Power plant technology breakthrough with Finnish know how

VTT’s new device promotes clean combustion technology with high plant efficiency

VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland, offers new opportunities to improve power plant efficiency with its globally unique research equipment. Most power plant types, independent of their fuel, use steam to produce energy. The first of its kind, VTT’s equipment now enables steam to be brought to its supercritical state under research conditions. In this state, the steam may reach a temperature of 700 degrees Celsius under very high pressure.

Converting steam into a supercritical fluid in power plants enables energy to be produced with less fuel and smaller carbon dioxide emissions. The unique research device can be used to simultaneously study the progress of corrosion in materials and the impact of mechanical loading on the objects studied.

Power plants are designed for long-term use but we still have inadequate knowledge of the impact of supercritical steam on materials. Further research in the field will enable us to avoid poor material choices in the development of steam technology and achieve higher operational reliability with less maintenance. The launch of emission trading will also clearly improve financial benefits from process changes.

Finnish company Cormet Oy is to launch the sales of the research devices developed in co-operation with VTT. The company expects research on supercritical steam to become an international boom. Cormet and VTT have previously supplied power plants and research institutes around the world with equipment corresponding to the new device but with considerably lower temperatures.

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Liisa Heikinheimo alfa

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