Fuel cells, especially polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), are already used in hydrogen-powered automobiles. With the increasing spread of this technology, a larger quantity of this type of fuel cell will have reached the end of its life by 2030 at the latest. Due to the high proportion of valuable technology metals and ecological considerations, an efficient recycling of materials contained in PEM fuel cells is necessary. However, a recycling process tailor-made for fuel cells is not yet available on an industrial scale.
This challenge is now being met by a consortium led by the Fraunhofer IWKS. As part of the "BReCycle" project, the consortium, consisting of the five research and industrial partners Fraunhofer IWKS, Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH, MAIREC Edelmetallgesellschaft mbH, Electrocycling GmbH and KLEIN Anlagenbau AG, is developing a closed-loop recycling concept specifically for PEM fuel cells.
In close cooperation with Joma-Polytec and Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell, a subsidiary of Daimler AG, the engineering plastic Ultramid has successfully been used to manufacture a number of fuel cell system components. This innovative solution is being used as standard in the new Mercedes GLC F-CELL, which combines a fuel cell with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
For the Mercedes GLC F-CELL, it is the all-round excellence of Ultramid’s properties that counts: good thermal and chemical resistance, dynamic stiffness, impact strength, and good long-term performance.
The hydrogen recirculation loop is completely integrated into the media port side of the fuel cell stack enclosure. The recirculation of hydrogen is ensured by a passive ejector system.