Johnson Matthey demos 'HyRefine' tech for recycling hydrogen materials
Johnson Matthey has announced the successful lab scale demonstration of its new 'HyRefine' technology for recycling hydrogen fuel cell and electrolyzer materials. The company claims that this is likely to be the first ever demonstration of the recycle of the platinum group metals (PGMs), along with the recovery of the membrane ionomer.
Researchers at the company have proven that both the PGMs and the ionomer can be recovered and recycled into new catalyst coated membranes, which are the critical components of hydrogen fuel cells and electrolyzers. Separate experiments have confirmed that the recycled PGM catalysts match the performance of fresh material, it adds.
Alastair Judge, JM's Chief Executive, Platinum Group Metals Services, commented on the development, "This demonstration of our 'HyRefine' technology is a key step on our path to providing a circular service for our fuel cells and electrolyser customers in the future"
"It's a fantastic example of how we can leverage our foundational PGM ecosystem, world-leading recycling capabilities and decades of expertise in hydrogen technologies and apply this to embed circularity into the hydrogen economy", he added.
Using a purely chemical process, JM's 'HyRefine' technology offers efficiency and sustainability benefits compared to conventional PGM refining, the company claims.
Further, the output from this process would be 100 percent secondary (recycled), JM adds. Secondary metal has up to a 98 percent lower carbon footprint than primary (mined) metal, offering significant sustainability benefits. The PGM can then be seamlessly integrated into JM's PGM catalyst manufacturing and subsequent CCM manufacturing.
Following successful 5 litre lab scale demonstrations, JM is now scaling up this technology to run 50 litre pilot trials in its facility in Brimsdown, UK.
With the emergence of hydrogen ecosystem in the region, circularity of H2 materials is critical to conserve precious resources and minimize the environmental impact of manufacturing new hydrogen technologies.