Take them to the cells
16 November 2007, News release from ELGA Process Water
ELGA Process Water helps to manufacture ceramic powder for state of the art fuel cells
Australian consultants Sinclair Knight Merz have placed an order with ELGA Process Water for a system to provide high purity water for manufacturing ceramic powders for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The project is a new ceramic powder factory in Bromborough being built for Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, which is developing and manufacturing SOFC products for small-scale, on-site micro combined heat and power and distributed generation units that co-generate electricity and heat for domestic use.
Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, formed in 1992 by Australia's Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisation and a consortium of leading energy and industrial companies, and now listed on the London AIM market, is a world leader in developing solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology to provide reliable, energy efficient and low-emission electricity from natural gas and renewable fuels.
A fuel cell is a device that very efficiently generates electricity from hydrogen rich fuels through an electrochemical reaction. In solid oxide fuel cells, oxygen ions, generated at the cathode from atmospheric air, are transferred through a solid oxide electrolyte material at high temperature to react with hydrogen on the anode side. The hydrogen ions are provided from a fuel at high temperature, without need for a catalyst, and cells have been operated on a variety of fuels including methane, propane, butane, fermentation gas and gasified biomass.
A single solid oxide fuel cell is typically only a few millimeters thick and is made up of four layers, three of which are ceramics: an electrically conductive cathode, an insulating and gas-tight electrolyte and a conductive and highly porous anode. The fourth layer is the interconnect which separates and connects the individual cells. Dozens of such cells are stacked together in series to form a fuel cell "stack". The electrochemical characteristics of the ceramic materials are critical and their structure complex. Any trace chemical impurity can alter the performance, so it is vital to use high purity water during their manufacture.
This is the reason for the ELGA Process Water system. It consists of duplex Selectron 30 softeners to remove hardness salts from the water and this is followed by a cartridge type activated carbon filter to remove particulate matter and free chlorine. The pre-treated water is purified in two stages: a MaxiRO 14-1000 ES reverse osmosis unit which removes about 95% of dissolved salts before polishing by duty and standby C1040 nuclear grade deionisation cylinders and delivery into a 3000 litre tank with a distribution pump.
The skid mounted system combines the economy of reverse osmosis with the convenience of ELGA Process Water's cylinder exchange service to produce the required quality. Service exchange is a simple concept: partially treated permeate from the reverse osmosis unit is passed through a cylinder of mixed bed ion exchange resin. When the resin is exhausted, the whole cylinder is returned to the supplier in exchange for a recharged cylinder, so there is no on-site regeneration. The combined reverse osmosis and ion exchange process produces 2,400 litres per day of purified water with conductivity better than 1 µS/cm without the use of hazardous chemicals like acid and caustic soda, so it is safe as well as simple to use.
For further information please email ELGA Process Water