National Laboratory Used LEVER to Scale Materials for Fuel Cell Design

Nexceris focuses our materials science expertise on creating innovative products that improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of energy and environmental systems. As we work with our partners, Nexceris utilizes our proven collaboration process – LEVER. The LEVER process utilizes our partners’ technology and Nexceris’ expertise to allow for faster advancement to commercialization. Nexceris has a long history of taking research concepts and translating them to demonstration product concepts on lab-scale equipment before moving to industrial quantities. We never lose sight of your customers’ ultimate goal of achieving productization at volume and keep volume manufacturing in mind to develop scalable processes.

The Situation:

A researcher at a National Laboratory needed to acquire powders and inks to fabricate solid oxide fuel cells. The powders and inks provided a baseline to test against, allowing the researchers to play with process parameters to test the value performance and identify material combinations that were performing the best.

Materials were tested to understand major degradation mechanisms to allow for better understanding of long-term durability for large-scale materials. The goal of the project was to develop new material compositions with minimal or no degradation, that would yield sufficient fuel cell performance and durability to be licensed and sold to a large industrial partner/manufacturer.

LEVER In Action:

We applied our LEVER process of: Learning, Estimating, Validating, Enhancing, and providing Results. See how we collaborated below:


Nexceris took the time to learn about the Laboratory’s experiments, operating conditions, intention of the products they were developing and asked other technical questions to allow them to understand the necessary specifications.


The Laboratory needed to scale the materials from small batches to kilograms of powder. Therefore, quickly and inexpensively proving the materials’ performance at a larger scale was imperative. The Laboratory was working on a new fuel cell design and a technology transfer was needed to ensure success. The Laboratory developed documentation for the technology transfer and Nexceris ensured that the material set and procedures were reproducible and the product was accurate when scaled up


Nexceris was able to work with the Laboratory to view the materials’ development in action and tweak important properties in the moment, during those intermediate steps, rather than wasting time and resources making adjustments after the process was complete. While the Laboratory originally developed the materials at a smaller scale, Nexceris was able to revalidate and compare the work at their in-house labs to ensure the successful transfer of technology before scaling up production.


Nexceris was able to enhance and add value to the Laboratory by providing expertise, unparalleled guidance throughout the process, as well as access to expensive equipment and technology to run tests that the Laboratory itself was lacking without a partner like Nexceris. While researchers at the Laboratory understood the science and engineering behind the materials and technology development, Nexceris understood the business aspect and how to bring a product to market. Nexceris was able to make recommendations on scale-up efforts and provide product-driven feedback to the Laboratory on future development of the technology. Nexceris provided the bridge between technology and the actual product.


An industrial partner was looking to scale the Laboratory’s technology for a commercial product and reduce carbon emissions and promote themselves as a cleaner energy company. Through Nexceris’ validation and guidance, the Laboratory was able to scale the validated product and have it verified by the industrial partner. The industrial partner was pleased with the scaled technology and provided additional funding and continues to collaborate with the Laboratory and Nexceris.