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HOW TO RECOVER PLATINUM FROM CATALYTIC CONVERTERS

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Q. HI,

I BUY, SELL AND REPAIR COMPUTERS. RECENTLY I STARTED TO SAVE ALL MY COMPUTER SCRAP TO RECOVER THE GOLD THAT IS ON THE CARDS. SO ON THE OTHER HAND I STARTED TO BUY A FEW CATALYTIC CONVERTERS AS SCRAP BECAUSE I HEARD THAT IT HAS A LITTLE AMOUNT OF PLATINUM AND PALLADIUM HONEYCOMB THAT IS INSIDE THE BODY OF THE CONVERTER. SO THE POINT IS: IF SOMEONE CAN EXPLAIN TO ME OR GUIDE ME IN THE NEXT STEP TO RECOVER THE PLATINUM_PALLADIUM ONCE THE CONVERTER IS OPEN, BECAUSE THE HONEYCOMB I THINK IS MADE OF CERAMIC.

WHY I WANT TO KNOW THIS: TO PROVE TO A COUPLE OF FRIENDS THAT THE CONVERTERS HAVE A LITTLE AMOUNT OF THESE METALS. THEY THINK THAT I AM CRAZY OR NUTS.

MARIO Zdeleted
"hobbyist" - TIJUANA , BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO


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A. If you want to do it just to prove your friends the point, then I agree to them. But if you're willing to make money out of it, be prepared to spend a decent amount of life and a little fortune with no guarantee of success up front.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico


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A. We have the process for getting platinum (and other platinum grade metal from scrap catalytic converters). Listen to your friends. The platinum is there, but it is a very dangerous process and you have to know what you are doing.

Charles Kdeleted
- Burtonsville, Maryland


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A. Catalytic converters have precious metal in them, Mario. It's those precious metals that provide the catalytic reaction. So collect on the bet! :-)

Recovery is rather dangerous and shouldn't be attempted by untrained individuals though.

wikipedia
Catalytic Converter

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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A. Yes there is Platinum in catalytic converters. You can't recover it yourself but you have to take it a place that buys gold, metals, scraps... I buy catalytic converters, I pay good money. It depends on what kind of catalytic converter you have and if it's full, or half full.

Monica M deleted
- Louisville, Kentucky


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Q. Monica M,

Can you please explain what you mean by full or half-full.

also, what different types of catalytic converters are there? which ones are most desirable for resell to refiners?

Thanks - Mark

Mark Wdeleted
- San Antonio, Texas


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Q. Hi
I currently buy and sell catalytic converters to a man. He has often told me that he will be out of town selling these catalytic converters. My question is how much more is he getting paid and where does he take them to? Currently the best paid one I have had is one for $120.00, if anyone can help me please do so.

Juan Mdeleted
buyer/seller - Seven Springs, North Carolina


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A. I think Ted was kind of on the right track with his answer, but just as wrong as the rest of the responders. You will probably not find anyone willing to give up the process that they use because they use it to recover the material themselves. It would be nice if they came right out and said that so you could use your powers of internet research on chemistry to devise your own way of extracting the materials. BTW, if a person wishes to blow themselves up or poison themselves let them do it just don't take anyone else with you.

Ron H deleted
- Scranton, Pennsylvania


! Hi, Ron. Sure, people can sometimes be coy; but this site has tens of thousands of pages of people helping people, and there are tens of thousands of other sites like it. The main problem isn't coyness, but complexity. I'm sure that brain surgeons and rocket scientists can be coy too, but their coyness isn't why you don't find 1-page instructions on how to do brain surgery or build a lunar landing module :-)

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Q. I have access to hundreds of catalytic converters, and want to know how to extract, not refine, the platinum from them. This would save shipping fees, but I'm not sure if I can just cut out the part containing the platinum, or do I have to strip it out?

Georgia Tdeleted
recycler, junk dealer - Nashville, Tennessee


A. Hi, Georgia. You can cut the valuable part out from the steel. They will look a lot like a small muffler. The metal housing is stainless steel and contains no precious metal (although stainless steel has scrap value too!). The precious metal is in the ceramic honeycombs you find inside. But be careful to keep records -- because reputable recyclers will (hopefully) not buy from you unless you are convincing about their legitimacy. Best of luck!

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Q. Hello,
I would like to know whom I could sell the catalytic converters. I have one way to do it but it is kinda hectic. But, for the ones that want to know why they are so expensive, for an average size converter it has about 1.9 grams of platinum in the honeycomb....and do the math at 1200 dollars an ounce for platinum.

Nathan Hdeleted
- Vernon, Alabama


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A. I did the math as you asked, Nathan, and came up with $80. Looking at e-bay with asking prices from about $10 to $150 for scrap catalytic convertors, it seems that developing a good "buy low / sell high" strategy is an easier way to make money than doing the dangerous chemistry yourself :-)

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Q. I work in a lab and need to produce platinum from a catalytic converter on a small and safe scale, What is the best way of doing this?

Rachael Cdeleted
work in a glass lab - Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK


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A. Recovery of precious metals is a well developed industrial science, Rachel, and there are books that compare the alternative approaches and explain the chemistry in depth. Read the great reviews of Ammen's book =>

If you can provide a little more detail on what you are trying to do, you will probably get better targeted and therefore more helpful answers. Thanks!

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

Refining Precious Metal Wastes


Recovery And Refining Of Precious Metals


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! MY NAME IS WADE COLLINS AND I WAS TRYING TO FIND THIS PROCESS OUT MYSELF, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT NO ONE WANTS TO GIVE THIS VALUABLE INFORMATION UP IN FEAR OF OTHER PEOPLE MAKING THE KIND OF MONEY THEY'RE MAKING, I MEAN REGARDLESS OF IF IT'S A DANGEROUS PROCESS OR NOT IT'S OUR OWN DECISION IF WE WANT TO GO THROUGH WITH IT OR NOT, I MEAN THERE ARE A LOT OF DANGEROUS THINGS OUT HERE, ALCOHOL FOR ONE IS A DANGEROUS PROCESS IN EVERY WAY BUT PEOPLE NEVER DENIED US THE PROCESS OF CONSUMING IT AS WELL AS DRUGS, WORKING IN ASBESTOS AREAS, AND OTHER FOREIGN ILLNESSES, THAT WE DON'T EVEN ASK FOR, BUT TO DENY THE PEOPLE TO MAKE MONEY WHETHER YOU BELIEVE OR NOT TO BE DANGEROUS IS OUR DECISION IF WE WANT TO DO IT.

P.S.
SO FOR ANYONE WOULDN'T MIND SHARING SOME VALUABLE INFORMATION PLEASE LET ME KNOW THE PROCESS OF EXTRACTING THESE PRECIOUS METALS

Wade Collins
- ST. LOUIS, Missouri


 

A. Hi, Wade. It's not secret; it's just very complex to explain when starting from zero. Johnson-Matthey & Heraeus, with their half-billion dollar precious metal refineries, are no more afraid of competition from individuals than Boeing is.

If you ask a very specific question, people will almost always answer; but if you say "tell me how to build a jetliner", it's not that people refuse to answer, it's that the only thing they can do is point you to the right aisle in the library; they simply can't distill those shelves of books on aeronautical engineering into 2 paragraphs.

Recovery of precious metals is a well developed science-- start by reading one of the books that we mention here, that are readily available from any large library. Give yourself a few weeks of reading and you'll be able to do it yourself or ask specific questions that people will be able to answer. Good luck.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


January 11, 2011

thumbsup2LOL Just acquired a foreclosed estate property with acreage and found a mountain of converters waaaayyyy back in the woods under tarps. Couldn't for the life of me figure out what this guy was keeping them for and why he was hiding them so far from the road.

Stumbled on this thread and now I know.

Roberto Gremini
- Belvidere, Vermont USA

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Q. Hi
friends, I buy & sell many catalytic convertor, but I don't know the method for take out the platinum from it, if it's possible can you help me? How do we do it?
Regards

Jouni
- France


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A. Since "complicated and dangerous" doesn't seem to satisfy the masses on what it takes to extract precious medals from items such as catalytic converters, I'll put it in another way. The process to do so is known as carbochlorination and the simplified textbook definition of the process is as follows:

A stepwise carbochlorination--chemical vapor transport (SC--CVT) process is proposed for the rare earth extraction and separation from a mixed bastnaesite-monazite concentrate based on thermodynamic and kinetic analysis using carbon as reductant, chlorine gas as chlorination agent, SiCl4 as defluorination agent, and AlCl3 as vapor complex former. Between 500 °C and 800 °C, apparent activation energy of the carbochlorination within 2 hours changed from 22 to 16 kJ/mol roughly for the initial half hour and final 1 hour, respectively, in the absence of SiCl4; but these values reduced to 15 and 2.1 kJ/mole under 2 kPa of SiCl4 gas. The rare earth chloride yield for 2 hours was 56 to 88 mol pct in the absence of SiCl4 and 92 to 99 mol pct in the presence of SiCl4; but carbochlorination at above 1000 °C yielded a large amount of acid-insoluble residue. This, together with the negligible equilibrium vapor pressure of ThCl4 at below 600 °C, suggests that carbochlorination of the mixed concentrate at temperatures as low as 500 °C in the (Cl2 1 SiCl4) atmosphere is suitable for rare earth extraction and thorium-free volatile by-product release, which is different from the conventional Goldschmidt process at 1000 °C to 1200 °C. The CVT reaction of the carbochlorination product was performed at 800 °C for 0.5 hours in the (Cl2 1 SiCl4 1 AlCl3) atmosphere and then at 1000 °C for 6 hours in the (Cl2 1 AlCl3) atmosphere along different temperature gradients, leading to complete thorium removal and efficient rare earth separation, respectively. Their combination allows an efficient and environmentally conscious extraction and separation of rare earth elements from the mixed concentrate.

If you can't understand that then you're out of luck. there is no simpler, step by step method of doing this.

Cory Gage
- Tulsa, Oklahoma


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thumbsdownThe reason these [expletive deleted] don't want to give you the info is cause of the loss of money they would be hit with. The high value cat's get 2 to 300 dollars that hold up to 2 ounces of platinum in them. Notice you caught the eye of so many on here trying to buy yours instead of showing how you can recover 2 ounces of platinum. Now 1 ounce goes for what 1300 dollars. I wouldn't show you how to recover it either!

Zachary Rumble
- Lawton, Oklahoma


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Cory just finished taking the time to give you the 'secret' info, Zachary. But you don't yet have the background knowledge to understand his instructions. Any large library will have books on recovering platinum and precious metals; you may need to study those books before you understand Cory's instructions.

I bought a replacement catalytic converter from Meineke for under $150. OEM models for larger cars have more platinum but $2600 worth sounded ludicrous. So I spent some time on line looking for the world's most expensive catalytic converter and the best I could do was $2495 for a pair for a Ferrari,

Although the precious metals are indeed valuable, maybe the real issue is that there are people who want to sell you scrap at ridiculous prices by exaggerating its value while implying that recovery is easy?

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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I am a buyer of scrap catalytic converters.The process you ask about is very hard and dangerous. It is a process that is regulated under EPA standards. It is profitable to sell the converter as a whole unit. You can refine or have them refined in other countries if you want to gather up 3000 of them and wait 90 days on your money to come back to you. My web site buys on average 2500 catalytic converters a month. I have tried it all and to refine a converter yourself is totally crazy. There is 3 acids in the process and it becomes very explosive and at times it does explode.The proper automated machines keep the workers safe when this happens. There are several platinum groups in most converters. A large gm I pay 100.00 for it on my web site. A aftermarket converter is not worth what a factory converter is. It will only net you 10.00 as scrap. Some large converters I pay 140.00 for them and some exotic converters go higher than that, 200.00 or so. Before you find all there is to refining your own think about the people around you and the laws of the land.

Steven Gee
- Hornsby, Tennessee


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I agree with Mr. Mooney's last post. It is impossible to recover $200 in metals value from a product that RETAILS for less than $200!

Now, I do believe that finding silver/gold/Pt/Pd and other precious metals in a refinable form is still do-able at flea-markets, garage and estate sales and thrift stores - with enough time and patience. They, like others, have become much more sophisticated, so, likely they tested and 'high-graded' anything before it went out for sale.
Garage sales at private residences (NOT conducted by professional estate or auction services) remain the best candidates.

Bruce A Ades
- Carrollton, Texas


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