Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc. (B&W) has received a competitively bid award from the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy to perform the preliminary front-end engineering design of an advanced ultra-supercritical (A-USC) steam superheater for a future A-USC component test program (ComTest) achieving 760C (1400F) steam temperature. The current award will provide the engineering data necessary for proceeding to detail engineering, manufacturing, construction and operation of a ComTest. The steam generator superheater would subsequently supply the steam to an A-USC intermediate pressure steam turbine. For this study the ComTest facility site is being considered at the Youngstown Thermal heating plant facility in Youngstown, Ohio.

The ComTest program is important because it would place functioning A-USC components in operation and in coordinated boiler and turbine service. It is also important to introduce the power plant operation and maintenance personnel to the level of skills required and provide initial hands-on training experience. Preliminary fabrication, construction and commissioning plans are to be developed in the study. A follow-on project would eventually provide a means to exercise the complete supply chain events required to practice and refine the process for A-USC power plant design, supply, manufacture, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance. Representative participants would then be able to transfer knowledge and recommendations to the industry.

ComTest is conceived as firing natural gas in a separate standalone facility that will not jeopardize the host facility or suffer from conflicting requirements in the host plant’s mission that could sacrifice the nickel alloy components and not achieve the testing goals. ComTest will utilize smaller quantities of the expensive materials and reduce the risk in the first operational practice for A-USC technology in the U.S. Components at suitable scale in ComTest provide more assurance before applying them to a full size A-USC demonstration plant. The description of the pre-front-end engineering design study and current results will be presented.

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