Computationally Guided ODS Refractory HEAs via Additive Manufacturing

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Program:
ULTIMATE
Award:
$799,882
Location:
East Hartford,
Connecticut
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
04/15/2021 - 10/14/2022
Website:

Critical Need:

Gas turbines produce approximately 35% of the total electricity generation in the U.S. Improving their efficiency is important for reducing energy usage and carbon emissions. Similarly, higher efficiency aviation and other industrial turbines would improve the economics and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these sectors. Gas turbine efficiency largely depends on the gas temperature at the inlet; the higher the temperature, the higher the efficiency. Gas turbine operational temperature is currently limited by its component materials, particularly those in the path of the hot gas such as turbine blades, vanes, nozzles, and shrouds. Turbine blades experience the greatest operational burden because they must concurrently withstand the highest temperatures and stresses. Currently, turbine blades are made of single crystal nickel (Ni)- or cobalt (Co)-based superalloys. After many years of refinements, their development has plateaued. There is a need to discover, develop, and implement novel materials that work at temperatures significantly higher than that of the Ni or Co superalloys if further efficiency gains are to be realized.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Raytheon Technologies Research Center (RTRC) aims to design and validate the manufacturability and mechanical properties of a new hot section turbine alloy. To achieve higher efficiency turbine operation, RTRC will use additive manufacturing (AM) to produce test coupons (specimens) and potentially a representative turbine blade using a high entropy alloy (HEA) enhanced with oxide dispersion strengthening (ODS) particles. Combining HEAs with ODS imparts high-temperature strength and creep (deformation) resistance to enable 1300°C operation that significantly exceeds the capability of current single crystal nickel superalloys. Leveraging AM produces a blade very close to the final shape, reducing the need for machining, and incorporates ODS into the alloy. The program will employ a machine learning framework and screening experiments to explore HEA composition space and identify the best candidates. Powders will be produced for these candidates and then modified with nano-oxides to create an ODS feedstock for AM. Deploying this class of alloys for 1300°C turbine operation will allow airlines to save millions of gallons of fuel per year.

Potential Impact:

Combining development of new ultrahigh temperature materials with compatible coatings and manufacturing technologies has the potential to increase gas turbine efficiency up to 7%, which will significantly reduce wasted energy and carbon emissions.

Security:

Coal-fired and nuclear-powered plant electricity generation is uneconomical, unsafe, outdated, and/or contributes to significant CO2 emissions. Increasing gas turbine efficiency is critical to ensuring that plants can effectively deploy their capacity to the grid, increasing energy security.

Environment:

Improving gas turbine efficiency can significantly reduce carbon emissions from air travel, which represents 2% of all global carbon emissions.

Economy:

By 2050, a 7% efficiency improvement in the natural gas turbines used for U.S. electricity generation could save up to 15-16 quads of energy; in civilian aircraft turbines, 3-4 quads of energy could be saved for U.S. air travel.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Philseok Kim
Project Contact:
Dr. John Sharon
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
john.sharon@rtx.com

Partners

National Energy Technology Laboratory

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Release Date:
11/18/2020