Researchers from Delft University of Technology have developed an environmentally friendly method of recycling fuel cell catalysts.
The scientists claim to have discovered how to recover platinum through a selective electrochemical dissolution method.
The team applied a 0.5 to 1.1 V with a voltage scan rate of 50 mV/s to the carbon substrate resulting in only the platinum being dissolved.
The researchers used a solution of perchloric acid (HClO4, 0.1 M) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) - with three different concentrations of HCI testing at 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 M.
Even with the lowest concentration of HCl the researchers managed to extract 90% of the platinum.
The separation method was tested at 22.35 and 60 degrees Celsius.
Platinum is currently recovered by dissolving the substrate material in acid or through oxidation, and then separating the platinum from the solution.
The researchers at Delft University of Technology claim their method could be more environmentally friendly, as it avoids the use of concentrated acid mixtures.
The findings were published in the May issue of the journal ChemSusChem titled Environmentally Friendly Carbon-Preserving Recovery of Noble Metals From Supported Fuel Cell Catalysts.