SUPERGEN 2 – Conventional Power Plant Lifetime Extension Consortium

The focus of the current Supergen Plant Lifetime Extension consortium project is the development of novel tools and methodologies to extend the life of existing conventional (ageing) steam and combined cycle power plant which utilise well established materials systems that have been in service for many years. The R&D is focussed on the areas of: condition monitoring/NDT, environmental degradation and protection, microstructural degradation, mechanical modelling and the development of lifetime prediction tools. In terms of the failure modes, it focuses primarily on creep and corrosion.The current work provides a detailed understanding about the ‘older’ conventional materials and the ageing plant they operate in. In terms of moving forward, the indications from the 2007 Energy White Paper are that there will be less emphasis on life extension and more emphasis on ‘new-build’, high efficiency plant, possibly including CO2 capture technologies (but certainly allowing for their later addition). The plant technologies being considered in the UK are: high temperature USC steam plant, co-firing, pre/post combustion CO2 capture plant, e.g. gasification, oxy-firing, amine scrubbing, etc. In addition, general fuel flexibility will also remain a key issue.One of the main drivers for the next generation of power plant is not only reduced environmental impact but also security of electricity supply, i.e. reliability. Significant R&D into the technologies and methodologies for the lifing of the next generation power plant is needed now, to ensure reliability targets are met. This means a comprehensive understanding of the behaviour of the materials being used and their in-service degradation is needed.The new proposal ‘Plant Lifing of High Efficiency, Low CO2 Emission Power Plant.’ is moving the R&D to the ‘next level’, and is seen as a natural progression to the current project, as its primary focus will be on the above ‘novel’ advanced plant. In this way, it will take the methods already developed in the current programme and further enhance them and more importantly develop new tools and methods for the new materials and environments that will be present in the advanced power plant of the future. This shows a natural transition and progression for the PLE project and its consortium.The proposal, which has been developed after extensive consultation with stakeholders, is based around three integrated and coordinated technology themes and a dissemination theme. These include; advanced steam systems, advanced gas turbines, advanced cycles (including biomass co-firing, oxy-firing). Within each theme there are a number of Tasks that together constitute the whole programme of work. A key feature of the programme of work is the essential and close interaction between the Themes and the individual Tasks that define the proposed programme in more detail. The interactions take a wide range of forms, from providing materials for testing to the development of collaborative integrated models for validation of the component life extension toolbox to be developed. The dissemination will involve national and international collaboration and events.In addition a number of key proposals have been submitted under the ‘plus’ part of the Supergen programme which will provide additionality to the overall project.The project has the full support of a large industrial consortium representing the full UK Power Generation supply chain.