CCS and Power Systems
Crosscutting Research - Plant Optimization Technologies
Improved Atomization Processing for Fossil Energy Applications
Performer: Ames National Laboratory
Project No: FWP-AL-99-501-032
Program Background and Project Benefits
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) sponsors the development of innovative, cost-effective technologies for improving the efficiency and environmental performance of advanced power systems. These emerging technologies require development of high-performance materials that can withstand demanding high-temperature, high-pressure, and often corrosive environments. Power system components made with materials that perform well in high temperatures may be coated by thermal spraying with high-melting point alloys that withstand oxidation and corrosion. The manufacturing process that is most suitable for the complex, high-melting-point alloys for these emerging technologies is gas atomization, especially with the use of a close-coupled nozzle.
These nozzles have potential for improvements in efficiency and process control; however, most industrial gas atomization practitioners have not pursued the develop-ments needed to reliably produce specific class sizes of metal powders. Rather, sieves and pneumatic separators are used to separate and collect powder with the desired particle size range and the rest is recycled or inventoried, if possible, or scraped. This conventional practice is process and energy intensive, wasteful of materials, and quite costly, thus making it unacceptable for complex alloy compositions without additional markets. NETL is partnering with Ames Laboratory to develop a close-coupled atomization nozzle and control system that can be calibrated to generate liquid droplets in the atomization spray, which then solidify to the specified size range of particles in powders for specific applications.
This project will extend the benefits of powder metallurgy within and beyond the fossil energy field. The ability to harvest high yields of specific sizes of powder particles will significantly lower the costs of specialty metal powders. This will enable their use in such high-performance materials as ODS alloys and open the way to more effective alloy production processes for industries serving the fossil energy market. The resulting alloys will be used in applications including coal gasifier heat exchangers and gas turbine blades. Further development of other metals may be used to fabricate components such as hydrogen separation membranes. These developments will enable more efficient power plants operating with reduced emissions and adaptability to carbon sequestration or capture.