Nickel's Environmental Benefits in the Metal Finishing Industry

Alba Rodriguez

April 17, 2023

April 17, 2023

Nickel has been used for centuries in various applications, and the metal finishing industry plays a critical role in providing multiple environmental benefits. This article will explore how nickel helps the environment in the metal finishing industry.

Important facts about nickel

Chemical symbol


Atomic number


Atomic weight


Melting point

1453 °C

Boiling point

2730 °C


8.90 g/cm3 at 25 °C

Curie temperature

253 °C

Protective Coating: Nickel Plating

One of the primary uses of nickel in the metal finishing industry is as a protective coating. Nickel plating involves depositing a layer of nickel onto a metal surface, creating a protective barrier that prevents rusting and deterioration. This is particularly important in industries such as aerospace, where components must withstand harsh environments and the slightest failure could be catastrophic.

Nickel plating is also used in the automotive industry to protect metal parts from rust and corrosion. By preventing the deterioration of metal components, nickel plating helps extend their lifespan, reducing the amount of industry-generated waste.

Catalytic Converters: Nickel's Role

Another significant environmental benefit of nickel in the automotive industry is its use in catalytic converters. These devices are fitted to vehicles' exhaust systems to reduce the emissions of harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. They combine platinum, palladium, and rhodium to convert these pollutants into less toxic substances.

Nickel helps improve the catalytic converter’s efficiency. Adding nickel to the other metals used in catalytic converters can reduce the number of precious metals needed, making the devices more cost-effective. This, in turn, makes it easier for manufacturers to meet emissions regulations, reducing the amount of pollution produced by the automotive industry.

Batteries: Nickel's Crucial Role

Nickel is also essential in transitioning to a more sustainable energy system, as it is used in batteries. Batteries store energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, allowing it to be used when required. Nickel is a crucial component in some traditional types of batteries, including nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries. But it is also used in newer technologies that incorporate Lithium compounds such as Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) or Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA) are used in high capacity batteries. Nickel is also used to connect battery packs together to achieve the desired capacity.

Nickel Recycling

Finally, nickel recycling is another way in which nickel helps the environment in the metal finishing industry. Recycling nickel can reduce the need to extract new nickel from the earth, reducing the environmental impact of mining activities.

Recycling nickel also helps to reduce the amount of waste generated by the industry. Instead of sending nickel-containing waste to landfills, it can be processed and reused, reducing the amount of garbage that needs to be disposed of. This, in turn, reduces the metal finishing industry's environmental impact and helps conserve natural resources.

In conclusion, nickel plays a critical role in the metal finishing industry, providing a range of environmental benefits. From protecting metal parts from corrosion to improving the efficiency of catalytic converters and batteries, nickel helps reduce the environmental impact of various industries. A key aspect is to source nickel responsibly. As with other minerals, some communities have been damaged by exploitation practices. The conflict minerals discussion is one that needs to be front and center when assessing the pros and cons that these technologies have to offer.

Most of the processes in which nickel plays a leading role have a much longer functional life, which means that the products are not disposable, making the waste much less and reducing environmental pollution.

We invite you to read more about these processes on our blog, where you can also learn about our chemical treatments. Let us work together towards a cleaner world with less waste. Don't miss the opportunity to explore more about the process you can follow on PAVCO® and be part of the change.

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