Innovative Energy Concepts

Innovative Energy Concepts

Advanced power generation concepts such as direct power extraction, pressure-gain combustion, supercritical CO2 cycles, and other innovative ideas have the potential to increase the efficiency and offset the penalty associated with capturing CO2 from power generation from fossil fuels. Although these innovative energy concepts (IECs) have significant potential advantages, practical development is stymied by uncertain component performance, the need for new materials, or simply the cost of development. The goal of the IEC is to utilize validated, computational simulations that can predict performance of these IECs to identify gaps in simulations and technology and guide development and accelerate the deployment of IEC technologies.

Comparison of (A) conventional power generation via a turbogenerator and (B) direct power extraction via a technique such as MDH

The Innovative Energy Concepts task will assess advanced concepts—magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), pressure gain combustion, and Ultra Super Critical (USC) CO2 power cycle— using validated simulations, to accelerate the deployment of these potentially transformational systems. Advanced CFD coupled with targeted validation experiments will assess the technologies and identify gaps in simulations tools.

Computational Materials

Advanced carbon capture and storage power systems will require cost-effective materials for a variety of fossil energy applications. Complex materials structures (e.g., multi-component or multi-phase materials) offer distinct advantages over single-component or single-phase materials. The properties of complex structures can be tailored or tuned by the appropriate combination and distribution of elements, constituents, or phases. However, most development efforts for complex systems are Edisonian in nature, due to the lack of predictive models and simulations for these systems. Thus, a predictive multi-scale computational framework will be fostered to guide the development of these advanced materials. The proposed effort will integrate multi-scale computational approaches with focused validation experiments. The computational tool sets developed through this research will assist in accelerating the design, development and deployment of materials for advanced Fossil Energy (FE) and other extreme environment applications.

Integrated multi-scale computational approach with focused validation experiments for accelerating the development and deployment of advanced materials

The Computational Materials task will demonstrate a discovery and design methodology that is generally applicable to materials needed for advanced FE systems. The goal is to develop a validation computational framework that facilitates the design and development of materials by elucidating chemical and mechanical properties at conditions and time scales consistent with application. The computational tools developed through this research will assist in accelerating the design, development and deployment of materials for FE applications. Research is focused on developing computational frameworks to: (i) predict alloy oxidation behavior in a variety of relevant environments (O2,H2,H2O and CO2) - initial focus is on predicting alloy composition necessary for the formation of passive (protective) surfaces in Ni-Fe-Al alloys; (ii) predict microstructural stability – and therefore materials properties and performance – under relevant time scales for alloys under consideration for application in advanced FE systems,

Phase field simulation for microstructural evolution in alloys. This simulation is for the effect of alloying element on the coarsening of gamma prime phase in the nickel base superalloy Haynes 282.

including A-USC power plants; and (iii) aid in Electroslag Remelting (ESR) melt processing of alloys under consideration for advanced FE systems, including A-USC power plants, by establishing the thermodynamics of ESR melting and developing a thermodynamic data base for oxide and fluoride slag components used in ESR melting of Ni-alloys.

Power Electronics and Energetic Materials

The Power Electronics and Energetic Materials task will develop and demonstrate at laboratory scale an integrated electrochemical (anode-electrolyte-cathode) architecture with performance characteristics suitable for grid-scale power electronics and energy storage technologies. The task will continue development of a magnesium- (Mg) based battery system.

NETL-RUA Developed novel organo-metal (OM) based non-aqueous electrolyte wherein reversible Mg/Mg2+ deposition/dissolution observed within the electrochemical potential window of ~ 3V.

Impacts and Benefits

The following impacts are possible through this proposed research.

  • Investigation of new materials for sensors, including nanocomposite thin films, or graphene films, may permit high-temperature gas speciation that is needed for future power plant operation, or lower cost energy harvesting for wireless sensors and other applications.
  • A novel, environmentally benign Mg-based battery architecture with performance characteristics that are potentially superior in terms of economics and performance compared to NaS and Zebra batteries for grid scale applications.
  • Determination of the performance potential of innovative concepts like pressure-gain combustion and direct power extraction. Results will define the technical barriers that must be addressed to produce the desired benefits of the technology. Validation data is needed to insure that predicted performance is correct.
  • Databank of phase stability and physical properties for oxide, fluoride and mixed oxide-fluoride slags suitable refining and improving ESR melt processing.


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