Umicore patented a process for recovering platinum group metals (PGM) from PGM-bearing catalysts containing silicon carbide (SiC). By mixing catalysts with an Fe-oxide compound and smelting in specific conditions, high PGM yields are achieved. GlobalData’s report on Umicore gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Umicore, Hydrogen storage alloys was a key innovation area identified from patents. Umicore's grant share as of January 2024 was 51%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11879164B2) discloses a process for the recovery of platinum group metals (PGM) from PGM-bearing catalysts containing silicon carbide (SiC). The method involves preparing a metallurgical charge by mixing the catalysts with an iron-oxide compound to oxidize a significant portion of the SiC, followed by feeding the mixture into a smelting furnace to form a melt consisting of a liquid iron-based bullion containing PGM and a liquid slag.

The process outlined in the patent includes specific steps such as using spent automotive catalysts or catalyzed diesel particulate filters as PGM-bearing catalysts, slagging part of the iron present in the bullion to concentrate the PGM, and introducing nickel compounds to further concentrate the PGM in a nickel- or iron-nickel-based bullion. The patent also specifies the percentage of SiC in the catalysts, the composition of the metallurgical charge, and the particle size requirements for both the catalysts and the iron-oxide compound. Additionally, the process involves separating the PGM-containing iron bullion from the slag for further processing. The patent lists various suitable iron-oxide compounds for the oxidation of SiC in the catalysts, emphasizing the importance of particle size control in the preparation of the metallurgical charge for efficient recovery of PGM.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.