High Performance Materials

The environment inside a slagging gasifier is one of the worst imaginable from a materials standpoint. Another extreme environment occurs inside an ultrasupercritical (USC) pulverized coal power plant.

Inside a slagging gasifier the basic process involves a carbon/water slurry mixing with oxygen in a gasification chamber to form syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen) and slag. While that may sound tame enough, extremely high temperatures that cycle from 1325 °C to 1600 °C and back again place an enormous strain on the system. The materials used must not only withstand these temperatures, but they also must avoid cracking during the expansion and contraction that occurs when they repeatedly heat up and cool down. Add to this a corrosive atmosphere that is oxidizing on start-up and reducing during operation, corrosive slags and gases of variable chemistry, and pressures greater than 400 psi, and you have a real materials challenge-the kind that the Advanced Research Materials Development group at NETL tackles routinely. These areas are identified and described in the Advanced Research Program Roadmap.

  Analyzing Metal Alloys
  Bret Howard, a research chemist in the Research & Innovation Center at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, analyzes metal alloys used in hydrogen membrane research with the X-ray diffractometer in ORD’s Chemistry and Surface Science Division.

To meet a challenge such as this, scientists and engineers both onsite and at university and industrial laboratories around the country are engaged in investigations that cut across many scientific and technological disciplines to address materials requirements for all fossil energy systems, including innovative advanced power systems. Their goal is to bridge the gap between basic and applied research, often by pursuing “breakthrough” concepts based on mechanistic understanding from any discipline to develop materials with unique thermal, chemical, and mechanical capabilities. These efforts involve:

  1. Development of a technology base in the synthesis, processing, life-cycle analysis, and performance characterization of advanced materials.
  2. Development of new materials that have the potential to improve the performance and/or reduce the cost of existing fossil fuel technologies.
  3. Development of materials for new energy systems and capabilities.

The success of these research and development projects is a key element in providing energy options to the Nation.

One such NETL success involves Chrome Oxide Refractory.

For more information visit: Onsite Research - Materials Performance