High-Throughput Computational Guided Development of Refractory Complex Concentrated Alloys-based Composite

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Program:
ULTIMATE
Award:
$700,000
Location:
Morgantown,
West Virginia
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
05/14/2021 - 11/13/2022
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:

West Virginia University seeks to commercialize alloys and manufacturing processes to improve the overall safety, energy efficiency, and environmental performance of air travel and electricity generation. The team will develop a new class of ultra-high temperature refractory complex concentrated alloys-based composites (RCCC) for high temperature applications such as combustion turbines used in the aerospace and energy industries. The approach is based on a transformative “high-entropy” strategy. The RCCC will consist of Refractory Complex Concentrated Alloys (RCCA) mixed with nanosized particles of refractory high entropy carbides, to increase RCCA strength to withstand extreme conditions. The goal is to optimize the balance among strength, creep (deformation), density, and stability at 1300 °C , while maintaining ductility once the alloy cools to room temperature. The research team will develop a specialty 3-D metal printing process to produce test coupons and potentially components such as turbine blades.

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. Xingbo Liu
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
Xingbo.Liu@mail.wvu.edu

Partners

National Energy Technology Laboratory
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Advanced Manufacturing, LLC

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Release Date:
11/18/2020