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Rare earth dilemma forces catalyst changes

04.01.2011  | 

Keywords: [catalyst] [refining] [petrochemical]

The success from catalysts depends on its structure and composition. Tremendous research has been devoted in fine-tuning the melding of structure and raw material makeup to provide efficient catalyst systems for the hydrocarbon processing system. Some very effective catalysts include rare earth (RE) elements to facilitate desired processing reactions. RE elements are very difficult to mine. As indicated by “rare” in its names, RE elements are under stress as more products and applications utilize these materials. In addition to catalysts, RE elements are used in camera lenses, jet engines, nuclear batteries, lasers, vanadium steel, high-temperature superconductors and other hi-tech products. Newer applications include wind turbines and hybrid and electric car batteries. Demand for “greener” products, energy and vehicles continues to raise demand for RE element metals.

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