Special problems faced by Platinum Group Elements
Until recently, scientists have had little luck with replacing platinum in catalysts. Previous research included reducing the amount of platinum used in the catalyst (mostly to make the catalyst cheaper), or substituting alloys of other PGEs such as ruthenium and palladium. However, scientists at Brown University have recently discovered that it is feasible to eliminate the use of PGEs in such catalysts by using a cobalt-graphene catalyst. Replacing the use of PGEs in catalysts to solve this pollution problem is not only feasible, but also preferable. Although the cobalt-graphene catalyst takes longer to get the reaction started than the platinum catalyst, it increases the reaction rate after it has started, leading to greater efficiency. The cobalt-graphene catalyst is also more durable than that of platinum, performing at about 70% of its initial capacity after 17 hours, beating platinum’s 60%. Finally, the economic situation surrounding the replacement of a platinum catalyst is beneficial as well. Because cobalt is more readily available than platinum, the catalysts will be cheaper to produce and its enhanced durability will ensure that they will not need replacement as quickly. Therefore, the replacement of PGE catalysts with the up-and-coming cobalt-graphene catalysts will not only improve the environmental situation surrounding the deposit of PGEs on roads with few, if any, economic drawbacks.