Recovery of precious metals from end-of-life PEMFCs

Jordan, Dylan (2020) Recovery of precious metals from end-of-life PEMFCs. Masters thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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The growing prevalence of fuel cell technology has helped grow its stature in the public eye. It has gained praise for all the sustainable model and accessibility of power. With this sustained period in the public eye certain parts of fuel cells have also experienced scrutiny. One of these aspects is the cost of fuel cells comparative to their fossil fuel counterpart. It is estimated that 34% of the cost of a fuel cell stack is composed of the precious metal catalysts found within the fuel cell membrane. Due to this cost it is important to find a technique that can recover as much of these catalysts as possible at the lowest available cost. This paper looks to analyse the current methods that are employed in industry to determine the best and most economic routes to explore. Hydrometallurgical methods are explored within this paper after it was deemed the most appropriate method available. Exploring the effects of both platinum and iridium upon the same membrane is also developed with the aim of creating a process that can selectively leach each metal from a membrane surface. By creating such a mechanism, catalysts can be treated and recycled – hence lowering the overall cost of the fuel stack and creating a more economically viable energy source. This paper seeks to explore different hydrometallurgical processes that allow for effective dissolution of platinum and iridium. By varying oxidant concentration as well as pH many avenues were explored including corrosion by halide-based solvents.

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Thesis (Masters)
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16 Oct 2020 09:00
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:43