The role and the recovery of Platinum-Group metal catalysts in the pharmaceutical industry
In terms of its history and chemistry, Platinum-Group Metal catalysis is one of the richest research areas. In the article, the authors describe the role of PGMs in pharmaceutical catalysis, from their industrial application through to their recycling.
As science and technology have progressed, the use of many elements of the periodic table has now become ubiquitous. However, the extensive use of some elements can be considered unsustainable from an environmental and economic point of view. Today, the critical depletion of known element reserves represents a hot topic for the global economy and for industry. These elements are frequently of strategic importance and associated with supply risks (1, 2). The “critical region” in the periodic table (figure 1) mainly involves the right-hand side of the transition metals (e.g. Au and Ag) and the post-transition metals (e.g. Sn, Pb and Tl). The Platinum-Group Metals (PGMs), which comprise Pd, Pt, Rh, Ir, Ru and Os, are included in the European Union’s 2017 Critical Raw Material list.
PGMs play a fundamental role in high-tech equipment, automotive emission control and chemical process catalysis. The driving force behind their extensive use comes from their peculiar – and sometimes unique – chemical-physical properties, as evidenced by the high substitution index (SI) value.
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