Component Test Facility for a 700 °C Power Plant

Project Number 261

There will be a considerable demand for new power plants in the EU-25 beginning in the next decade. Sustainable technologies for coal-fired power plants have to be developed to optimise environmental protection and to preserve valuable resources.

The live steam temperature is to bring up to 700 °C compared to 600 °C for the best plants currently commercially available. The application of newly developed nickel-based super alloys is necessary.

Compared to today’s European coal-fired power plants, this will increase the current average efficiency of 36 percent up to 50 percent. Thus about one third CO2 emissions are avoided and fuel is saved in the same amount. The plant will have an output within the range 400 to 1,000 MW and therefore its output will be appropriate for utility-scale electricity generation.

The basis of the current phase of 700 °C power plant programme, COMTES700, is a general technical concept for a Component Test Facility (CTF) which allows the testing of all major boiler components at an affordable cost. Started in July 2004, the project is an agreement between a group of suppliers and generators on the requirements of a comprehensive testing programme for materials, financing possibilities and political constraints.

The objective of the COMTES700 project is to design in detail, manufacture, erect and operate the CTF. The facility allows the testing of the following components:

  • evaporator;
  • turbine valve;
  • superheater tubes;
  • high pressure headers;
  • high pressure piping;
  • high pressure bypass, and
  • safety valves.

Operation of the Component Test Facility had started in the power plant Scholven, Germany, a site of the VGB member E.ON in July 2005. The test facility will be operated for more than 20,000 h until 2009. The results of the project evaluation are necessary for the construction of advanced 700 °C power plants.

With financial support from the European Commission, the Component Test Facility for a 700 °C Power Plant (acronym: COMTES700) shall demonstrate how advanced, mainly nickel based materials and power plant components can pave the way towards the future optimised and efficient coal-fired power plant. Such technology allows to operate power plants at steam temperatures of 700 °C and a pressure of 350 bar.

The project is financed from the Research Fund for Coal and Steel of the European Union (RFCS) and jointly sponsored by major European power plant operators. The total investment amounts to more than 15 Million Euros. In the international consortium supporting the project, power plant operators as well as suppliers are involved: Dong Energy Generation, E.ON, EDF, Electrabel, EnBW, PPC, RWE, Vattenfall Europe Generation, Vattenfall Nordic and Alstom, Hitachi-Power Europe, Burmeister & Wain Energy, Siemens. The project is co-ordinated by VGB PowerTech.

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