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Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/03/2011 10:28 PM

I'm told by my mechanic the sparkplugs on my hybrid contain platinum. I had them changed due to routine maintenance and asked for them as is my right. Now the question is: how much platinum is in a spark plug and how might I recover it?

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#1

Re: platinum recovery from spark plugs

12/03/2011 10:49 PM

Forget Platinum.

Iridium is all the rage now.

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#2

Re: platinum recovery from spark plugs

12/03/2011 11:22 PM

I heard about 80 plugs would add up to a gram...Of course they are only platinum tipped, and some has been lost due to wear...that's why you change them...and then of course there's the removal problem...Unless you have a truck bed full, it would cost more to remove then you could get...Besides he's right the're no good with nitrous, ya gotta go iridium...

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#3

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/04/2011 10:50 AM

If you want platinum, look into catalytic converters. I hear it's in powder form or something very difficult to recover. Certainly worth a good research as a college thesis or something like that.

Senior projects are a good source of research on recycling. Even if the project does not succeed, the students learn to apply science to current problems.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/04/2011 10:55 AM

Catalytic converters are easier to steal that spark plugs, too.

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#5

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/04/2011 2:19 PM

The short answer is it is uneconomical to recycle, both in the potential resources you get out and the money you can potentially get from selling.

Used batteries on the other hand.....

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#6

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/04/2011 6:04 PM

Just for reference, at the going price, a gram of pure platinum is worth $50.

http://www.ebullionguide.com/platinum-bars-1-gram.aspx

The value of the 80 spark plugs before the recovery process would be less - maybe half that value, since the process is expensive. So your spark plug is objectively probably worth less than 50 cents at best. Still you might want to ask around the service stations, whether someone collects them for bulk processing, and toss yours in their pile. Just for the sake of not wasting it in the landfill.

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#7

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/04/2011 11:10 PM

Platinum recovery, lead recovery..

Has anyone thought of recovering unobtainium?

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/04/2011 11:27 PM

I have a barrel of unobtainium, just waiting for the market to cartch up to cash in on.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/04/2011 11:35 PM

Unobtainium; isn't that becoming hard to get in commercial quantities?

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/05/2011 12:09 AM

I have a pure chunk..

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#11

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/05/2011 11:02 AM

It's not worth it. Just put the sparkplug on a chain and give that to your wife/GF.

Bert

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#12

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/05/2011 3:00 PM

Interestingly I watched a Discovery episode this AM that covered this very topic, though not about sparkplugs specifically. To recover the platinum requires putting into solution using a combination of nitric and hydrocloric acids called aqua regis. This is the only acid mix known to dissolve the noble metals. The solution is then reduced to a cake like material which is processed out by refining. I doubt a few spark plugs would be profitable but perhaps several thousand would. Platinum is surprisingly valuable so even small quantities recovered can pay for the complex processing involved. They were using electronics and catalytic converters as source so perhaps they forgot to mention the spark plugs.

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#15
In reply to #12

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

01/08/2012 9:48 AM

This was along the lines of what I was looking for. However the king of acids is a bit more than I am willing to work with in my garage. Thanks. I'll see if I can look up the discovery channel episode.

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#13

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

12/06/2011 6:46 AM

I obtained my "unobtainium" from the "unobtainium" mine at Clark's Trading Post in New Hampsire.

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#14

Re: Platinum Recovery from Spark Plugs

01/08/2012 9:43 AM

Thanks, all! I see there are some sci-fi fans (and potential theives) out there! I like the idea of jewelry on a chain, but recycling the stuff sounds more practical. I'll check out and see if there is a local place to drop 'em off. Maybe the shop where I had the work done does this already.

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