This is the first part of the material recovery process. Using both EoL and brand new PEMFC components and entire stacks (provided by EKPO), BEST4Hy partners will implement a careful manual dismantling (HRD) and will develop a novel gaseous approach (CEA) for the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). Elcogen will take care of the manual disassembly of the SOFC stacks. A trial will be also made to dismantle stacks mechanically (HRD) with ad hoc equipment.
- Removal of tie rods.
- Disassembly of end plates, current collectors and sensor wires to obtain the cell row assembly.
- Unstacking the components of the cell row assembly into bipolar plates (BPP) and MEAs.
- Separation of the MEAs in its three main parts, the sealing, gas diffusion layer (GDL) and catalyst coated membrane (CCM).
- Maximization of material recovery, including improvement of dismantling procedures to reduce stack material losses of 5-10% (especially Pt) and preliminary assessment of potential mechanization/automation to increase speed of operation.
- High volumes of SOFC stacks to be disassembled would also be a driver for mechanization/automation of the process.
Gaseous dismantling of MEA
CEA will progress the development of a gaseous dismantling of MEA, as an alternative to the alcoholic solution soaking. Gaseous media will allow quick penetration of green solvents inside the different components, facilitating their separation. This approach allows to operate in a close loop reducing drastically the quantity of effluent. The gaseous approach will allow the recovery of solvent.
- High gas recovery efficiency (>95% ), fast process (<30min), use of low environmental impact chemicals.
The classification of the components (type and weights) and the monitoring of the inputs, losses and outputs of the processes will inform the LCI/LCA under development by UL.