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Can platinum be extracted from exhaust fumes?

Recycling a precious metal from exhaust fumes to create greener energy is a project being worked on by scientists from the universities of Cardiff and Birmingham. Catalytic converters, which reduce pollutants in vehicle emissions, contain platinum and over the years the metal is slowly lost through exhaust pipes. The team are looking at ways of recovering the material, which is an essential component of fuel cells, but need to find locations where the platinum is concentrated enough. High concentrations are needed to develop cost-effective and sustainable ways of using the material. Waste containers from road sweepers are being targeted as a possible source. Dr Hazel Prichard, from the School of Earth Ocean and Planetary Science at Cardiff University, is heading up the team. She said: Platinum is a vital component not only of catalytic converters but also of fuel cells. Fuel cells are an important new source of clean energy. Platinum is a precious metal and resources are scarce and expensive. The team is also looking at ways of using food waste and bacteria to produce clean fuel cells to create reliable greener energy while minimising waste.

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