As one of the six elements of the platinum metals, silvery-white palladium is often referred to as platinum’s little brother. The shiny precious metal is known only since the 19th century. But interest in palladium only grew from 2010 onwards, after three researchers discovered the metal’s outstanding catalytic properties and won the Nobel Prize for it. Since then, palladium has been sought after in various industries and is also a popular material for jewelry making.
As with all precious metals, changing demand also causes strong price fluctuations for palladium. Nevertheless, an investment in palladium could offer good opportunities for investors in the long term. But what future prospects does the silvery white precious metal actually have?
How rare is palladium and where does it occur?
After a long period of silence about the element palladium, it is now considered one of the four important investment metals, along with gold, silver and platinum. However, palladium is much more common than gold and silver, for example.
The shiny precious metal is mainly mined in Australia and Russia. However, there are also palladium deposits in North and South America that are profitable to mine.
Similar to platinum, palladium usually occurs only in combination with other metals. It is therefore usually obtained as a by-product of the mining of nickel, silver, copper. Less commonly, palladium is mined from gold or platinum ores.
Since the precious metal is obtained as a by-product of mining other metals, the extraction of palladium is relatively costly.
What is palladium used for?
Palladium first aroused general interest after its excellent catalyst properties were discovered. The precious metal has special properties that can accelerate chemical reactions. Palladium is thus ideally suited as a coating for catalytic converters.
Accordingly, about two-thirds of the annual palladium production volume is needed in the automotive industry. In addition, palladium is also used in medical technology and in the manufacture of various electrical devices. Meanwhile, palladium is also a popular precious metal in the jewelry industry.
What are the future prospects of palladium?
The future of the precious metal depends primarily on future technical developments in the automotive industry.
Due to the decreasing use of diesel engines, it remains to be seen whether processes will be established in the automotive industry in which palladium can also be used in gasoline engines. But combustion engines are already more or less a discontinued model in the automotive industry.
The silvery-white palladium plays no role in the production of electric vehicles. However, should the production of hydrogen cars play a greater role in the future, the future prospects for palladium would be excellent, as it is ideally suited as a storage material for hydrogen.
Palladium’s future prospects are therefore closely linked to the future importance of hydrogen cars.