How Much Rhodium is in a Catalytic Converter

How Much Rhodium is in a Catalytic Converter
Written by Autofot
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Rhodium is one of the chattels that is very necessary in the car. It is a white-toned precious metal (atomic symbol Rh) that is also an element. It is one of the platinum group metals. The car you use releases toxins that are very hazardous to humans, but thanks to the catalytic converters that clean out the toxins, your car does not pollute the environment. But do you know the elements which clean the toxins out of the exhaust fumes? One of the important elements is the rhodium which works with other elements such as palladium to clean the toxins before the fumes are released to the environment. We can say in nutshell that the main use for rhodium is in catalytic converters designed to clean vehicle emissions. Rhodium often together with palladium and platinum accomplishes this by reducing nitrogen oxide in exhaust gas. Without rhodium catalysts, the air in our cities would be much worse due to vehicle exhausts.

And Rhodium is rare, obtained in very small quantities as a byproduct of platinum and nickel mining, principally in Canada and Russia. Because it is so rare in nature and so difficult to obtain, it is in great demand from sources that include jewellery and catalysts.

For a long time, the metal wasn’t widely used, but about 100 years ago, rhodium started to be used in laboratory devices that measured high temperatures. Then everything changed in the mid-1970s when catalytic converters were first introduced to reduce the pollutants in automobile exhaust emissions. That rareness helps explain why rhodium is a hot investment metal today, trading for a staggering $13,800.00

 How Much Rhodium Is in Catalytic Converter?

The amount of rhodium in our cars cannot be equal. So, the answer to this very question depends on some factors, especially on the car’s make and model, and its engine. One vehicle with the same engine could have different converters for different countries.

The average quantity of rhodium in a catalytic converter is about 1-2 grams, and the average weight of a catalytic converter is about 1.2 kg or 2.2 pounds.

Rhodium has a very high cost, about $290 per gram, but the price would depend on the metal quality, but you can easily fetch this from recycling the old converter.

Can Rhodium Coming From A Used Catalytic Converter Lose Its Properties?

Rhodium is found in the honeycomb part of the converter, and you can easily recover the metal through a recycling process. Rhodium found in the catalytic converters does not lose its properties or strength and you would be safe recycling it.

Rhodium is least likely to be affected by air, water, and acids. Thus the acidic toxins produced alongside the exhaust fumes will not make the metal lose its properties.

The metal produces acetic acid through catalytic carboxylation, which is the synthesis of carbonyl compounds. Thus, it is a sturdy metal that rarely loses its properties.

The recycling company should have the latest technology systems and be energy-efficient. Moreover, it should have an effective waste system that reduces environmental pollution at the expense of the metal.

Why Does Rhodium Become So Expensive?

Rhodium cleans fumes from car exhaust, and thus its demand has increased due to emission restrictions. It faces a supply deficit due to the growing demand from the automotive sector to meet the stringent emission norms.

Thus the low supply has made its price double and is now costlier than gold. An ounce of rhodium costs more than cars like Tata Harrier, Toyota Innova, and Kia Carnival. This supply issue has led to rhodium catalytic theft in the US due to phenomenal price movement.

The closing of the South African mines has contributed to the metal price as the country had been the largest rhodium producer. The supply shortage due to plunging metal mines has affected the rhodium price.

Moreover, the suppliers are releasing little rhodium into the market, which creates a supply shortage, increasing the price of the goods.

The corona pandemic has affected the mining sector, and there has been investment in the mines during the period. South Africa was the worst hit, and some of the underground mines are yet to be fully functional.

Car manufacturers want more rhodium metal in Europe, China, and the US to meet the stringent norms to maintain clean air. The high demand impacts the metal price, and most car manufacturers would use the metal to clean the exhaust fumes as it is very resistant to corrosion.

Read More: 12 Important Car Dashboard Symbols/Signs You Must Know

Moreover, it uses other industries due to its chemical and physical properties, which adds to its demand.

Rhodium is hard to extract from the core, and the scarcity continues to impact its prices. Its price fluctuates at high levels, and the volatility might be a norm. Thus, the projected prices might make supplies keep the metal off the market, creating a deficit and more price increases.

What Is The Price Of Rhodium Today?

The price of real or pure rhodium goes for $290 per gram, but the price would depend on the metal quality to be more or less than this. You can act as a middle person by buying the metal from the mines and selling it to car manufacturers at a high price.

Rhodium might have more value in the future due to supply and demand issues, and thus buying and reselling the metal would be a good business.

However, if you want to sell an old catalytic converter, it might be worth $399 to $1500 at the local demolishing store. The high prices can be attributed to other highly valuable metals like palladium. However, you can set up a recycling company that can separate the metals from the catalytic converter fetching high prices.

Why is rhodium so expensive?

“Because the need for rhodium is on high demand, thereby making it scarce and expensive, its value is almost certain to remain quite high.  Rhodium prices are likely to fluctuate at high levels and volatility will be the norm. The market deficit for rhodium should widen further with time. Therefore, rhodium relevance and the wide need of it continue to push it high, thereby making it so expensive. Strict car manufacturing regulations require high-quality catalytic converters which filter out carbon dioxides and other toxins which affect the environment.

Therefore, the high demand for this rare metal has made its price continue to go so high. At the moment, pure rhodium goes for $290 per gram. The metal’s supply has been impacted by the high demand from the car manufactures, declined mining due to coronavirus pandemic, and distortion in the supply chain. So far we have known how much rhodium that is in catalytic converter, also the reason why the demand is in increase. More so, the importance of rhodium in catalytic converters in our environment.

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About the author


Autofot is a website that blogs on the importance of taking good care of our automobiles. Little things that are ignored matter the most, hence we try to educate car owners and other different auto owners on how to go about taking care of their cars with little or no cost.

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