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Projects Selected to Advance Innovative Materials for Fossil Energy Power Systems

Posted Sep 14 2010 7:59am

Washington, D.C. — Four projects that will develop capabilities for designing sophisticated materials that can withstand the harsh environments of advanced fossil energy power systems have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The projects will develop computational capabilities for designing materials with unique thermal, chemical and mechanical properties necessary for withstanding the high temperatures and extreme environments of advanced energy systems. These innovative systems are both fuel efficient and produce lower amounts of emissions, including carbon dioxide for permanent storage.

An effective way to accelerate research is to use advances in materials simulations and high performance computing and communications to guide experiments. Concurrent with the continuing drive to reduce costs and design cycle time in the manufacture of power plant equipment is an increase in the need for more materials property data demonstrating sufficient performance.

The total value of the four projects is approximately $5.1 million over three years, with $4.1 million of DOE funding and $1 million of non-Federal cost sharing. The work will be managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The selected projects follow:

  • General Electric (Niskayuna, N.Y.)—T he GE Global Research, GE Energy, and University of Pennsylvania team will model creep-fatigue-environment interactions in steam turbine rotor materials for advanced ultra-super-critical (A-USC) coal power plants. The work will demonstrate computational algorithms for alloy property predictions and to determine and model key mechanisms contributing to the damages of creep-fatigue-environment interactions. The technology developed will enable faster materials design and implementation, better producibility of large scale components, and more accurate predictions of long-term service life for next generation fossil energy systems. (DOE share: $1,199,940; recipient share: $299,988)
  • University of Missouri (Kansas City, Mo.)—This project focuses on the computational development of a new class of materials called MAX phases, which are layered transition metal carbides or nitrides with the rare combination of metallic and ceramic properties. The desirable properties of these thermodynamically stable alloys will be explored in the search for new phases and composites that can meet the DOE performance goals for applications in next-generation fossil energy power systems. (DOE share: $901,877; recipient share: $225,469)
  • University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.)—This project will 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. The project will subsequently achieve a fundamental understanding of the processing-microstructure-property-performance links underlying the creep behavior of novel ferritic super alloys strengthened by B2 and/or L21 intermetallics. (DOE share: $1,200,000; recipient share: $308,500)
  • CFD Research Corporation (Huntsville, Ala.)—CFDRC and Pennsylvania State University will team to develop, demonstrate, and validate computational capabilities for predictive analysis of interactions that lead to segregation at the grain boundary of refractory alloys. This segregation can weaken grain boundary cohesion substantially and directly lead to brittle inter-granular fracture. The simulation capabilities will involve Quantum Mechanics (QM) based ReaxFF potentials integrated into an open-source Molecular Dynamic (MD) code including LAMMPS-MD simulator developed by Sandia National Laboratories. (DOE share: $800,188; recipient share: $200,047)

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