high-efficiency power plant of the 21st century may still be on the utility
industry's drawing boards, but the new high-strength, corrosion resistant alloys that will
make these power plants possible are about to enter the "real life" testing
The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a
contract to McDermott Technology, Inc., Alliance, OH, to test 10 of the most promising of
these alloys in a coal-fired boiler at Ohio Edison's Niles (OH) Power Station.
DOE, through its Federal Energy Technology Center, will
provide $700,000 of a $1.9 million contract for a five-year testing program to identify
candidate materials for tomorrow's advanced boilers. McDermott will head a team made up of
Babcock & Wilcox, Consol of Library, PA, the Ohio Coal Development Office, DOE's Oak
Ridge National Laboratory, and Ohio Edison.
Several of the alloys have been developed in DOE's advanced
materials research program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Researchers now want to see
how well their metallurgical properties, welds and other design characteristics hold up
under increasingly higher temperatures in an actual power plant environment. Some of the
materials are still in the experimental stage, and the testing will identify whether these
alloys are sufficiently promising to warrant further development and ultimately ASME
boiler code certification testing.
The results will be a key step in designing tomorrow's
higher-efficiency, super-critical coal-fired power plants. Super-critical plants create
steam under high pressures that is much hotter than the steam produced by a typical
coal-burning power plant. Boosting steam temperatures raises a power plant's operating
efficiency which, in turn, makes the plant more economical to operate, generates lower
cost electricity, and perhaps most importantly, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
At higher temperatures, however, the metals used in a
boiler's steam tubes are more prone to corrosion caused by hot coal ash depositing on the
At the Niles Power Station, the new, more
corrosion-resistant alloys will be positioned in specially-designed, high-temperature test
rigs between tube bundles called the superheater and reheater that increase the
temperature of steam.
For up to five years, the alloys will be subjected to
temperatures of 1050 degrees F to 1150 degrees F, well above the steam temperatures of
today's standard boilers which typically range from 950 to 1000 degrees F. At the end of
one, three and five years, each rig will be removed and metallurgically evaluated for the
effects of corrosion.
The team will also calculate the expected effect on overall
plant costs using the materials shown by the tests to be the most promising. Using a plant
design based on DOE's advanced low-emission boiler system, analysts will determine overall
power production costs that might be expected from 21st century plants that
incorporate these new, corrosion-resistant alloys.
The project manager for McDermott Technology will be Dennis
McDonald. DOE's involvement will be overseen by its Federal Energy Technology Center, one
of the agency's major field organizations with operations at Pittsburgh, PA., and
-End of TechLine-
For more information, contact:
Robert C. Porter, Office of Fossil Energy, 202-586-6503
Otis Mills, Federal Energy Technology Center, 412-386-5890
Technical information contact:
Richard Read, Federal Energy Technology Center, 412-386-5721