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Fuel Cell Catalyst Process




Commissioning Engineer

End Client: Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited, Bromborough





Project Background



The pre-commissioning work was undertaken for Thermal Transfer Limited (TTL) who installed this semi-production scale facility for CFCL to produce high value catalyst for use in domestic fuel cells. The state of the art technology is proprietary to CFCL, who carried out the final commissioning with reagents.










Summary of Process

Description: Description: CFCL Official Photograph


Courtesy of Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited





Pre-weighed amounts of reagents are charged in to two tanks containing measured amounts of nuclear grade de-ionised water. One tank is charged by gravity from a high level sack tip station. The other is charged using an aero-mechanical conveyor from a ground level sack tip station. Mixers in the tanks ensure homogenous distribution of the material. One of the tanks is electrically heated.

Once prepared, the solutions are transferred to a buffer tank using air driven diaphragm pumps.

Gear pumps feed the solutions at controlled rates from the buffer tanks to a reactor and the reaction products discharge to a holding vessel. A plate heat exchanger provides cooling for one of the feed streams.

All the tanks are connected to an emissions control scrubber and induced draft fans.

The material from this vessel undergoes further proprietary processing to produce high purity nano-powders.

The process is PLC controlled from a local HMI panel.









Specific Responsibilities






  • Hands-on pre-commissioning of wet process, gas scrubbing and peripheral services.
  • Liaison with principle contractor (TTL); its mechanical and electrical installation teams.
  • Co-ordination of line flushing.
  • Liaison with sub-contractors, equipment and instrumentation vendors and vendors commissioning engineers.
  • Induction of site personnel and other site management duties.
  • Co-ordination of other site disciplines: Civils, building services.
  • Equipment installation checks.
  • Instrumentation calibration.
  • Process and instrumentation fault-finding.
  • Completion of snag list for process and building services.
  • Liaison with PLC programmers including trouble-shooting, factory and site acceptance tests.
  • Close liaison with plant management and technologists.
  • Liaison Client’s Project Manager / Engineer.














  • Successful pre-commissioning for a process to produce state of the art fuel cell catalysts.
  • Cost effective remedy for pipe work pulsation.













Unit Operations

Solids weighing.

Aero-mechanical solids conveying.

Sack tip station.

Tank Mixing.

Tank Heating.

Pumping (centrifugal, gear, metering, air driven diaphragm, peristaltic).

Plate heat exchanger (process cooler)


Vent gas scrubbing.

Centrifugal fans.

Reverse jet filtration.

Towns water system.

Reverse osmosis unit.

Air compressor.

Documents Produced

Commissioning Plan.

Pressure test certificates.

Line flushing certificates.

Equipment check certificates.

As built P&IDs.

Materials of Construction

Mainly stainless steel and glass reinforced plastics.


Fuels (natural gas).

Rotating machinery.



TTL Mechanical and Electrical installation teams.

TTL Civil and Structural Engineer.

TTL Building Services.

CFCL Production Management and Technologists.

Client’s Project Engineering Management: Sinclair Knight Merz.

Vendors’ Technical support and commissioning Engineers.