Superior MicroPowders Wins Grant

Superior MicroPowders, LLC has been granted an NIST ATP (National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Technology Program) award to further the development of MEAs for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) for portable power applications such as two-way radios and cell phones.

Albuquerque, New Mexico – July 19, 2002 [] Under this US$3.2M, three-year program, SMP will build upon its long-standing partnerships with Motorola Labs, an industry leader in portable electronics and developer of DMFC technology; Spectra Inc., a leading piezoelectric ink-jet print head manufacturer; and CFDRC, a leading modeling company to develop MEAs for the DMFC market. This award is in addition to a US$3 million NIST ATP program for the development of Elevated-Temperature, Reformate-Tolerant Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells for a total combined level of funding of US$6.2 million. SMP’s NIST award titled “Development of High Volume Digital Manufacturing of Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) for Fuel Cells” is a three-year effort designed to remove significant existing barriers to commercialization including cost prohibitive precious metal loadings and unreliable manufacturing methodologies. SMP’s major program objectives are to develop materials and digital deposition technology, which will reduce precious metal content and enable flexible manufacturing techniques. SMP will use a spray-based process to make electrocatalyst powders that can be deposited by ink-jet printing. These powders will have increased utilization compared to catalysts prepared by traditional methods, increasing catalytic activity thereby reducing the precious metal content and increasing performance. Major upstream partners in this effort include CFDRC, who will develop simulation models to guide the design of MEAs; and Spectra Inc., a leading piezoelectric ink-jet print head manufacturer, who will collaborate in the development of the ink-jet printing systems. The major downstream partner in this effort is Motorola Labs, who will help design the MEAs and integrate them into DMFC systems for testing.