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John O | May 2019

Grant given for development of additive manufacturing process for high-temp heat exchangers

By Josh Perry, Editor


Michigan State University (East Lansing, Mich.) recently received a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to continue its work on 3-D metal printing technologies for compact, high-temperature heat exchangers.


Michigan State researchers are working on high-temperature heat exchangers for power plants. (Wikimedia Commons)


According to a report from the school, Michigan State researchers developed a plate-type heat exchanger with a high-temperature alloy that could be used in powder-based manufacturing. The end goal is to create a metallic heat exchanger that is corrosion-resistant and operates at extreme temperatures.


The applications for these heat exchangers include concentrated solar towers, nuclear power systems, and waste heat recovery in industrial gas furnaces. These heat exchangers would need to work in temperatures near 2,000°F.


Reducing the thermal energy that power plants need to produce electricity will greatly enhance the efficiency and sustainability of those facilities. Researchers hope that the new heat exchangers will work through the lifetime of the plants.


This grant is part of ARPA-E’s HITEMMP projects, which were previously featured on coolingZONE.com. According to the project list, the Michigan State project “is a highly scalable heat exchanger suited for high-efficiency power generation systems that use supercritical CO2 as a working fluid and operate at high temperature and high pressure. It features a plate-type heat exchanger that enables lower cost, powder-based manufacturing.


“The approach includes powder compaction and sintering (powder metallurgy) integrated with laser-directed energy deposition additive manufacturing. Each plate is covered with packed, precisely designed and formed three-dimensional features that promote mixing, intensify heat transfer, and provide stability to prevent large plate deformation under high pressure. The super-alloy plate composition provides good strength at the highest operating temperatures (1,100°C) and a high degree of corrosion resistance.”


See the full list of HITEMMP projects at https://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=document/hitemmp-project-descriptions.

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