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The development of an electrochemical cell platform for industrial applications

Development of a generic, or ‘work-horse’ electrochemical cell (the norscand(tm) cell) that provides a surface area larger than existing lab-scale products , and that can be adapted for industrial-scale applications in wastewater treatment, chemical production, and minerals processing.

Background NORAM and PERMASCAND have entered into a collaborative development programme to produce an effective design for a new generic, or ‘work-horse’ electrochemical cell (referred to here as the NORSCAND(TM) cell). The programme is a response to a strong demand from a variety of end-users for a cost-effective product that bridges the gap between existing lab-scale products (e.g. Electrocell AB), and industrial-scale applications that dictate a much larger active surface area (>0.5 m2). The goal of the programme is a cell architecture and manufacturing platform that can address a wide range of applications, including wastewater treatment, chemical production, and minerals processing. Technology Status While sectors such as the chlor-alkali industry are well-served by existing products, there is (1) a dearth of cell suppliers globally capable of industrial cell design on a process-specific basis, (2) a lack of suitable resources for custom cell construction, and (3) an absence of cell architectures flexible enough to tailor parameters such as materials of construction and cell gap for a range of process applications. Although fuel cell technology has seen an upsurge in the development of electrochemical materials, test procedures, and manufacturing technology – all of which benefit the wider electrochemical sector – the chemical and minerals sectors have been unable to take wider advantage owing to the lack of infrastructure and equipment addressing more traditional electrochemical synthesis and processes. NORAM and PERMASCAND have identified a need in the market for a two or three-compartment bipolar cell assembly with a high degree of design flexibility (adaptability). This calls for an effective surface area of between 0.5 and 1 m2, which would position the cell at a more practical industrial scale, beyond the laboratory-scale Electrocell units that are widely used in electrochemical process development. Objectives Whereas NORAM has a deep experience base in the design and scale-up of novel electro-synthesis processes, PERMASCAND is an experienced cell and electrode fabricator. PERMASCAND is also a world-leader in the area of electrode coatings and material selection. NORAM and PERMASCAND are proposing to commercialise the new cell platform, with both parties contributing expertise in their respective fields. Specifically, PERMASCAND will industrialize cell production for large-scale manufacture, while NORAM seeks to provide process and equipment solutions based on the cells. A cell R&D programme has culminated in the development of a technical specification and detailed design for the first full-scale prototypes. Five such prototypes have now been manufactured by PERMASCAND and shipped to NORAM for testing. NORAM is undertaking the design and engineering of a custom pilot facility that will allow testing and evaluation of these large-format cells. Concurrent with the test programme, NORAM and PERMASCAND have identified several near-term end-users, which calls for fast-tracking of a number of test programmes in parallel. Work Plan Responsibility for the manufacturing and supply of the prototype NORSCAND(TM) cells – and ultimately industrialization of the cells - rests with PERMASCAND. The design and engineering of a pilot test facility for the prototype cells - pursuant to a test and evaluation campaign - is NORAM’s responsibility. Commissioning of the pilot plant, and testing of the cells will be carried out under NORAM’s supervision.
Acronym: 
NORSCAND
Project ID: 
9 931
Start date: 
01-06-2015
Project Duration: 
19months
Project costs: 
480 000.00€
Technological Area: 
OTHER INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES
Market Area: 
Industrial Equipment and Machinery

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