Recovering precious metals from proton exchange membrane fuel cells for catalytic application in the thermo-chemical processing of plastic waste

Dongho Choi, Dohee Kwon, Junhee Nam, Yiu Fai Tsang, Sungyup Jung, Kyungjung Kwon, Eilhann E. Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Platinum (Pt) serves as a catalyst in proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). Owing to its value, recovery of Pt from PEMFC was motivated. Pt was retrieved as a Pt/C composite through the pyrolysis of a mixed matrix of a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) and a sub-gasket (SG), as part of an environmentally benign methodology. The Pt/C composite was harnessed as a catalyst for the pyrolysis of polypropylene (PP) using CO₂ as the reaction medium. Both the one- and two-stage pyrolysis of PP yielded hydrocarbons (HCs) with methyl groups. However, the efficacy of CO₂ remains inconclusive for both processes. Upon integration of Pt/C as a catalyst in PP pyrolysis, the chemical species were altered. The major constituents were 4-methylheptane, 2,4-dimethylheptane, p-xylene, and mesitylene. Catalytic pyrolysis of PP using CO₂ over a Pt/C composite led to an increased formation of syngas, particularly CO, which is ascribed to the gas-phase interaction between CO₂ and volatile matters (VMs) originating from PP. This study demonstrates that the use of a Pt/C composite as a catalyst in the pyrolysis of PP holds promise for the enhanced syngas generation, presenting a prospective avenue for more sustainable and efficient processes. Copyright © 2024 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149251
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Volume484
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Citation

Choi, D., Kwon, D., Nam, J., Tsang, Y, F., Jung, S., Kwon. K., & Kwon, E. E. (2024). Recovering precious metals from proton exchange membrane fuel cells for catalytic application in the thermo-chemical processing of plastic waste. Chemical Engineering Journal, 484, Article 149251. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2024.149251

Keywords

  • Circular economy
  • Proton exchange membrane fuel cell
  • Platinum
  • Thermo-chemical process
  • Carbon dioxide

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