Investment in New Palladium Uses
Nornickel, the world’s leading supplier of palladium, has committed $100 million through 2030 to research and development of new palladium applications. This initiative is a response to the increasing demand for green technologies that harness solar, wind, and hydrogen power.
Research and Development Focus
Nornickel’s R&D center is focusing on projects in hydrogen, solar power, and the chemical sector to cultivate new markets for palladium. The company aims to compensate for the declining demand from the automotive sector by pioneering diverse uses of palladium in various industries.
Projects and Applications
- The R&D center is examining the role of palladium in hydrogen power systems, with pilot tests already in progress in China.
- Nornickel is working on a prototype that incorporates palladium in solar power cells, with the expectation of initial results by the end of next year.
- Investigations are underway into the use of palladium for synthesizing acids in biodegradable packaging, as an electrode in water disinfection processes, and in the cosmetics industry.
Potential for New Markets
Currently, palladium’s primary use is in catalytic converters for cars, aiding in reducing emissions from exhaust systems. However, as the electric vehicle (EV) market expands, the demand for palladium in traditional automotive applications is decreasing. Dmitry Izotov, Nornickel’s Head of New Product Development, has indicated that these initiatives could generate demand for an additional 40 metric tons of palladium by 2030. This estimate includes the development of palladium-based photocell coatings for solar power and catalysts for the chemical industry.
Global Market Impact
Nornickel’s strategy to diversify the use of palladium aligns with broader industry trends and the changing needs of the global metals market. The company’s investment represents a proactive approach to adapting to shifting market dynamics and maintaining palladium’s value amidst technological advancements in the EV sector.
Nornickel’s expansion of its R&D activities includes forming collaborations with Chinese partners involved in electrolyzer and fuel cell production. This highlights China’s significant role as both a consumer and an innovator in the global metals market.