Requirements of the Metalysis–ESA Grand Challenge

In order to win the Grand Challenge first prize or one of midterm prizes sponsored by the UK metallurgic company Metalysis, the competing teams are requested to provide the Evaluation panel with two deliverables: 

At the end of Phase 1, a Project Report detailing the process to be implemented by the participants in order to develop the final Breadboard and its potential functioning;

At the end of Phase 2, the breadboard developed according to the requirements set forth in the Terms and Conditions and Final Project report based on the same structure as the one required for the Deliverable of Phase 1 including the user manual. 

The Breadboard must be compliant with all the applicable requirements described herein and that it shall be immediately operational and applicable to Metalysis Generation 1 electrochemical cells (grams scale). 

The Breadboard must demonstrate:

  1. the ability to be attached to an existing electrochemical cell developed by the Sponsor and to retrieve process related data from the cell;
  2. a total size of the equipment which is applicable to the size of the electrochemical cell, and modular with Sponsor’s technology scale up;
  3. a level of energy consumption which is only marginal to the energy employed by the electrolytic cell;
  4. the ability to detect changes occurring at the cathode during the process including the metallic status of the product.

Cascading, in order of preference, the following alternatives of point (4) may be considered:

  • the ability to provide live information on the salt properties and composition; 
  • the ability to allow in-situ characterisation of the flux of various species generated during the reaction, between the metal formed at the cathode and the molten salt.

The in-process monitoring techniques developed by the Participants in the Challenge should thus fulfil one or preferably more of the objectives listed below in a decreasing order of relevance: 

  • to detect changes occurring at the cathode during the process and to determine the fully metallic status of the product;
  • to provide live information on the salt properties and composition,
  • to allow in-situ characterisation of the flux of various species generated during the reaction, between the metal formed at the cathode and the molten salt. 

The following analysis techniques are considered to be of interest:

  • X-ray diffraction;
  • X-ray fluorescence;
  • raman spectroscopy;
  • infrared spectroscopy;
  • laser spectroscopy;
  • neutron scattering.

Alternative analytical methods which may fulfil the objectives of the Challenge may also be considered.

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