The process has been refined to allow for closed-loop recycling; this means that the waste of one fuel cell is taken and used to make another.
It does this by allowing for the economic recovery of materials whilst preserving the resources for re-use in new fuel cell products.
As a closed-loop recycling route, the process will be particularly useful in the future, when fuel cells are predicted to become power packs for vehicles.
It will also be beneficial in recovering the valuable resources from fuel cells which are expected to reach the end of their lives in around 10 to 15 years time.
The low-hazard process extracts Perfulorosulfonic Acid (PFSA) from the MEAs of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells.
It achieves this without incineration or the creation of hydrogen fluoride gas, which is a toxic and harmful substance.
The process also generates a metal-rich material, which makes platinum recovery from the MEAs easier with no loss of yield.
It also removes the technical challenges and cost of tackling dangerous emissions.
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