During production and after the end of the life cycle (so-called "end-of-life") of electrolysers, a wide variety of waste and raw materials are produced, e.g. composite materials consisting of plastics or metals and precious metals. To protect the environment and nature, energy- and consumption-optimised manufacturing and recycling processes and concepts must therefore be implemented in the life cycle. A high level of material or raw material recycling makes it possible to return materials to the manufacturing processes and to realise a circular economy.
On the one hand, the ZSW takes these aspects into account in its own development, e.g. by using materials that can be partially recycled.
On the other hand, the ZSW also develops raw material recycling processes. One example here is the feedstock recycling of plastic waste by means of high-temperature pyrolysis to produce CO2-neutral hydrogen and carbon as a value product. In principle, the process is also suitable for the separation of valuable metals from a plastic matrix. Furthermore, high-temperature sorbents can be added during pyrolytic conversion to incorporate volatile species.