Case study

Back to subjects     Back to universities

Why gold is the key to a glittering future

Why gold is the key to a glittering future

The manufacture of complex materials like plastic creates too much waste and not enough product. Cardiff University has been seeking ways of reducing harmful chemicals produced during catalysis.

Researchers at the School of Chemistry, led by Professor Graham Hutchings, have discovered gold has the potential to save lives, improve health and clean up the environment. Gold is the best catalyst for the formation of vinyl chloride, the main ingredient for the production of PVC, and could replace an environmentally harmful mercury catalyst. The use of gold as a catalyst for VCM production has been endorsed by Johnson Matthey.

The findings have been incorporated into the global policy debate around the use of mercury and risks to the environment.

“This is the first time in about 50 years where a complete change in catalyst formulation is being evaluated for the production of this bulk chemical.” Dr Peter Johnston, Scientific Consultant from Johnson Matthey

Find out more