The AE system was conceived and developed throughout the research and development process from a systems perspective, with every step focused on system optimization. Always considered, in addition to the unequaled performance features of the system, were simple, practical designs for eventual low cost mass production. An example was the decision not to use any precious or expensive materials, a risky tradeoff which achieves higher technical performance at the bench, but then requires redesigns and innovations later to drive costs down.
The goal of these innovations, a system design ideally suited to well-established manufacturing and assembly processes, is a central feature of TMI’s hub and spoke business model. As TMI proceeds through the demonstration phase, this design, less complex than many major appliances, provides the option to collaborate with many capable, high capacity, low cost manufacturers such as auto and appliance producers with fixed assets and workforce cultures already in place. This facilitates rapid iteration of manufacturing process improvements.
TMI anticipates harvesting product improvements from each successive generation of demonstration units that will be placed in a wide variety of applications. By engaging at this stage with its manufacturing partners, who know manufacturing processes, TMI expects to realize a manufacturing trajectory that reduces costs per se, and equally important, minimizes capital outlays that would be necessary if TMI were to choose an in-house “greenfield” approach.
TMI is currently seeking partners for all aspects of its systems and subsystems manufacturing, including for engineering modifications required in balance of plant components to ensure operation in the 24/7 duty cycles required by fuel cell systems.
*1st known in the world
**On-site at Lockheed Martin