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WRI Will Test Monitoring Networks for Advanced Power Systems under a Competitive DOE Advanced R&D Program

WRI will join West Virginia University Research Corporation of Morgantown, W.Va. in the development of sophisticated monitoring networks for advanced fossil energy power systems. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the project, which includes Western Research Institute (WRI) as a partner, was among five selected for continued support by the Office of Fossil Energy’s Advanced Research—Coal Utilization Science Program.

The harsh high-temperature, highly corrosive environments of advanced power plants require new approaches for monitoring equipment, materials degradation, and process conditions that affect the operation of components and systems.
Increasing global energy demands and strict emission regulations require high levels of performance, capacity, efficiency, and environmental control. Advanced monitoring networks will be essential to the performance and availability of the near-zero emissions coal power production systems of the future.

The 36-month project led by West Virginia University will develop corrosion monitoring sensors for ultra-supercritical coal power plant boiler tubes. Electrochemical models of the corrosion system will be constructed and tested, and a self-powered wireless sensor system using thermal-electric-powered telecommunication devices will be developed. 

The sensor system will be tested at Western Research Institute’s Combustion Test Facility in Laramie, Wyo. The Combustion Test Facility is a scaled-down version of a commercial pulverized coal-fired utility boiler.

“WRI is excited to be partnering with West Virginia University to advance sensor technologies that will make coal power plants more efficient and cost effective,” stated Don Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Western Research Institute.  “This is a great partnership that brings together two of America’s leading coal producing states to enhance the benefits of coal,” he said.

WRI Senior Vice President for Energy Production and Generation, Dr. Vijay Sethi, and Lead Engineer Dr. Khalid Omar will head the effort at WRI. Dr. Xingbo Liu of West Virginia University will direct the overall effort.

Other projects selected for the Coal Utilization Science Program will be led by Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas; General Electric Company, Niskayuna, N.Y.; Siemens Energy, Inc., Orlando, Fla.; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.  The selected projects represent a total investment of $6.5 million, with nearly $5 million from DOE and the remaining $1.5 million in cost share provided by the recipients.


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