Figure 10.4 Substitution of metals in electronics (a) and in opto-electric applications (b). Inner spheres show the elements used in the applications; outer spheres depict possible replacement elements.

the Pt to Pd price ratio; combined with supply restrictions on Pd exports from Russia, an all time high of the Pd price was reached in 2000 (Figure 10.3).3 The continuously high prices for PGM drive innovation as well. Nanotechnology is being investigated to reduce the amount of PGM in catalysts, and the application of other metals and nonmetals to replace PGMs is explored.

In addition to pricing, legislation can also drive substitution. The ban of lead (Pb) in solders (after 2000) caused an increase in the demand for tin (Sn), silver (Ag), and bismuth (Bi). The latter two metals are partially produced as a by-product from Pb production; thus, reducing the demand for Pb led to extra pressure on the supply sources of Ag and Bi. Indium (In) could be used in lead-free solders, but this would increase pressure on the In price (Figure 10.3),

Again the market reacted and Pd was partially re-substituted by Pt. At the same time a boom in diesel car sales in Europe triggered additional need for Pt and drove up its price significantly. The Pd price rally also caused substitution in other areas, such as electronics, which combined with new developments in autocatalysts and speculative effects led ultimately to a downturn in Pd prices while the price of Pt increased steadily to an all time high in early 2008: a level five times above the price of Pt in 1999, at which time Pd prices were also significantly higher than the mid-1990s level.

which has already increased temporarily by a factor 10 after 2003 due to the high demand for LCD screens and, later on, PV applications.

The Utilization Chain of Minor Metals

Every product progresses through the four phases of the product life cycle (Figure 10.5). In each phase, losses occur and residues are created. In the manufacturing phase, major and minor metals are combined in a complex way based on product design. Requirements for product functionality drive the demand for the (minor) metals and determine their extraction in the raw materials production phase. Manufacturing includes the semi-products and the assembly of all the semi-products into the final product. At this stage the connections between the materials are made. During manufacturing, organizational and technical inefficiencies or limits generate scraps. Production scrap and rejects can be recycled to recover the metal; however, losses will inevitably occur. The use phase comes to an end when a product is not desired anymore, is worn out or irreparable, and is thus discarded. Products entering the EoL phase form a mixture of designs and models, ranging from the most recent design to one used many years ago, with proportions of designs changing over time (Reuter et al. 2005, p. 210).

Uncollected or discarded EoL products, or parts thereof, and materials for which no recycling technology exists leave the cycle. Collected EoL products are separated into different (metal) streams, which have to be suitable for

Losses _2_

Product manufacture*


Losses during f use and products not treated in EoL phase

End-of-Life product



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