Need for higher combustion temperatures and efficiencies for pulverised coal-fired power plants

Why is this gap important?

Advanced ultra-supercritical (AUSC) coal plants promise higher combustion temperatures and efficiencies, and hence lower emissions. Certain technological limits have yet to be overcome, however, to address the high temperatures and pressures. The SDS envisions a shift in the coal power plant fleet towards the highest-efficiency plants (USC and AUSC), and away from subcritical and supercritical technologies.

Technology solutions

AUSC means a step up in pressure and temperature from available USC systems. Advances in metal alloys are therefore needed to ensure the technical viability of the plants – even current advanced steels are not adequate for AUSC construction. Most of the materials are between TRL 5 and TRL 8.

Materials for AUSC Readiness level:

Colored bars represent the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of each technology. Learn more about TRLs

What are the leading initiatives?

The US DOE and the Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO) are working on developing and deploying AUSC technology. China has a leading AUSC research consortium. In co‑operation with EU technology suppliers, China is pursuing novel improvements that, when combined with higher steam temperatures and pressures, could attain over 53% net lower heating value (lhv). In Japan and Europe, AUSC materials are being researched (see IEA Clean Coal Centre for further details).