Over half of the supply of palladium and its congener platinum goes into catalytic converters, which convert up to 90% of harmful gases from auto exhaust (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide) into less-harmful substances (nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor). Palladium is also used in electronics, dentistry, medicine, hydrogen purification, chemical applications, groundwater treatment and jewelry. Palladium plays a key role in the technology used for fuel cells, which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water.
Ore deposits of palladium and other PGMs are rare, and the most extensive deposits have been found in the norite belt of the Bushveld Igneous Complex covering the Transvaal Basin in South Africa, the Stillwater Complex in Montana, United States, the Thunder Bay District of Ontario, Canada, and the Norilsk Complex in Russia. Recycling is also a source of palladium, mostly from scrapped catalytic converters. The numerous applications and limited supply sources of palladium result in the metal attracting considerable investment interest.
The largest use of palladium today is in catalytic converters. Palladium is also used in jewelry, in dentistry,watch making, in blood sugar test strips, in aircraft spark plugs and in the production of surgical instruments and electrical contacts.Palladium is also used to make professional transverse flutes.