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High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials, and Manufacturing Processes

The projects that comprise ARPA-E's HITEMMP (High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes) program will develop new approaches and technologies for the design and manufacture of high temperature, high pressure, efficient, and highly compact heat exchangers. Heat exchangers are critical to efficient thermal energy exchange in numerous industrial applications and everyday life, with valuable applications in electricity generation, transportation, petrochemical plants, waste heat recovery, and much more. HITEMMP projects target heat exchangers capable of operating for tens of thousands of hours in temperatures and pressures exceeding 800°C and 80 bar (1,160 psi) respectively. This new class of hardware, designed and manufactured using novel techniques, topologies, and materials, would enable far greater exchanger efficiency, thus boosting the performance of many important industrial processes.

Carnegie Mellon University

High Energy Density Modular Heat Exchangers through Design, Materials Processing, and Manufacturing Innovations

The Carnegie Mellon team will develop a modular radial heat exchanger that includes flow through pin arrays and counter-flow headers. The team will fabricate the heat exchanger via laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing, with superalloys selected for high temperature and high pressure capability. Multiple approaches will be used to smooth the heat exchanger components' internal passages to minimize pressure drop. Developing 3D metals printing technology for high temperature heat exchangers would radically remove constraints on heat exchanger design, making it a potentially disruptive technology.

CompRex, LLC

Compact Heat Exchanger for High Temperature High Pressure Applications Using Advanced Cermet

CompRex aims to transform heat exchange technology for high temperature (>800°C or 1472°F) and high pressure (80 bar or 1160 psi) applications through the use of advanced metal and ceramic composite material, development of a new simplified manufacturing approach, and optimization of heat exchanger design based on the new material and manufacturing process. This solution could not only satisfy the performance requirements of next generation power cycles but also significantly lower costs of production and scale-up by as much as 40% compared with existing state-of-the-art heat exchangers. The same manufacturing approach can be applied to different materials to produce various devices such as pumps and reactors. This versatility could expand the technology's significant performance and cost advantages and disruptive potential in a broad array of applications, including transportation, aerospace, and oil/gas/petrochemicals.

General Electric

Ultra Performance Heat Exchanger Enabled by Additive Technology (UPHEAT)

The GE-led team will develop a metallic-based, ultra-performance heat exchanger enabled by additive manufacturing technology and capable of operation at 900°C (1652°F) and 250 bar (3626 psi). The team will optimize heat transfer versus thermomechanical load using new micro-trifurcating core structures and manifold designs. The team will leverage a novel, high-temperature capable, crack-resistant nickel superalloy, designed specifically for additive manufacturing. When completed, the heat exchanger could enable increased thermal efficiency of indirect heated power cycles such as supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) Brayton power generation, reducing energy consumption and emissions.

International Mezzo Technologies, INC

A 2-5 MW Supercritical CO2 micro tube recuperator: manufacturing, testing, and laser weld qualification

International Mezzo Technologies will design, manufacture, and test a compact, nickel-based superalloy supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) recuperator (a type of heat exchanger). The recuperator will incorporate laser-welded micro tubes and function at 800°C (1,472°F) and 275 bar (3,989 psi). Currently, the cost of recuperators for power systems operating in these conditions is prohibitive. Laser welding micro tubes offers a low-cost approach to fabricating heat exchangers, which could increase the economic competitiveness of sCO2 power cycles. Mezzo's program could provide a pathway to manufacture relatively inexpensive heat exchangers for high temperature-high pressure applications.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


MIT will develop a high performance, compact, and durable ceramic heat exchanger. The multiscale porous high temperature heat exchanger will be capable of operation at temperatures over 1200°C (2192°F) and pressures above 80 bar (1160 psi). Porosity at the centimeter-scale will serve as channels for the flow of working fluids. A micrometer-scale porous core will be embedded into these channels. A ceramic co-extrusion process will create the channels and core using silicon carbide (SiC). This core design will significantly improve heat transfer and structural strength and minimize pressure drop, enabling very high power density.

Michigan State University

Heat-Exchanger Intensification through Powder Processing and Enhanced Design (HIPPED)

Michigan State University's proposed technology is a highly scalable heat exchanger suited for high-efficiency power generation systems that use supercritical CO2 as a working fluid and operate at high temperature and high pressure. It features a plate-type heat exchanger that enables lower cost powder-based manufacturing. The approach includes powder compaction and sintering (powder metallurgy) integrated with laser-directed energy deposition additive manufacturing. Each plate is covered with packed, precisely designed and formed three-dimensional features that promote mixing, intensify heat transfer, and provide stability to prevent large plate deformation under high pressure. The super-alloys developed provide strength at the highest operating temperatures (1100°C) and significant corrosion resistance. The proposed concept extends the range for indirect heat exchange to extreme conditions where state-of-the-art heat exchangers cannot operate. In addition, new ferrous- and nickel-based alloys developed are suitable for other high temperature applications.

Michigan Technological University

High-density SSiC 3D-printed lattices for compact HTHP aero-engine recuperators

Michigan Technological University will use advanced ceramic-based 3D printing technology to develop next-generation light, low-cost, ultra-compact, high-temperature, high-pressure (HTHP) heat exchangers. These will be able to operate at temperatures above 1100°C (2012°F) and at pressures above 80 bar (1160 psi). Current technologies cannot produce the high density, monolithic sintered silicon carbide (SSiC) material required for high temperature, high pressure recuperators. The team has invented a direct-ink writing technology for ceramics and techniques to 3D print high-density SSiC parts at scale, to reduce the risk of thermo-mechanical failure and ensure heat exchanger durability and quality.

Thar Energy, LLC

High Temperature, High Pressure, and High Performance Compact Heat Exchanger

Thar Energy will develop a next-generation metallic compact recuperator, a type of heat exchanger, capable of stable and cost effective operation at 800°C (1562°F) and above 80 bar (1160 psi). A metallic superalloy capable of withstanding high temperature and pressure will be employed to fabricate the heat exchanger using a novel stacked sheet manufacturing technique. The cost-effective heat exchanger design could enable design enhancement with improved structural integrity and thermal performances for high-efficiency, modular, and cost-competitive recuperated supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) Brayton power cycle systems. Thar Energy will also develop and test an efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable power generation system. The new system will use its developed recuperator and novel high temperature components, such as a high-temperature primary heat exchanger and high-efficiency reciprocating expander capable of operations above 800°C and 300 bar.

United Technologies Research Center

Additive, Topology-Optimized Ultra-Compact Heat Exchanger (P.300.0621)

UTRC will develop an ultra-compact, topology-optimized heat exchanger capable of operating in environments with temperatures and pressures up to 800°C (1472°F) and 250 bar (3626 psi) that is substantially smaller and more durable than state-of-the art high-temperature, high-pressure heat exchangers. A quadruple optimization approach that addresses performance, durability, manufacturing, and cost constraints provides the framework for the superalloy-based heat exchanger. UTRC will leverage extensive additive manufacturing research and aerospace and supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power generation experience to develop and commercialize the technology. The team will work on transitioning the heat exchanger into aviation applications with significant fuel burn savings in transport. This would substantially reduce aviation fuel usage and carbon emissions.

United Technologies Research Center

Low-Cost Glass Ceramic-Matrix Composite Heat Exchanger (P.300.0620)

UTRC will develop a high temperature, high strength, low cost glass-ceramic matrix composite heat exchanger capable of a long operational life in a range of harsh environments with temperatures and pressures as high as 1100°C (2012°F) and 250 bar (3626 psi). UTRC designed its Counterflow Honeycomb Heat Exchanger (CH-HX) configuration with an oxidation-resistant material developed initially for gas turbine applications. Its core feature is a joint-free, 3D-woven assembly of webbed tubes and cylindrical shapes to reduce stress and simplify manufacturing. The CH-HX is devoid of nearly all secondary surfaces, which increases thermodynamic performance. Its light weight, reduced volume, and high temperature robustness could enable its use in applications that benefit from high-efficiency supercritical CO2 power cycles.

University of California, Los Angeles

SHOTEAM: Superalloy Heat exchangers Optimized for Temperature Extremes and Additive Manufacturability

UCLA will develop an extreme-condition heat exchanger technology targeted to ultra-high efficiency hybrid aviation power cycles. The heat exchanger will operate at 50 kW (thermal) at supercritical CO2 pressures of 80 and 250 bar (1160 and 3626 psi) in hot and cold streams and at a hot-stream inlet temperature of 800°C (1472°F). A metallic superalloy capable of withstanding high temperature and pressure will be used to fabricate a shell-and-tube-based design supplemented with 3D-printed tube augmentations. The optimized design will enhance overall heat transfer while maintaining a small overall form factor and low weight. The heat exchanger could dramatically improve efficiency and power density for new hybrid aviation power cycles.

University of Maryland

Additively Manufactured High Efficiency and Low-Cost sCO2 Heat Exchangers

The University of Maryland will design, manufacture, and test high-performance, compact heat exchangers for supercritical CO2 power cycles. Two innovative additive manufacturing processes will enable high performance. One facilitates up to 100 times higher deposition rate compared with regular laser powder additive manufacturing. The other enables crack-free additive manufacturing of an advanced nickel-based superalloy and has the potential to print features as fine as 20 micrometers. These developments could halve the fabrication cost and enable heat exchanger operations above 800°C (1472°F) and 80 bar (1160 psi). These systems could be applied to high-efficiency fossil energy, concentrating solar power, and small modular nuclear energy.

University of Missouri

UHT-CAMANCHE: Ultra-High Temperature Ceramic Additively Manufactured Compact Heat Exchangers

Missouri S&T will combine a novel additive manufacturing technique, called ceramic on-demand extrusion, and ceramic fusion welding techniques to manufacture very high temperature heat exchangers for power cycles with intense heat sources. Enabling turbine operation at significantly higher inlet temperatures substantially increases power generation efficiency and reduces emissions and water consumption. The developed heat exchangers will use ultra-high temperature ceramic materials and state-of-the-art design tools and manufacturing techniques to operate under temperatures of 1100-1500°C (2012-2732°F) and pressures of 80-250 bar (1160-3626 psi). Their high pressure and high temperature characteristics offer great potential for power plant size and cost reduction to enable future high efficiency modular power generation systems.

Vacuum Process Engineering, Inc.

Compact Diffusion Bonded Printed-Circuit Heat Exchanger Development Using Nickel Superalloys for Highly Power Dense and Efficient Modular Energy Production Systems

Vacuum Process engineering will develop a superalloy-based printed circuit heat exchanger for operation at temperatures exceeding 800°C (1472°F) and pressures above 80 bar (1160 psi). The team will build the heat exchanger applying a diffusion solid-state welding manufacturing technique, which uses stacked individual metal sheets with semi-circular channels formed from a chemical treatment process. The goal is to create a highly effective, high temperature compact heat exchanger with a high-strength bond during the welding capable of containing the very high pressure fluid at elevated temperatures. This project will enable increased deployment of clean, efficient, compact, and cost-effective power dense power production systems that will reduce energy-related emissions.
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