GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET
The catalytic converters (catalysts) play a crucial role in exhaust system of vehicles by controlling the HC, CO and NOx gases. The need to attain cleaner environment and strict regulations in every region has propelled the market. These catalysts are mostly made of Palladium, Platinum and Rhodium which increases the final price of the product.
AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET SEGMENTATION
By Metal Type
- Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)
- NOx Catalyst
- Selective Catalytic Reduction Catalyst
- Ammonia Slip Catalyst
- Two Way Catalyst
- Three Way Catalyst
- Four Way Catalyst
By Type of Engine
By Vehicle Type
- Passenger Cars
- Light Commercial Vehicles
- Heavy Commercial Vehicles
- Two Wheelers
AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET DYNAMICS
The Gasoline Direct Injection engines are ruling the market and the rapid increase of this number has led to development of advanced after treatment systems to counter the NOx emissions from these engines.
In 2020, sales volume for mobile emission catalysts saw a jump whereas, volumes declined for chemical catalysts and refining catalysts in particular
The increase in catalyst sales globally in 2020 was primarily attributable to higher precious metal prices. BASF’s catalyst segment made about $ 16B sales in 2020, about 44% increase Y-o-Y.
BASF’s FWC+ Catalyst (Four Way Conversion) technology was initially introduced to the Chinese passenger car market in 2019 before being launched in Europe in 2020. It is estimated that it has potential of potential of annual sales of more than €20 million from 2022 onward.
After first half of 2020, Johnson Matthey’s global LDV (Light Duty Vehicle) Catalyst sales declined by 23%, largely driven by Europe and the Americas due to COVID-19 and associated customer shutdowns. Asia’s sales except for China remained flat and in China the sales went up as the year progressed and was also supported by government.
Johnson Matthey’s HDD (Heavy Duty Diesel) Catalyst sales went down by 33%. However, in China & India company was benefited from a significant uplift in value per truck due to tightening legislation. America region being the company’s largest HDD market witnessed a drop in sales of 48% Y-o-Y.
Sales declined primarily due to weaker demand as a result of COVID-19 and the usual cyclicality of methanol and ammonia catalyst refills in Catalyst Technologies. This resulted in growth pf PGM Services which benefited from higher and more volatile average PGM prices.
Umicore’s revenues suffered much less than the global car market, due to strong market position in gasoline technologies for light-duty vehicles, particularly in China and Europe. Revenues were further supported by higher sales of Umicore’s catalysts for heavy-duty diesel applications and fuel cells catalysts.
DOC for diesel engines and three way catalysts in case of gasoline engines are the leading technologies in the automotive catalysts range. The efficiency of these catalysts to control HC, CO and Particulate Matter (PM) makes them most commonly used ones. In addition to this Lean NOx Traps (LNT) has witnessed a rise in installation of these to control NOx emissions due to stringent regulations worldwide.
The three way catalysts along with the NOx traps are the most frequently found catalytic technology in the diesel engines.
The four way catalysts for gasoline engines can remove all four major pollutants NOX, HC, CO and PM in single technology.
BY TYPE OF ENGINE
The diesel powered engines contribute higher to the catalyst market due to its higher emission rate. This has led to development of more number of catalyst technologies for diesel engines. The diesel powered engines require larger Palladium Group Metals (PGM) to convert the exhaust gases into less toxic gases. Since the PGMs are expensive it increases the price of the catalysts.
BY VEHICLE TYPE
Light-duty and heavy-duty commercial vehicles are the two main consumers of automotive catalyst. The lower penetration of EVs in the heavy duty vehicles segment is one of the factors driving the catalytic converter in this segment. Normally the emission standards are slight lenient in case of heavy duty vehicles. The heavy duty vehicles account for 40% of the NOx emission in the European Union region.
The below chart shows the catalysts market share:
US AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET
The California’s goal to achieve 90% reduction i.e. 0.02 g/bhp-hr of NOx emissions of a heavy duty vehicle in the state and across the country by 2027 will be the turning point in the market.
EUROPE AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET
SCR was made mandatory for all the diesel vehicles above 2L engine which has increased the SCR demand in the region. The upcoming Euro 6d emission standards are expected to stringent the rules further and thus propelling the catalyst and overall exhaust market.
CHINA AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET
Due to the ongoing pandemic China has delayed the implementation of particulate number limits till January 2021 and allowed the sales of China V standard cars. The China 6 standards will be implemented in 2 stages 6a and 6b 6 months apart. The 6b being stringent regulations, the automakers are now able to time tweak to be launched vehicle to the emission standards.
BASF by investing 34 million Euros on the Catalysis R&D center in Shanghai has enhanced the regional innovation capabilities. The first production facilities are scheduled for completion in 2022
INDIA AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET
The changes in emission standards such as reduced sulphur content from diesel vehicles, reduced NOx emission limits for all classes of vehicles after implementation Bharath Stage-VI will boost the diesel catalytic technologies immensely.
The mandate to incorporate three way catalytic converters for petrol engines has led to surge in demand for catalytic converters.
AUTOMOTIVE CATALYST MARKET SIZE AND FORECAST
There have been continuous efforts by the manufacturers to develop an alternative material to reduce the cost of the catalytic production. Currently there is 3 times more demand for palladium than platinum in automotive industry. To balance the structural deficit in the palladium market platinum is being used to develop these catalysts.
BASF has recently developed tri-metal catalyst which substitutes high priced palladium by low priced platinum. This catalyst is extensively made for light duty gasoline vehicles.
RECENT MARKET TREND
- BOSAL has been nominated by AGCO for the manufacturing of a new Tier-4 Tractor Emission Control System. After focussing on passenger vehicle segment, BOSAL will be re-investing in agricultural market segment
- BOSAL to open new manufacturing plant and R&D center in Shanghai, China, it will support contract for its OE customer Geely, related to the Volvo XC40 model. The first equipment of the R&D Center on the same site has been installed, this activity will come in full swing in 2022. The plant will manufacture Emission Control Systems for passenger cars.
- BASF has pioneered a new innovation in its selective hydrogenation catalyst market, by developing new palladium alumina catalysts, this series of Pd on spherically shaped E15x catalysts replaces the E14x series of Pd alumina catalysts which have been used commercially for over 30 years in selective hydrogenation applications
- The Fourtune™ FCC catalyst is the latest addition to the refining catalysts portfolio. It is based on BASF’s Multiple Framework Topology technology.
- Umicore have developed a new range of Gasoline Particulate Filters (GPF) which uses advanced coatings to add more functions to the exhaust system. They apply functions by coating the filters with three-way catalytic materials that contribute to the reduction of emissions like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
- BASF has launched Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) catalyst product for biodiesel engines. It is optimised to deliver superior butylene over propylene.
- Aether Catalysts is developing low cost non PGM group catalytic converter which reduces the production cost by 90%.
- BASF has inaugurated a new research center in Ludwigshafen, Germany which focuses on efficient process development and testing of new process catalysts.
The leading catalytic converter manufacturers are BASF (Germany), Umicore (Belgium), Johnson Mathey (UK), Faurecia (France) and Tenneco (US). Some of the Japanese manufacturers are Cataler Corporation, Sango Co Ltd and Yutuka Giken.