In order to improve the thermal efficiency of steam turbines and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by fossil-energy power plants, steam temperatures and pressures in ultra-supercritical steam turbines must be increased to 760 degrees Celsius (°C) and 35 megapascals (MPa), respectively.
The elevated temperature results in the development of a critical issue related to the creep strength—or ability to withstand temperature and strain induced deformation leading to failure—of current ferritic steels. This project will address this issue by targeting the development of computational tools to design and optimize ferritic superalloys. These tools will be used to measure microstructural characteristics of selected alloys to quantify the links among materials processing, microstructures, material properties, and performance. The information generated through utilizing these tools will allow researchers to gain an understanding of creep behavior in these high-temperature alloys.
The Advanced Research Materials Program addresses materials requirements for all fossil energy systems, including materials for advanced power generation technologies, such as coal gasification, heat engines, such as turbines, combustion systems, fuel cells, carbon capture technologies, and coal fuels technologies. The program is led by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) within the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It is implemented through research and development agreements with other national laboratories, industry, and academia.
The program strategy is to provide a materials technology base to assure the success of advanced power generation systems being pursued by DOE-FE. These systems, including advanced ultra-supercritical combustion systems, integrated gasification combined cycle plants, fuel cells, gas turbines, and carbon capture and storage technology, are being developed to fulfill the DOE’s mission to achieve near-zero emissions for power generation. The foundation of this technology, centered in high-temperature materials research, includes the development of new materials that have the potential to improve the performance and/or reduce the cost of existing fossil fuel technologies; development of materials for new systems and capabilities; development of a technology base in the synthesis processing life cycle analysis; and performance characterization of advanced materials.
In accordance with this goal, NETL is working with the University of Tennessee, Northwestern University, and the University of California, Berkeley, on the advancement of computational capabilities for the development of materials for the next generation FE power systems.
NETL is developing a technology base for the highly efficient, near-zero-emissions power plants of tomorrow. This project will make progress toward providing improved materials and computational modeling of these materials to allow for future implementation in fossil energy conversion technologies. These enhanced ferritic alloys and a better understanding of their creep behavior will enable a higher standard of fossil energy conversion to be realized, which will provide an overall higher energy output.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of this project is to develop computational tools required to design and optimize ferritic superalloys needed for fossil-energy power plants to operate at advanced steam turbine operating conditions.
The following objectives will be completed:
- Develop and integrate modern computational tools and algorithms required to assist in the optimization of creep properties of high-temperature alloys for fossil energy applications.
- Achieve a fundamental understanding of the processing-microstructure-property-performance links underlying the creep behavior of novel ferritic superalloys strengthened by intermetallics.
- Integrate tools and methods associated with predictive first-principles calculations, computational thermodynamic and kinetic modeling, and mesoscale dislocation-dynamics simulations.
- Validate computational results by measuring specific microstructural attributes in representative model ferritic superalloys with a hierarchical microstructure, where the iron-based disordered matrix is strengthened by one or two ordered precipitate(s).
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