Our joint win with Cardiff University recognises the development of a mercury-free catalyst to support a more environmentally friendly method of producing PVC

13 Nov 2015

Johnson Matthey and Cardiff University collect the award for Innovative Product of the Year at the IChemE Global Awards 2015
                                                                                                                                                                                                Image courtesy of IChemE
Johnson Matthey and Cardiff University collect the award for Innovative Product of the Year at the IChemE Global Awards 2015 Image courtesy of IChemE

Johnson Matthey has been recognised for its innovative work with Cardiff University on an environmentally friendly catalyst for the manufacture of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), which is used to make poly vinyl chloride (PVC).

The new catalyst, which is a replacement for products containing toxic mercury compounds, has been named Innovative Product of the Year in the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards 2015.

The IChemE Awards celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical and process industries.

Sustainable technologies for PVC production

In October 2013, 90 countries signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury which is a binding international treaty aimed at controlling and reducing emissions of toxic mercury compounds. As a result, after 2017 VCM plants will need to switch to a mercury-free catalyst, providing there is an economically available alternative.

This novel catalyst is an example of Johnson Matthey's capabilities in, and commitment to, sustainable technologies

Our new catalyst, PRICAT® MFC, uses gold as the active component which is carefully positioned on the surface of a carbon support material.

We call this an eggshell catalyst as the gold sits only on the surface. We have specifically designed it this way to minimise the amount of gold used, making the catalyst more economical, and to make it readily available for reaction.

Speaking about the award, Erwin Teirlinck, Business Development Manager, Chemical Catalysts at Johnson Matthey, said: "The award is a recognition of the great collaborative research within Johnson Matthey and with Cardiff University, both in chemistry and chemical engineering.

"This novel catalyst, PRICAT® MFC, is a further example of Johnson Matthey's capabilities in and commitment to sustainable technologies and most importantly, it enables our customers to meet forthcoming legislation in an economical viable way."

Johnson Matthey has recently commissioned a catalyst production plant in China that can produce commercial quantities of the new catalyst.

Find out more

Contact our Chemical Catalysts business.