This successful project has delivered swift improvements in refining, targeting four of the Sustainability 2017 goals

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Activities at Johnson Matthey's Royston site in the UK include the refining of platinum group metals (pgms) by the Pgm Refining and Recycling business. A project on one of the operation's core purification steps has delivered swift improvements, targeting four of the Sustainability 2017 goals.

Whilst the business's technology for this core purification step is well established, a project and cross functional team were set up to improve the process and make the operation more sustainable.

Measurement and analyses confirmed that there were adverse entities in the process stream which led to contamination of an intermediate during subsequent processing steps. Johnson Matthey quickly realised that it had the answer among its own products: QuadraPure™ from the Scavenging Technologies product range, a functionalised resin bead that was able to scavenge and remove these adverse entities from the process stream. A recycling initiative also formed part of the project and separately, in the downstream process, the recycle of spent solutions was devised and implemented.

The resulting benefits were significantly reduced raw material usage, effluent generation and carbon emissions, as well as significant cost savings. The project combined structured problem solving with innovation and further improvements are planned. The sustainability dividend is closely entwined with efficiency gains and financial benefits, and these results make a significant contribution to Johnson Matthey's vision for a sustainable business.