13 September 2002 – Alstom has announced its participation in a US Department of Energy (DoE) and State of Ohio programme that will develop and prove new materials for more efficient, ultra-high temperature coal-fired power plants.

The five-year programme includes a consortium of major US boiler Original Equipment Manufacturers, as well as the Electric Power Research Institute, the Coal Development Office of the Ohio Department of Development, the Energy Industries of Ohio, the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Alstom, through its Materials Technology Centre and Power Plant Laboratories, will lead the R&D effort on welding, coating, and code approval, and participate in other efforts to advance boiler materials for ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants.

Higher operating temperatures in coal-fired plants can lead to higher efficiencies, meaning that more electricity can be generated from a given amount of coal. By developing materials that can withstand higher temperatures, the DoE hopes to boost boiler steam temperatures from today’s average of 1004(F (540(C), to steam cycles up to 1400(F (760(C). As a result, plant efficiencies would increase from today’s average of 35 per cent to over 50 percent (LHV basis) – and the release of carbon dioxide and other emissions would be reduced by nearly 40 percent.

Alstom and its consortium partners will focus on five main goals, which are:
* Identifying materials that limit operating temperatures and thermal efficiency in coal-fired plants.
* Defining and implementing ways to produce improved alloys, fabrication process and coating methods that will allow boilers to operate at 1,400(F (760(C)
* Participating in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certification process and generating the data needed to lay the groundwork for ASME code-approved alloys.
* Defining issues affecting the design and operation of ultra-supercritical plants operating up to 1,600(F (870(C).
* Working with alloy makers, equipment vendors and utilities to develop cost targets and promote the commercialisation of the alloys and processes expected to emerge from this effort.

Funding for the programme equals more than $15m overall. It is provided by a grant partially funded by the US Department of Energy and the Ohio Coal Development Office/Ohio Department of Development (OCDO/ODOD). The industry consortium, including Alstom, is providing significant co-funding for the programme.