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High Temperature Material Supply Chain



NETL’s High Performance Materials Program invests in the materials manufacturing supply chain to ensure that fossil energy power industries have the tools necessary to continue supplying reliable and secure electricity. This critical supply chain creates economic wealth and jobs for the U.S. while enabling power generation with enhanced efficiency and environmental footprint.

Most of the existing fleet was not designed for the level of cycling commonly seen in today’s fleet. Inspection, repair, and upgrading of components is currently performed by commercial service providers, although barriers exist to wide-scale deployment of best-in-class technologies, and opportunities exist to expand innovative materials-centric offerings. This is where the High Temperature Material Supply Chain aims to operate.

Higher operating temperatures make fossil energy power generation more efficient. However, higher temperatures generally degrade standard components at a faster rate, which leads to costly corrosion and maintenance issues. By developing a High Temperature Material Supply Chain, costs remain controlled.

Numerous components of a fossil energy power plant can benefit from high temperature materials used for boilers, turbines and superheater systems. High temperature materials that lead to higher efficiencies, longer lifetimes, improved performance and lower emissions require large, upfront investment.

Fossil energy power plants can operate at four tiers of high temperature:

  • Subcritical: up to 374 °C, below 220 bar
  • Supercritical (SC): from 375 to 566 °C, above 220 bar
  • Ultra-Supercritical (USC): from 567 to 700 °C, above 220 bar
  • Advanced Ultra Supercritical (AUSC): above 700 °C, above 220 bar

Each tier comes with its own unique challenges relative to materials requirements. The lower the temperature, the less extreme the environment, resulting in cheaper materials that are easier to forge, cast, extrude or roll. However, efficiencies suffer at lower temperatures.

Left: AUSC superheater assembly. Right: Nozzle carrier casting.
Left: AUSC superheater assembly. Right: Nozzle carrier casting.

The High Performance Materials Program invests in dozens of projects relating to the development of USC and AUSC materials. Two large projects that are focused on the development of a high temperature materials supply chain are the Component Test Facility (ComTest) and Extreme Environment Materials (ExtremEmat). Energy Industries of Ohio (EIO) leads the ComTest project, which has a goal of advancing materials Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) so that domestic industry can commercially offer AUSC power plant technology. Key tasks include final manufacturing trials and cost estimation.

NETL leads the national laboratory consortium, ExtremEmat, that is dedicated to changing the paradigm on how materials are conceived and developed. The consortium, using the unique capabilities of several of the DOE’s national laboratories, is designing a new generation of computational and experimental validation toolsets that accelerate the discovery, scale-up and manufacture of advanced energy materials that are capable of long-life and affordable, harsh environment operation.

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