeolites in various shapes such as rings, pellets, extrudates, powders, and monoliths.
The global palladium catalyst market can be segmented based on product type, carrier type, and application. Palladium catalyst is available as homogenous and heterogeneous palladium commercially. Homogeneous palladium catalyst is soluble in the reaction mixture and therefore can be adjusted to the desired catalytic process. Heterogeneous catalyst is defined as product whose phase differs from that of the reactants. Here, phase refers to the physical state such as solid, liquid, and gas.
Applications of palladium catalyst include petrochemical, pharmaceutical, automotive, agrochemicals, specialty chemicals, and flavors & fragrances. In the automotive industry, palladium catalyst is used in exhaust emission catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters. It is used to accelerate chemical reactions in manufacturing industries. Palladium is an established catalyst metal to manufacture various chemicals such as vinyl acetate monomer, hydrogen peroxide, methyl iso-butyl ketone, purified and terephtalic acid (pTA). Palladium catalysts are used in various catalytic processes, especially in hydrogenation processes. For instance, it is used in the production of hydrogen peroxide from alkylated anthraquinone. Palladium catalyst is used in coupling reactions, wherein two hydrocarbon fragments are coupled with a metal catalyst.
Palladium catalyst is expensive, as palladium is not available in large volumes on the earth. Spent palladium catalyst is regenerated using expensive technologies to get a product with good efficiency and one that can be used again. A small percentage of palladium is lost during the process of regeneration. This gap is filled up using new catalyst. Therefore, palladium catalyst can be new or a regenerated one with similar properties. Homogenous palladium catalyst is expected to account for larger share during the forecast period as it is used in chemical reactions such as carbonylation, coupling reaction, oxidation, and hydrosilylation.
The palladium catalyst market has been expanding due to its increasing usage in automotive applications due to substitution of palladium for platinum in diesel-engine vehicles. Government certification required for regeneration activity is hampering the market. This certification is required as palladium is a precious metal and the regeneration activity can release harmful gases in the atmosphere if proper care is not taken using high-end technologies. Government-authorized regenerators are preferred by end-users. However, unauthorized regenerators do exist in the market and are able to sustain due to the less processing charges quoted by them. A regenerator of palladium catalyst charges the end-user for a processing fee based on the concentration of palladium. The end-user benefits from the low processing fees.
Demand for palladium catalyst is expected to increase in Asia Pacific due to growth in automotive and chemical production in the region during the forecast period. The value chain in this industry consists of miners, catalyst producers, distributors, and regenerators. Major companies operating in global palladium catalyst market include Johnson Matthey, Heraeus, Evonik, BASF SE, Shanxi Kaida Chemical Engineering Co.Ltd, and Liming Research Institute of Chemical Industry.