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Ceramics for Advanced Power Generation

AUTHOR: Sarah Benson
DATE: August 2000

Advanced clean and coal technologies are being actively pursued to improve the competitiveness and environmental performance of coal-fired power generation. New materials are required which can meet the increasingly demanding operating conditions necessary to realize the high performance that the latest systems can, in principle, achieve. Ceramics are a class of materials which exhibit a wide range of potentially useful properties.

Three ceramic-based technologies have been identified which could offer significant benefits in the development of clean coal technologies: high temperature heat exchangers, oxygen separation membranes and hydrogen separation membranes. High temperature heat exchangers for operation above 10000C are of interest for use in indirectly-fired cycles such as the Externally-Fired Combined Cycle (EFCC). Novel gas separation processes using ceramic membranes are being developed which could be employed in the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) and other power generation applications. These include membranes for the large scale production of oxygen from air to replace conventional cryogenic air separation units, and membranes to recover hydrogen from the products of coal gasification.

All three technologies are at a preliminary stage of development and commercial operation in a coal-fired power plant is many years away. This report presents an introduction to these technologies and their application in coal-fired power generation and gives an overview of the current state of their development. The use of ceramics for hot gas particulate filtration is not described in this report.