U.S. Funding Ultrahigh Temperature Research For Turbines

By Jack Burke19 November 2020

The U.S. Department of Energy announced US$16 million in funding for 17 projects as part of Phase 1 of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Ultrahigh Temperature Impervious Materials Advancing Turbine Efficiency (ULTIMATE) program.

ULTIMATE teams will develop ultrahigh temperature materials for gas turbine use in the aviation and power generation industries.

“Natural gas turbines generate more than a third of the country’s electricity, supplying power to consumers across America,” said ARPA-E Director Lane Genatowski. “ULTIMATE teams will improve the efficiency of the generation sector by developing materials that increase producers’ efficiency and create positive economic benefits for industrial and public consumers nationwide.”

ULTIMATE projects address two target temperature levels and seek to develop ultrahigh temperature materials for continuous operation at 1300 ºC (2372 ºF) in a stand-alone material test environment or at 1800 ºC (3272 ºF) with coatings and cooling. Teams will also develop new manufacturing processes that ensure turbine blades can not only operate at these ultra-high temperatures but can also withstand the extreme operating environments commonly found in natural gas turbines in both the aviation and power generation industries.

Phase 1 ULTIMATE teams will demonstrate proof of concept for alloy compositions, coatings, and manufacturing processes through modeling and laboratory scale tensile coupon testing of basic properties. At the conclusion of Phase 1, teams will be down-selected based on technical review to receive additional funding for development of selected alloy compositions and coatings, as well as the production of generic small-scale turbine blades to demonstrate manufacturability of designs. In ULTIMATE Phase 2, up to US$14 million in additional funds will be available to teams.

A full list of projects can be found here.

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