4 years ago

Environmentally Friendly Recycling of Fuel-Cell Membrane Electrode Assemblies by Using Ionic Liquids

Environmentally Friendly Recycling of Fuel-Cell Membrane Electrode Assemblies by Using Ionic Liquids
Eric Meux, Sophie Legeai, Emmanuel Billy, Nathalie Leclerc, Maxime Balva
The platinum nanoparticles used as the catalyst in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) represent approximately 46 % of the total price of the cells for a large-scale production, and this is one of the barriers to their commercialization. Therefore, the recycling of the platinum catalyst could be the best alternative to limit the production costs of PEMFCs. The usual recovery routes for spent catalysts containing platinum are pyro-hydrometallurgical processes in which a calcination step is followed by aqua regia treatment, and these processes generate fumes and NOx emissions, respectively. The electrochemical recovery route proposed here is more environmentally friendly, performed under “soft” temperature conditions, and does not result in any gas emissions. It consists of the coupling of the electrochemical leaching of platinum in chloride-based ionic liquids (ILs), followed by its electrodeposition. The leaching of platinum was studied in pure ILs and in ionic-liquid melts at different temperatures and with different chloride contents. Through the modulation of the composition of the ionic-liquid melts, it is possible to leach and electrodeposit the platinum from fuel-cell electrodes in a single-cell process under an inert or ambient atmosphere. Recover like no other: Electrochemical recovery of platinum from fuel cells is accomplished by coupling electrochemical leaching and electrodeposition in ionic liquids (ILs) under “soft” temperature conditions. Imidazolium chloride ILs are selected for their complexing ability with platinum and their good electrochemical stabilities. They are used either pure or diluted in a low-coordinating IL. It is possible to leach and electrodeposit platinum simultaneously in a single cell.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201700456

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