INFINIUM Inc.

Natick, MA, United States

INFINIUM Inc.

Natick, MA, United States
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Patent
INFINIUM Inc. | Date: 2013-06-10

Electrowinning methods and apparatus are suitable for producing elemental deposits of high quality, purity, and volume. Respective cathodes are used during electrowinning for bearing the elemental product, segregating impurities, dissolving morphologically undesirable material, and augmenting productivity. Silicon suitable for use in photovoltaic devices may be electrodeposited in solid form from silicon dioxide dissolved in a molten salt.


In some aspects, the invention relates to apparatuses and methods for connecting a liquid first metal cathode to a current source of an electrolytic cell comprising a conduit having a first and second end, liquid first metal disposed at the first end of the conduit, a solid first metal disposed at the second end of the conduit, and a solid conductor portion in electrical contact with the solid first metal.


Patent
INFINIUM Inc. | Date: 2013-10-04

An apparatus for condensing metal vapors has at least one inlet conduit that is cooled to cause a portion of the metal vapor to condense to liquid. The apparatus also has a holding tank that is connected to the inlet conduit that collects condensed liquid metal. The apparatus also has at least one outlet conduit connected to the holding tank that is cooled to cause a portion of the remaining metal vapor to condense to solid metal. The apparatus also has at least one heater that heats the at least one outlet conduit to cause the solid metal to melt to liquid metal and subsequently flow in to the holding tank. The apparatus also has at least one sealing mechanism located at a distal end of the at least one outlet conduit for preventing metal vapor and carrier gas from exiting the outlet conduit during heating of the outlet conduit.


Patent
INFINIUM Inc. | Date: 2014-07-08

In some aspects, the invention relates to apparatuses for recovering a metal comprising providing a sealed container for holding a molten electrolyte, the container having an interior surface; a liner disposed along at least a portion of the interior container surface; a cathode disposed to be in electrical contact with the molten electrolyte when the molten electrolyte is disposed in the container; a solid oxygen ion-conducting membrane disposed to be in ion-conducting contact with the electrolyte when the molten electrolyte is disposed in the container; an anode in contact with the solid oxygen ion-conducting membrane, the solid oxygen ion-conducting membrane electrically separating the anode from the molten electrolyte; and a power source for generating an electric potential between the anode and the cathode.


Patent
INFINIUM Inc. | Date: 2014-06-12

Methods separates a gas comprising providing a first electrode in ion-conducting contact with an electrolyte, providing a second electrode in ion-conducting contact with the electrolyte, wherein the second electrode comprises a liquid metal, providing a displacing material comprising a first surface in contact with the second electrode and a second surface exposed to an environment outside the second electrode, wherein said material permits flow of gas and impedes flow of liquid metal, and establishing a potential between the first and second electrodes, whereby gas flows toward the liquid metal. Other aspects include methods and apparatuses comprising electrodes, electrolytes and displacing materials.


Trademark
INFINIUM Inc. | Date: 2016-06-20

Machinery for metal production. Metal purification services; metal reclamation services.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 732.04K | Year: 2010

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project aims to develop a new method for primary production of magnesium from its oxide ore using Solid Oxide Membrane Electrolysis. Unlike other primary metal processes, this approach emits no direct CO2, has no chlorine, and is fully continuous and automated. Published third party cost modeling has indicated that its costs are lower than all existing and proposed new processes. Building on an earlier feasibility demonstration using experiments and mathematical and cost modeling to show that the approach can produce oxygen as well as magnesium at high current efficiency and at costs close to the published cost model, this Phase II project will develop new anode tubes to further reduce energy costs, and build and test the first self-heating electrolysis cell. If successful, the self-heating cell will not require energy beyond that needed for electrolysis and will be the smallest possible pre-production modular unit capable of producing magnesium.

The broader/commercial impact of this project begins with substantial reduction of the cost and environmental impact of magnesium metal production. Magnesium is the lowest-density engineering metal and third most abundant metal in the earths crust, and its stiffness-to-weight, castability, and recyclability make it the best material for motor vehicle weight reduction. Automobile makers are seeking to increase the magnesium alloy content of vehicles from 10-15 lbs/vehicle to 350 lbs/vehicle by 2020, replacing 650 lbs/vehicle of steel and aluminum parts. This will increase fleet fuel economy by 1.5-2 miles per gallon, reducing annual petroleum import expenditures by about $20 billion. If successful, this project will address the biggest barrier to widespread magnesium use in vehicles, which is its price stability and availability. This could lead to a new magnesium economy taking full advantage of its light weight and ease of manufacturing in products from cellphones to laptops to trucks. With broader usage, the versatile process resulting from this development project can likely reduce the cost and environmental impact of reducing metal oxides, leading to a new industrial ecology of primary metals production.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is to reduce the cost, and improve commercialization prospects, for new light-weight scandium-containing alloys with extraordinary strength, weldability, fitness for 3-D printing, and new shape memory and other properties. At $3500-4000/kg (6-7 times the price of silver), the price of scandium metal is more than twice the metals-basis price of its oxide, which is about $1800/kg. This has deterred commercial deployment of new alloys beyond small-scale laboratory demonstrations. As new scandium oxide mines and production facilities around the world boost production from just 10-15 tonnes per year (TPY) to several hundred tons per annum in the next 5-10 years, this will reduce the cost of the oxide. The new high-yield technology supported by this award aims to dramatically reduce the cost of converting oxide to metal, bridging the gap to make alloys with scandium more viable for high-performance applications. This in turn will enable new light-weight high-performance alloys to replace steel and titanium, dramatically reducing the weight of aerospace parts while improving strength. The technical objectives in this Phase I research project are to demonstrate feasibility at laboratory scale of key unit operations of a brand new production process for pure scandium metal production from its oxide. Because Scandium oxide is the most stable oxide in the periodic table, reduction to the metal first requires reaction with hydrofluoric acid (HF) at 700C to produce scandium fluoride, then metallothermic reduction using calcium metal at 1600C in a welded refractory metal retort (usually tantalum). Calcium metal is a contaminant which must be removed by distillation. These operations result in a price of scandium metal at $3500-4000/kg, which is more than twice the metals-basis cost of its oxide ($1200/kg Scandium oxide leads to $1840/kg Sc). The new process funded by this award will avoid any use of HF, making it safer and less costly. It will retain very close to 100% of the scandium and other reagents in a tight closed-loop system, reducing emissions and costs. If successful with scandium, this method will readily apply to heavy rare earth and metals such as gadolinium, dysprosium and yttrium.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is to reduce the cost, and improve commercialization prospects, for new light-weight scandium-containing alloys with extraordinary strength, weldability, fitness for 3-D printing, and new shape memory and other properties. At $3500-4000/kg (6-7 times the price of silver), the price of scandium metal is more than twice the metals-basis price of its oxide, which is about $1800/kg. This has deterred commercial deployment of new alloys beyond small-scale laboratory demonstrations. As new scandium oxide mines and production facilities around the world boost production from just 10-15 tonnes per year (TPY) to several hundred tons per annum in the next 5-10 years, this will reduce the cost of the oxide. The new high-yield technology supported by this award aims to dramatically reduce the cost of converting oxide to metal, bridging the gap to make alloys with scandium more viable for high-performance applications. This in turn will enable new light-weight high-performance alloys to replace steel and titanium, dramatically reducing the weight of aerospace parts while improving strength.

The technical objectives in this Phase I research project are to demonstrate feasibility at laboratory scale of key unit operations of a brand new production process for pure scandium metal production from its oxide. Because Scandium oxide is the most stable oxide in the periodic table, reduction to the metal first requires reaction with hydrofluoric acid (HF) at 700C to produce scandium fluoride, then metallothermic reduction using calcium metal at 1600C in a welded refractory metal retort (usually tantalum). Calcium metal is a contaminant which must be removed by distillation. These operations result in a price of scandium metal at $3500-4000/kg, which is more than twice the metals-basis cost of its oxide ($1200/kg Scandium oxide leads to $1840/kg Sc). The new process funded by this award will avoid any use of HF, making it safer and less costly. It will retain very close to 100% of the scandium and other reagents in a tight closed-loop system, reducing emissions and costs. If successful with scandium, this method will readily apply to heavy rare earth and metals such as gadolinium, dysprosium and yttrium.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 501.99K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will continue the commercial development of the Liquid Tin Anode Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (LTA-SOFC) for direct conversion of biomass to electrical power. The LTA-SOFC is a transformational energy technology that dramatically increases the efficiency and simplicity of power generation from conventional fuels. In biopower, the LTA-SOFC provides a pathway to improve efficiency and capital cost and also enables smaller scale applications. Phase I successfully demonstrated the feasibility of direct biomass conversion to power, using biomass feed stocks which can have significant societal, environmental and economic impacts. Specifically in Phase I several different types of biomass including poplar and switchgrass were used to generate power in an actual LTA-SOFC cell. Post-test analysis indicated no ash fusion and near 100% fuel utilization (little residual carbon left). The Phase II effort will continue development of biopower applications for LTA-SOFC by demonstrating biomass fuel efficiency in a small stack assembly with continuous feeding. Also, evaluation of the fate of biomass-specific volatile components such as potassium will contribute to the understanding of LTA-SOFC longevity. Phase II will demonstrate additional LTA-SOFC biopower technical performance to reduce risk and increase the potential for commercialization of LTA-SOFC biopower.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be increased use of renewable power. Currently biomass contributes only 1% of U.S. electric power despite available resources to provide over 20%. Increased use of biomass for electric power will reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security and create domestic jobs. Efficiencies lower than 20% and high capital cost of today?s technology make conventional biomass power about twice as expensive as coal limiting market penetration to about 1%. LTA-SOFC Direct Biomass generators will reduce the cost of power and lower capital cost while reducing emissions and feedstock consumption by 2-3 times. The EIA predicts that by 2030, biomass will generate 4.5% of U.S electricity, representing an available market for LTA-SOFC of about $30 billion. The LTA-SOFC commercialization strategy starts with small devices. Growth into commercial markets will provide the maturity required for more demanding biomass power markets. In the biopower area military users have powerful adoption incentive that will encourage them to become early adopters. The US defense establishment has a goal to use renewable energy for 25% of the facility electrical consumption by 2025. This SBIR will reduce technical risk, providing confidence for integrator partners to co-invest in commercialization of LTA-SOFC biomass generators.

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