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October 5th, 2012

Ceramics and glass business news of the week

Published on October 5th, 2012 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Here is what we are hearing:

Tam Ceramics expands its custom materials processing and recycling program

Tam Ceramics recently announced it has expanded its material processing and recycling services, and has made additional investments in dedicated calcining, crushing, milling and sizing equipment. Discrete circuits and additional classification capabilities help ensure the quality and efficiency needed to economically reclaim the value in materials such as used bricks and shapes, production waste streams and obsolete inventory. In addition, Tam Ceramics has recommissioned and renovated its 3-phase electric arc fusion furnace to re-melt and refine materials, often producing usable powder to be reintroduced to the supply chain, reducing the demand for virgin minerals. Tam Ceramics has a long history of producing zirconias, titanates, and other high-purity ceramic powders for a variety of applications and markets. Recent price spikes in minerals and raw materials for all primary metal and glass industries have forced companies to find novel ways to reduce overall cost and eliminate waste in their production stream. Tam’s recent expansion is targeted at partnering with current customers to lower overall product cost. It is also broadening the types of ceramic materials utilized, the processing options and the addressable markets to reclaim these vital resources

MTC Wesgo Metals achieves coveted AS9100C certification

Morgan Technical Ceramics Wesgo Metals has achieved the coveted AS9100:2009 Revision C certification, the most advanced quality management system for the aviation, space and defense industries. Known as a global leader in brazing services, MTC Wesgo Metals focuses on value-added solutions for precious and nonprecious alloy manufacturing, active brazing technology (including turnkey braze services) and pre-sintered preform products. The certification means that its products will be listed on OASIS, the International Aerospace Quality Group’s Online Aerospace Supplier Information System, widely used by major ASD manufacturers for purchasing goods and services.
MTC Wesgo Metals achieved the certification following a rigorous formal audit by BSI, a leading global independent organization providing standard-based services in more than 140 countries. The audit reviewed MTC Wesgo Metals practices and confirmed that its quality management system met the requirements of the standard. The review included such areas as risk management, analysis and mitigation, project management and customer satisfaction.

China’s Hanergy to buy solar startup MiaSole in fire sale

(GigaOm) The search for a financial suitor is coming to an end for solar thin film startup, MiaSole, which has agreed to be bought by China-based Hanergy, according to a shareholder letter. Hanergy plans to buy MiaSole for a measly $30 million, according to the letter, and also reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. While the Silicon Valley solar company has been mum about how much venture capital it’s raised since its inception in 2001, published reports have put the figure somewhere between $400 million and $500 million by the end of 2011. Earlier this year, the company raised $55 million. MiaSole was desperate for a white knight to rescue it from oblivion. After years of research and development, the company seemed to have finally nailed its manufacturing process to making solar panels out of copper, indium gallium and selenium that are more efficient than many rivaling CIGS thin film companies.

European field trials for residential fuel cell micro-CHP kick off

Today was the kick off meeting of the ene.field project that brings together nine European micro fuel cell-combined heat and power manufacturers who will deliver trials across in 12 EU Member States. The project will deploy approximately 1,000 residential installations, establish the macro-economics and CO2 savings of the technologies in the European markets, and assess the socio-economic barriers to widespread deployment of micro FC-CHP. To achieve its target of 20 percent energy savings by 2020, the EU needs to step up its efforts on energy efficiency, in particular with regard to the residential sector, which accounts for 27 percent of total EU energy consumption. New properties can be designed and built to integrate a range of low-energy technologies, but for existing properties heat demand remains high and the ability to retro-fit many renewable technologies is physically limited. For much of the existing housing stock micro-CHP is therefore the next generation solution, with micro FC-CHP as the next technology step for this sector.

Denso develops lithium-ion battery pack for stop/start system

Denso Cor.es with stop/start systems. The new battery pack allows the stop/start system to use more regenerative power than current conventional systems that use a single lead-acid battery. It consists of a battery management unit and power supply control switch, as well as battery cells that are provided by a third-party source. The new Li-ion battery pack stores regenerated power and then supplies the stored regenerated power to the electrical and electronic components, such as the car navigation and audio systems. This reduces the power generation required by the alternator, which results in an overall load reduction on the engine and improves the vehicle’s fuel economy.

FuelCell Energy team awarded $6.0M contract to continue development of stationary SOFC power plants to demonstrate 60 KW module

FuelCell Energy Inc., a global leader in the design, manufacture and service of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants, today announced a $6.0 million cost share award from the DOE to continue existing research and development under phase III of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance coal-based systems program. The SECA program is a collaboration between the federal government, private industry and academia to develop megawatt-class solid oxide fuel cell power plants to efficiently and cleanly generate electricity from coal syngas. High efficiency power generation from coal syngas advances the nation’s energy security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As the program progresses to long term operation with coal syngas, near term applications using natural gas in combined heat and power applications is also a focus. The term of the award is 12 months and under the SECA program’s cost share parameters, the DOE will fund 70 percent of the total award amount or $4.2 million. The objective is to further enhance the performance and endurance of the SOFC stack through continued cell materials research and testing of a 60 kilowatt power plant connected to the electric grid at FuelCell Energy’s Danbury, Conn., facility with extended capabilities for combined heat and power applications. The power plant utilizes the SOFC fuel cell stack blocks manufactured by Versa Power Systems Inc.

Abakan closes $1M loan to complete its first full-scale clad pipe manufacturing facility

Abakan Inc. announced that its subsidiary, MesoCoat Inc., has closed a low-interest $1 million loan under the State of Ohio’s Innovation Ohio Loan Fund which allows MesoCoat to complete construction and equipment installation of its first full-scale clad pipe manufacturing facility in Ohio. Abakan expects the construction and installation to be completed in December 2012, and after two months of production trial runs, this facility should begin commercial production in March 2013. Unlike Abakan’s planned 4-line clad pipe production facilities in Brazil, Canada and Middle East that have production capabilities of 120 kilometers of clad pipe annually, this first facility in Ohio would be a 1-line clad pipe demonstration and low-rate initial production facility. Design production capacity for the Ohio plant is 25-30 kilometers equivalent of clad pipe per year, or $60-80 million in revenues, but actual production will be lower as the plant is partially dedicated to production qualification and short run orders supporting the full production plants planned for 2013/2014 operations.

Lafarge to sell Missouri and Oklahoma plants

(International Construction) Lafarge has announced the sale of several cement plants, ready-mixed concrete businesses and aggregates facilities in Missouri and Oklahoma to Eagle Materials Inc for $446 million. The assets include cement plants in Kansas City and Tulss with a total capacity of 1.6 million tond, along with six associated cement terminals. It is also selling its eight ready-mixed concrete plants and two quarries in Kansas City, along with a fly-ash business. As part of the deal, Eagle will supply certain other Lafarge operations with cement for four to five years and will buy fuels for the acquired operations from a Lafarge affiliate. Lafarge said it remained committed to the US market, and that after the sale it would still have nine cement and grinding plants in the US, with a total capacity of 9 million tons, as well as aggregates and concrete businesses.


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