Coal-fired power plant to test advanced ultrasupercritical boilers

Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) began testing technology to support development of advanced ultrasupercritical boilers.

The demonstration, in partnership with Alstom, is being conducted on a unit at Alabama Power’s Plant Barry in Alabama. The project is scheduled to run for two years and will gather data on the performance of alloy materials under advanced ultrasupercritical temperatures of about 1,400 degrees F. Alabama Power is a unit of Southern Co.

The materials are assembled into a continuous steam tube inside the boiler. The materials will be exposed to flue gas and steam, and researchers will be monitoring the tube to learn more about oxidation and corrosion under actual operating conditions.

Advanced ultrasupercritical boilers have the potential to improve efficiency with higher steam temperature and pressure, while lowering emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates and carbon dioxide, as well as decreasing water requirements for coal-based generation. Alloy materials are necessary for operation at advanced ultrasupercritical temperatures and pressure but more study is needed to see how the materials will react.

The project is a key initiative of an industry consortium sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory and the Ohio Coal Development Office, and led by the Energy Industries of Ohio. The members are Alstom, Babcock & Wilcox (NYSE: BWC), Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT), Riley Power, EPRI and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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