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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R000859/1
Title: Novel high temperature steam transfer pipes
Principal Investigator: Pavier, Professor MJ
Other Investigators:
Nicholls, Professor JR Becker, Professor A Flewitt, Professor P
Sun, Professor W Tierney, Dr MJ Simms, Professor NJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
EDF FESI (Forum for Eng Stuctural Integrity)
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 30 April 2019 Value (£): 199,855
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Conventional
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2017 Energy Feasibility 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This feasibility study concerns improving the efficiency of steam cycles used in nuclear and fossil fuel energy generation. Currently steam is transported using steel pipes which limit the temperature of the steam to no more than 640 degress C. To improve efficiency, power plants are proposed that will operate with steam temperatures possibly up to 760 degrees C. Using conventional steam cycle design, such temperatures will require the use of nickel-based alloys. These alloys are more costly than steels and are in scarce supply, considering the quantity required for new power plants worldwide.

An alternative plant design is proposed in this feasibility study that will allow steam pipes made of steel to be operated at much higher temperatures than at present. The proposed design is of a pipe with a ceramic thermal insulation coating (TIC) on its internal surface and cooling on its outer surface provided by exhaust steam from the high pressure turbine.

Three institutions will collaborate in this study: the University of Bristol, Cranfield University and the University of Nottingham. Each institution will investigate a central technical challenge that must be overcome before the alternative plant design can be considered viable.

Bristol will develop thermodynamic models of the proposed steam cycle. The model will calculate the rate of transfer of heat from the superheated steam through the TIC into the steel pipe, and then the rate of heat transfer to the reheat steam returning to the boiler being used to cool the steam pipe. The model will predict the maximum temperatures within the steam pipe and the efficiency of the plant, compared to that of a conventional design.

Cranfield will carry out corrosion testing of candidate TIC materials in steam at ultra-supercritical temperatures. The results of this corrosion testing will be used to provide estimates of the lifetime of the TIC in a power generation environment.

Nottingham will investigate the structural integrity of the coating and the steel pipe. Stresses will be generated in the TIC and steel during start-ups, shut downs and steady state operation. These stresses will be very different in character from those in conventional steam transport. Nottingham will use existing computational models of the properties of TIC and steel to predict their lifetime under realistic operation conditions.

The outcome of this feasibility study will be an assessment of the opportunity for the development of an alternative to the use of nickel-based alloys for pipework in advanced power plant.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk