Palladium (Pd) is a Critical Raw Material mainly used by the automotive industry. Russia is the world’s leading Pd exporter, accounting for 40% of all mined production, followed by South Africa. Global sanctions on Russia threaten to disrupt the Pd market, leading the prices to their highest level.
Within the plating on plastics process, Pd is currently used in Sn-Pd baths allowing the surface activation to disperse nucleation sites to ensure electroless metal deposition, as a pre-treatment step required for the electrodeposition of metals onto plastic non-conductive surfaces. The FreeMe project aims to eliminate the use of palladium from the plating on plastics process, ensuring the sustainability of the process and contributing to the resilience of the EU market.