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Technical Paper


A Steam Generator for 700C TO 760C

Advanced Ultra-Supercritical Design
and Plant Arrangement: What Stays
the Same and What Needs to Change

P.S. Weitzel

Babcock & Wilcox

Barberton, Ohio, U.S.A.

Presented to:
The Seventh International
Conference on Advances in
Materials Technology for Fossil
Power Plants

October 22-25, 2013

Waikoloa, Hawaii, U.S.A.
Paul S. Weitzel
Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc., Barberton, Ohio, U.S.A.

Presented to:
The Seventh International Conference on Advances in Materials Technology for Fossil Power Plants
October 22-25, 2013
Waikoloa, Hawaii, U.S.A.


Increasing the efficiency of the Rankine regenerative-reheat steam cycle to improve the economics of electric power
generation and to achieve lower cost of electricity has been a long sought after goal. Advanced ultra-supercritical
(A-USC) development for materials to reach 760C (1400F) is a goal of the U.S. Program on Materials Technology
for Ultra-supercritical Coal-Fired Boilers sponsored by the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy and the Ohio
Coal Development Office (OCDO). As part of the development of advanced ultra-supercritical power plants in this
program and internally funded programs, a succession of design studies have been undertaken to determine the
scope and quantity of materials required to meet 700 to 760C (1292 to 1400F) performance levels. At the beginning
of the program in 2002, the current design convention was to use a two pass steam generator with a pendant and
horizontal tube bank arrangement as the starting point for the economic analysis of the technology. The efficiency
improvement achieved with 700C (1292F) plus operation over a 600C (1112F) power plant results in about a 12%
reduction in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The reduced flue gas weight per MW generated
reduces clean up costs for the lower sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions.

The operation and start up of the 700C (1292F) plant will be similar in control methods and techniques to a 600C
(1112F) plant. Due to arrangement features, the steam temperature control range and the once through minimum
circulation flow will be slightly different. The expense of nickel alloy components will be a strong economic
incentive for changes in how the steam generator is configured and arranged in the plant relative to the steam
turbine. To offer a view into the new plant concepts this paper will discuss what would stay the same and what
needs to change when moving up from a 600C (1112F) current state-of-the-art design to a plant design with a 700C
(1292F) steam generator and turbine layout.


Much of the previous work published on the development of A-USC steam generators has covered the materials
developments needed to make operation possible at greater than 700C (1292F) [1, 2]. The development effort has
also included a task for conceptual design of the steam generator in order to provide information on material
temperature conditions and an estimate of size and quantity of the components [3]. The arrangement configurations
started with current two-pass designs used for 600C (1112F) ultra-supercritical (USC), as this meets current
acceptance and expectations of the industry. The two pass style has pendant surface over the furnace and arch and
horizontal heating surface in a down pass that is divided for gas biasing to control reheat steam temperature. With
A-USC there will be about 150C (300F) increase in the outlet mainsteam temperature and the furnace wall enclosure
will deliver about 66C (150F) higher fluid outlet temperature over the present supercritical design, which has been
in U.S. utility service for more than 55 years. Selection of higher alloy materials for the lower and upper furnace
enclosure and the convection pass enclosure and tube banks is a primary activity of the sponsored A-USC boiler
materials development program and Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc. (B&W PGG) research and
development activities [1-5]. The program includes participation of the U.S. boiler suppliers on the basis of being
limited to pre-competitive information needed for ASME data and the understanding of material/mechanical
properties needed industry wide. The power industry needs solutions which demonstrate that operation at greater
than 700C (1292F) will be economic, sustainable and will deliver the higher efficiency expected.

Due to the high cost of nickel steam piping, new concepts have been proposed for the arrangement of the steam
generator and the turbine in the plant. Siemens AG has proposed a horizontal boiler. China has some interest in the
two-turbine concept with the HP and IP sections at high elevation by the steam outlet headers and the LP section and
condenser on the ground level. Horizontal tube banks could provide a means to better handle the exfoliation of
steam side oxidation where distribution and removal can be improved. The higher feedwater temperature from A-
USC turbine cycles makes it difficult to achieve low boiler outlet gas temperature entering the air heater. The soot
blowing steam requirements could be met by a lower pressure steam generator, similar in function like a two
pressure heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). Soot blowing with compressed air would save high pressure water.
Flue gas cooling using condensate may be needed. Some new revisited designs will be presented later.

The expectation that some steam generator design changes will occur is valid. These must be understood and gain
acceptance through proof of performance. The U.S power generation industry is particularly conservative and
functions in a risk-averse commodity market with constraining forces that seek to achieve lower electricity prices.
Still the industry needs to remain economically vital by advancing technical development. This paper provides a
discussion of what will certainly change, what will probably change and what should remain unchanged in the plant
and steam generator design.


Supercritical Furnace Enclosure Design for 540C (1005F)

B&W supercritical 540C (1005F) once-through steam generators use SA213 T-2 for the entire vertical tube furnace
enclosure. The enclosure is called UP-UP, having a first and second pass of alternating tubes from the lower inlet
headers so the fluid moves up twice through the same elevation, then a third pass continues up to the roof [6]. Exit
fluid temperature reaches about 385C (725F). Enclosure circulation requires increasing pressure to 24.1 MPa (3500
psi) supercritical operation (called constant pressure) after the convection pass outlet reaches about 232C (450F) at
6.9 MPa (1000 psi). This prevents two-phase flow overheating due to boiling crisis (dryout). On start up, a division
valve separates the enclosure from the superheater until the fluid conditions are high enough to produce steam by
throttling the fluid into the start up flash tank and the superheater. When the superheater is pressurized to match the
upstream furnace enclosure, the division valve is full open and the flash tank system is taken out of service.

Ultra Supercritical (USC) Furnace Enclosure Design for 600C (1112F)

The present state-of-the-art design is the USC steam generator [6]. The USC furnace enclosure and superheater
operate on a variable pressure ramp through the upper load range. The evaporator end point location is variable with
load so the upper outlet portion provides superheating duty at higher load. The full arc turbine inlet valves are nearly
wide open (VWO) or with some throttle reserve, on a control program from about 30% or 35% up to 95100%. The
purpose of this method of control is to not throttle and reduce the turbine inlet steam temperature at partial load
operation. The higher steam temperature 600C (1112F) USC design is more efficient and more suitable for load
cycling. The furnace enclosure wall may be spiral or vertical tube construction if the flow to perimeter ratio is high
enough. The enclosure operates with two phase flow conditions at lower loads and the water/steam vertical
separators run dry after reaching the Benson point where all steam enters the separator, at about 30% load. The
enclosure tube materials are SA213 T-12 for the entire B&W USC furnace. Post weld heat treating (PWHT) is not
required after construction with this material. This enclosure design is used at American Electric Power,
Southwestern Electric Power Companys John W. Turk, Jr. plant with 600C (1112F) steam conditions. The average
fluid outlet temperature of USC is about 414C (775F) to less than 427C (800F). Subcritical pressure operation
during start up is permitted due to the spiral design which better accommodates the heat upset and unbalances. The
furnace enclosure design must be able to handle appropriately located boiling crisis. Multi-lead ribbed tubing is
used to allow lower minimum circulation flows at low load. This permits a wider mainsteam temperature control

Figure 1 B&W State-of-the-Art 600C (1112F) USC Steam Generator

The USC start up system uses vertical steam separators (VS) and a water collection tank (WCT) along with a boiler
circulation pump (BCP) to return VS water drains back to the economizer inlet. The system operates up to the
Benson point much like a pump assisted natural circulation boiler. There is no division valve between the enclosure
and the superheater. Above the Benson point to full load, the VS remains in service at pressure.

Advanced Ultra Supercritical (A-USC) Furnace Enclosure Design for +700C (1292F)

The B&W 700 760C (1292 1400F) A-USC steam generator is developed with features and characteristics that
are the same as the 600C (1112F) USC steam generator. With higher steam temperature there is more superheating
than steam generation (evaporation) duty, and the gas-to-steam temperature difference is lower so more convection
bank heating surface is needed and the superheating duty of the enclosure is more. The design requirements of the
fuel are setting the constraints on flue gas side which are the same for supercritical, USC and A-USC furnaces. The
furnace enclosure material is currently selected to allow operation to 454C (850F) to less than 510C (950F) average
outlet fluid temperature. This is about +66C (150F) for the enclosure and +93 C to 149C (200F to 300F) for the final
superheater over the temperature for USC. Achieving up to 760C (1400F) final superheat will require T-92 in the
enclosure and 740H nickel alloy tubes and headers for the superheater, reheater and steam piping. A-USC produces
a lower heat rate and lower carbon dioxide emission starting at about a 12% improvement over 600C (1112F) USC.
The price of nickel is high enough that new arrangements for the steam generator and the position of the steam
turbine must be a consideration.

A-USC upper enclosure walls will need to use creep strength enhanced ferritic (CSEF) steels, T-23, T-91, T-92
requiring post weld heat treatment. Coatings on these materials have been included in fireside corrosion and steam
oxidation testing programs [2]. B&W has made large T-23 and T-92 test panels, Figure 2, for lab weld trials to
further develop fabrication practices with shop burner inserts and smaller openings, and construction methods and
field repairs [4]. This included the development of PWHT procedures and requirements. T-91 division walls, floor
panels, and convection pass enclosure walls have already been used in eight retrofit projects at existing B&W and
competitor units. T-23 walls on competitor units are already in service so further experience with this material will
be become available. There are 600C (1112F) double reheat units in progress in China that will use these CSEF
steels (T-23, T-91) because the additional second reheat absorption requirements push up the required outlet
temperature of the furnace enclosure.

Figure 2 T-92 Wall Panel for Welding Fabrication, Installation and Repair Testing

Operating Concept for Variable Pressure (A-USC) Steam Generator +700C (1292F)

New steam generator designs are expected to be capable of variable pressure operation. The purpose of variable
pressure, also known as sliding pressure, is to not change the temperature of the steam turbine high pressure
components with load cycling. Figure 3 shows the enthalpy-pressure operating domain results for an A-USC steam
generator with suitable partial load characteristics. A constant pressure steam generator can maintain the turbine
inlet temperature. However, the turbine control valve will throttle the steam at partial loads and thereby lower the
metal temperature during load cycling. Variable pressure operation means the turbine inlet valves operate nearly
wide open and do not throttle the steam resulting in maintaining high full load steam temperature and metal
temperatures of the turbine and superheater outlet headers and piping at partial loads. Lower temperature
intermediate components of the steam generator will cross some isotherms during load cycling while the higher
temperature outlet components do not cross very many isotherms until shut down.

Figure 3 B&W A-USC 700C (1292F) Steam Generator Operating Domain h-P

Variable pressure is an important operating mode capability due to the increase to higher steam temperature with A-
USC and the situation with electric grids needing units to load cycle. The load change rate of response will be
slower than a constant pressure with some throttle pressure reserve. Variable pressure needs to use additional
methods to improve load change response. A technique called frequency control or condensate throttling is used to
quickly start the load change without serious over-firing from the delayed control action. Condensate throttling
works by using fast valves on the turbine steam extraction lines to the LP feedwater heaters so the turbine quickly
retains more steam to produce the power increase. The slow coal pulverizers can then meet the firing demand for the
load change without the catch up delay creating severe temperature overshoot and damage. Firing rate control
should not be too fast. Condensate throttling control is fast. Water storage design of the hotwell and deareator are
increased to handle the condensate flow transient.

First B&W Conceptual A-USC Design Air Fired with Gas Biasing

The first B&W conceptual design was developed to provide the materials quantity and service temperature
requirements for early cost analysis in the materials development program [3]. The steam conditions produced 750
MW net at 34.5 MPa (5003 psi) 735C/760C (1355/1400F). The design fuel was an Ohio, U.S. bituminous coal. This
once through steam generator arrangement is the most typical in U.S. utility service and is called a two pass or
B&W Carolina type, Figure 4. The top supported pendant heating surface may be set on any spacing intervals and is
not governed by stringer supports. The down pass is baffled to provide for gas biasing to control reheat steam
temperature through a wider load range.

The gas side operation is set by the fuel design limitations. For the design fuel, the gas velocity limits are high so the
convection heat transfer is more effective. The lower differential temperature between the gas and steam increases
the heating surface requirements. The steam outlet terminals are at the very top of the structure.

Figure 4 B&W A-USC Conceptual Study-Two Pass Air Fired Steam Generator

B&W Conceptual A-USC Design Oxygen Fired Series Back Pass

A follow-on B&W conceptual design was developed using oxygen combustion to provide the conditions and
materials quantity and service temperature requirements for a comparison to the earlier air fired design. Again the
steam conditions produced 750 MW net at 34.5 MPa (5003 psi), 735C/760C (1355/1400F). The design fuel was an
Ohio bituminous coal. The once through steam generator arrangement selected was a two pass type with an in-series
down pass, Figure 5. Oxygen combustion uses 95% oxygen to replace air and recycles flue gas to increase the
carbon dioxide concentration. Cleaning and compression of the flue gas will prepare the carbon dioxide for pipeline
transportation and deep well sequestration. The fuel dictates the type of gas recirculation system employed: cold,
cool and warm. Hot gas recirculation is not a consideration because of the concentration of the fuel sulfur and
chloride. Gas from the economizer outlet was used in the early once through supercritical units. Gas recirculation
(GR) dilutes the furnace gas temperature and maintains similar gas flow rates that provide good convection heating
surface effectiveness. The reheat steam temperature control with GR is also effective and within the operating
parameters of the two constraints. The required heating surface in the down pass can be less than the two-pass,
parallel-path, gas-biasing design. The furnace absorption and convection pass absorption is enhanced by the higher
carbon dioxide due to the higher density and specific heat.

Figure 5 B&W A-USC Conceptual Study-Two Pass Oxy Fired Steam Generator

B&W A-USC Conceptual design- 898 MW Modified Tower

Figure 6 is a modified tower design that was developed for a Toshiba steam turbine 30 MPa (4351 psi), 700C/730C
(1292F/1346F). The design fuel is an Indian coal [5]. Featured is the use of stringer supports for horizontal surface.
All bank heating surface in the gas upflow pass must be on a multiple of the interval spacing of the stringers. The
material of the stringers is T-92 supporting nickel superheater and reheater tubing. The down pass is also stringer
supported and is typical of current practice. A series down pass may be used when the reheat temperature control
range can be limited. A parallel down pass is used when a wider temperature control range is required. The high ash
coal requires much lower gas velocity limits so the convective heat transfer degrades quickly with reduced load. Gas
recirculation and gas biasing may be employed to meet performance requirements. A low pressure steam generator
is placed after the economizer to reduce exit gas temperature and provide auxiliary steam instead of extracting very
high pressure and high temperature steam.

This modified tower arrangement puts the outlet headers closer to the steam turbine although, due to the high ash
fuel the height, of the furnace is much higher. By locating the base of the steam generator below grade the nickel
steam leads are shorter and offer significant savings. The feedwater heaters and deareator building bay may also be
moved from between the steam turbine and steam generator to along one side of the steam generator.

Figure 6 B&W A-USC Conceptual design- 809 MW modified tower

Other Changes to the A-USC Configuration

Steam generator configurations will most likely evolve because of the high nickel steam lead cost. The first Babcock
& Wilcox once through steam generator was a low profile, nearly horizontal configuration, Figure 7 (UP-1 for
American Electric Powers 125 MW Philo 6, 31.4 MPa /621C/565C/538C (4550 psi /1150F/1050F/1000F) [6].
Some of these new forms have already started appearing for A-USC alternatives to the Figure 1 convention. The
horizontal boiler was proposed by Siemens for the planned Thermie 700C European demonstration plant. A
conventional tower arrangement was also proposed. A plant arrangement might change with the entire steam turbine
partially elevated relative to the boiler. Another solution has been suggested to divide the steam turbine where the
HP and IP sections are placed at high elevation closer to the superheater and reheat outlet headers, and the second
part, the LP sections and condenser remain on the ground. For A-USC to become economical, the steam generator
and steam turbine configuration and relative placement is most likely going to change.

Figure 7 Babcock & Wilcox UP-1 AEP Philo 6 125 MW 31.4 MPa /621C/565C/538C

Comparison of Supercritical, Ultra Supercritical, Advanced Ultra Supercritical

Table 1 shows a comparison of the key features of supercritical, USC and A-USC. Most A-USC features are the
same as for USC. Particular exceptions are:
1. Final superheater and reheater tube banks will use materials like 740H and 230 nickel.
2. The furnace enclosure material in the upper enclosure is creep strength enhanced ferritic steel requiring
field PWHT of the tube to tube joints and possibly the membrane panel seams.
3. Minimum circulation flow load is more likely 5% to 10% higher than USC which limits temperature
control load range.
4. Steam piping is 740H nickel or better.
5. The arrangement will continue to evolve.

Table 1 Technology Comparison of B&W Supercritical, Ultra-Supercritical and Advanced Ultra-

Supercritical Steam Generators
Feature Supercritical Ultra Supercritical Advanced Ultra Supercritical
Steam Pressure & 24MPa (3500psi) 540C to ~25.5MPa (3700psi) ~30MPa (4350psi)
Temperature 565C (1005F to 1050F) 600C to 650C(1112F to 1200F) 700C to 760C (1292F to 1400F)
Pressure Control Constant Pressure Variable Pressure Variable Pressure
Load Control Unit Load Master Firing Rate Demand Firing Rate Demand
Feed forward to Firing and Some use of Frequency Control Some use of Frequency Control
Feedwater Flow (Condensate Throttling) (Condensate Throttling)
Steam Temperature Feedwater: Firing Rate Multiple Stage Spray Multiple Stage Spray
Control Ratio, nominal single stage Attemperation vs. Load Attemperation vs. Load
spray attemperation Program Program
Feedwater Control Feed forward with Unit Furnace Enthalpy Differential Furnace Enthalpy Differential
Load Master Pick Up vs. Load & Trim with Pick Up vs. Load & Trim with
First Stage Attemperator First Stage Attemperator
Differential Temperature Differential Temperature
Water Treatment All Volatile Treatment Oxygenated Water Treatment Oxygenated Water Treatment
Chemistry (AVT) with full condensate (OWT) with full condensate (OWT) with full condensate
polishing polishing polishing
Some use OWT AVT used in early operation AVT used in early operation
Turbine Bypass 5 to 10% on mainsteam 40 to 100% HP & LP 40 to 100% HP & LP
Start Up System Division & Throttling Vertical Separator (VS) & Vertical Separator (VS) &
Valves between furnace & Water Collection Tank (WCT) Water Collection Tank (WCT)
superheater, with Boiler Circulation Pump with Boiler Circulation Pump
1500psi Flash Tank with (BCP) [6]. WCT level control (BCP). WCT level control valve
steam & water drain valve to condenser for flow up to to condenser for flow up to 7%.
recovery system [6] 7%.
Start Up Operation Pump Minimum Furnace Pump Minimum Furnace Pump Minimum Furnace
Circulation Flow 25% to Circulation Flow (30% to 35%) Circulation Flow (40% to 45%)
33%. Superheater shut off with a minimum feedwater flow with a minimum feedwater flow
and throttling valves of 7% and use of the BCP of 7% and use of the BCP
closed. Bypass valves controlling WCT level. V is in controlling WCT level. V is in
throttle water to flash tank service up to full pressure. service up to full pressure.
which returns steam to SH. Feedwater flow meets minimum Feedwater flow meets minimum
When upstream enthalpy as BCP handles less and less as BCP handles less and less
high enough to pressurize water drains. water drains.
the SH, Throttling division BCP is shut off above Benson BCP is shut off above Benson
valve opened on a program Load point, about 30 to 35% Load point, about 40 to 45%
to raise superheater to 24.1 load. Once through operation load. Once through operation
MPa (3500 psi) (Once feedwater control listed above feedwater control listed above
through operation). becomes highest demand. becomes highest demand.
Arrangement Two Pass & Tower Two Pass Two Pass, Tower & Modified
Configuration Tower
Piping Material P22 P92 740H nickel
Furnace Enclosure T-2 smooth & multi-lead T-12 smooth & multi-lead T-12 T-22 T-23 T-91 T-92
Material ribbed, vertical multi-pass ribbed spiral lower furnace smooth and multi-lead ribbed
UP-UP furnace with 1st to (vertical tube lower furnace lower furnace (spiral or vertical
2nd pass full or partial mix needs T-23 or high flow per foot based on flow per foot of
and 2nd to 3rd pass full or perimeter), vertical upper perimeter), vertical upper
partial mix furnace above transition furnace above transition
Superheater Material T-22, 304H Previous Column Plus Previous Column Plus
T-91, T-92, 347HFG, 310HCbN Super 304H, 230, 740H


An important next step in A-USC development is to build at significant scale and demonstrate the features that
extend beyond present USC experience. The first demonstration will test the capability of suppliers to support the
new materials required. Confidence in meeting the quantity and schedule commitments for plant projects is needed
by power plant suppliers. Material suppliers will need to make investments based on increased certainty of the
timing when the A-USC market demand will form. The first lead plants will establish procurement standards and
quality specifications for A-USC components. It is also important to place the technology into the hands of utility
operations and maintenance personnel to gain industry acceptance. The most important step is to provide a plant
design that is high performing and cost acceptable.


The U.S. Department of Energy and the Ohio Coal Development Office support for the A-USC Materials
Development project is greatly appreciated. The efforts of industry-wide organizations have fostered an environment
of cooperation in working toward the common pre-competitive needs for ASME Code materials development for A-
USC. The goal of these efforts is to advance the state-of-the-art for higher efficiency power generation using
abundant low cost coal while reducing carbon emissions of a major energy source of electric power.


[1] Viswanathan, R., et.al., U.S. Program on Materials Technology for Ultrasupercritical Coal-Fired Boilers, in
Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Advances in Materials Technology for Fossil Power Plants,
ASM International, (2008).
[2] Rao, K.R., (ed.), Energy and Power Generation Handbook, ASME, (New York, 2011), Chapter 17.
[3] Bennett, A.J., Weitzel P.S., Boiler Materials for Ultrasupercritical Coal Power Plants Task 1B, Conceptual
Design, Babcock & Wilcox Approach, USC T-3, Topical Report, DOE DE-FG26-01NT41175 & OCDO D-0020,
(February 2003).
[4] Weitzel, P.S., Steam Generator for Advanced Ultra-Supercritical Power Plants 700 to 760C, ASME Power
2011, Denver, CO, 2011.

[5] Weitzel, P.S., et al., Advanced Ultra-Supercritical Power Plant (700 to 760C) Design for Indian Coal, Power
Gen Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, October 2011.
[6] Kitto, J.B, Stultz, S.C., Steam/its generation and use, Edition 41, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, (Barberton,
OH, 2005).

Benson is a registered trademark of Siemens AG

B&W and Babcock & Wilcox are registered trademarks of Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc.

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