CCS and Power Systems

Crosscutting Research - University Training and Research

Investigation of WO3-based H2S Sensor Materials for Coal Gasification Systems

Project No: NT0008022

Program Background and Project Benefits

Novel sensors and advanced process controls are key enabling technologies for future high efficiency, near-zero-emission power systems. The Crosscutting Research Program of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is leading the effort to develop sensing and control technologies and methods to achieve seamlessly integrated, automated, optimized, and intelligent power systems. The performance of advanced power systems is limited by the lack of low-cost sensors capable of withstanding high temperature and pressure conditions and adaptive system controls that can manage inherent complexities of the advanced power systems. Harsh environments are created in new systems to achieve high efficiency with low emissions. In addition, these systems are complex, with operational constraints and system integration challenges that push the limits of traditional process controls. As research and development enhances the understanding of these evolving advanced power systems, robust sensing approaches using durable materials and highly automated process controls are needed to optimize their operation and performance. New sensor designs will be subject to requirements of packaging for survivability, accuracy, low power consumption, portability, connectivity, and ease of manufacture, installation, and use.

Continuing the long-standing minority university research program with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) and in alignment with the Crosscutting Research Materials Program goals, NETL is partnering with the University of Texas at El Paso to investigate tungsten oxide (WO3)-based hydrogen sulfide (H2S) sensor materials for coal gasification systems.

This project will deliver technical improvements to overcome the existing barriers to improving H2S sensors. In addition, a knowledge database will be created to address future issues relevant to this NETL HBCU project in support of the Crosscutting Research Materials Program’s Sensors and Controls area.

Goal and Objectives

The goal of the project is to develop high-quality new sensor materials for achieving improved response time and controlled microstructure for long-term stability, and to narrow particle-size distribution for improved sensor characteristics and performance. Objectives include identifying methods to enhance the so-called 3S criteria—sensitivity, selectivity, and stability—by controlling the structure and properties of these materials at nanometer dimensions; investigating the H2S detection selectivity, sensitivity, and stability of undoped and titanium-doped WO3; and investigating the surface functionalization and stabilization of WO3 by metals such as gold and aluminum for use in H2S sensors. Sensors will be studied at moderate concentrations of H2S (nominally 5–100 parts per million H2S in nitrogen) using parameters that simulate a real environment with service temperatures of approximately 200–600 degrees Celsius.

Project Details