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End of Life of Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Products: From Technologies to Strategies


End-of-Life (EoL) technologies and strategies are needed to support the deployment of fuel cells and hydrogen (FCH) products. This article explores current and novel EoL technologies to recover valuable materials from the stacks of proton exchange membrane fuel cells and water electrolysers, alkaline water electrolysers, and solid oxide fuel cells. Current EoL technologies are mainly based on hydrometallurgical and pyro-hydrometallurgical methods for the recovery of noble metals, while novel methods attempt to recover additional materials through efficient, safe and cost-competitive pathways. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the reviewed EoL technologies are identified under techno-economic, environmental and regulatory aspects. Beyond technologies, strategies for the EoL of FCH stacks are defined mainly based on the role of manufacturers and recovery centres in the short-, mid- and long-term. In this regard, a dual role manufacturer/recovery centre would characterise long-term scenarios within a potential context of a well-established hydrogen economy.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Spain

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