Platinum Group Elements

Principal Investigators
MIT: H.Hemond, G.Ravizza
UT: M.Owari
Chalmers: S.Raugh
Univ. of Venice: C.Barbante
Univ. Compultense (Spain): M.Palacios
Volvo Technological Development: U.Wass

Automobile exhaust catalysts have been introduced in the US in the 1970’s and are now in use in most developed countries. As the number of catalysts is expected to rise with their introduction in developing countries, concern has emerged over the release of platinum group elements (PGE) from the catalysts into the environment. While several studies have pointed out that PGE concentrations have increased in urban areas, the problem is taking another dimension with the recent finding of increasing PGE concentrations in Greenland. Are catalysts the source of PGE in Greenland? The question still has to be answered, but there is increasing evidence for a global dispersion, including the occurrence of PGE in submicron particles, which may be transported over long distances and potential health effects.


  • Size fractionated measurement of particle emissions from automobile exhaust, including sub-micron fractions
  • Determination of PGE emission mechanisms
  • Determination of size fractionated PGE levels in urban areas around the world
  • Investigation of the global dispersion of PGE

Results and Findings

  • Investigation on the global distribution of Platinum Group Elements (PGE)
  • Investigate occurrence and source
  • Serve as a model for other particle-bound metals