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High Temperature Material Supply Chain

NETL’s High Performance Materials Program invests in the nation’s 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.

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 can remain controlled. The program is helping develop a robust domestic supply chain to secure high efficiency fossil energy for decades to come.

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.

Life Cycle of coalFossil energy power plants can operate at four tiers of high temperature:

  • Subcritical: up to 374 °C
  • Supercritical (SC): from 375 to 566 °C
  • Ultra-Supercritical (USC): from 567 to 760 °C
  • Advanced Ultra Supercritical (AUSC): above 760 °C

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. But, efficiencies suffer at lower temperatures.

Investing in a domestic high temperature materials supply chain for USC and AUSC power plants results in lower cost, higher quality components and boosts the nation’s manufacturing economy.

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 so that domestic industry can commercially offer AUSC power plant technology. Key tasks include final manufacturing trials and cost estimation. To complete this project, EIO works with various industry partners such as EPRI, GE, PCC, Haynes International and MetalTek.

NETL leads a national laboratory consortium called 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. These computational tools will be leveraged to develop cheaper alloys for high-temperature steam cycles and supercritical CO2 power cycles.

Furnace Sparkscompressings materials