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Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Electrolyte

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Background

Powder Processing & Technology, LLC was presented with a material that would be used in existing commercial fuel cells to vastly improve their longevity before needing major refurbishments. While not a new material, the unique processing presented the opportunity to vastly improve the homogeneity and uniformity of the grain structure and to potentially improve the lifetime of the cell within the fuel cell.

Solution

As usual, the first part of the program was to manufacture the material in pilot scale quantities using similar methods as the customer. Unfortunately the customer had performed all initial development in gram size quantities rather than reasonably sized real world development quantities.

It was quickly determined that the customer's method of manufacture was not adaptable to the real world. Accordingly a realistic method of production had to be developed that would be scalable to production quantities and throughputs.

Using existing blending and calcining equipment at PPT, and within a reasonable time frame, we were able to duplicate the quality of the customer's development material and well within their projected cost goals. Fortunately all measurement test requirements were within our existing test capabilities.

Now the goal was to scale up to meet the customer's production requirements. Several pieces of production sized equipment were lacking. An agreement was reached with the customer that PPT would fund the purchase of one of the items, and the customer would fund the purchase of the other, as it was particularly unique to their process.

Again within a reasonable time frame PPT was able to scale up our pilot quantity manufacturing process to a prototype production process that was capable of producing metric ton sizes lots, within the quality and cost requirements that the customer required.

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