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India takes first step towards ultra super-critical boilers

Friday January 20, 2012 03:06:01 PM, v.jagannathan, IANS

Chennai: The first step towards India's own advanced ultra super- critical boiler for coal-fired power plants has been taken with the realisation of two materials that can tolerate very high temperature.

"We have come out with two materials that can tolerate very high temperatures for manufacturing India's advanced ultra super-critical boiler. It is a joint efforts of IGCAR, MIDHANI and NFC," S.C. Chetal, director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) told IANS.

IGCAR, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (MIDHANI) and Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) have taken up the project to secure energy security through efficient firing of coal.

"While IGCAR with its experience and expertise in handling materials came out with the composition of the two alloys, stainless steel 304H and nickel based super alloy 617, MIDHANI manufactured the product and NFC converted the alloys into tubes," said T. Jayakumar, director, Metallurgy and Materials Group at IGCAR.

He said the nickel-based super alloy 617 is made to order by few manufacturers in the world and is not available off the shelf.

IGCAR, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and NTPC have joined hands to design, develop and build advanced super ultra-critical boilers.

As per plans, the IGCAR will design and develop the 800 MW advanced ultra super-critical boiler that can operate at a pressure of 350 bar (a measure of steam pressure) and at a temperature of 700 degrees centigrade.

IGCAR has the expertise is in equipment design, development of materials that can operate at very high temperature. It will also draw out the equipment manufacturing codes and standards.

Power equipment major BHEL will manufacture the boiler and other equipments while power generator NTPC will be the end user to produce power.

"Once we realise the boiler, we want to put it into use in an existing NTPC site so as to save time in getting statutory clearances," said Baldev Raj, consultant for the project and a former IGCAR director.

The Indian government has proposed a National Mission for Development of Ultra Supercritical Technology for thermal power plants as the ninth mission under the National Action Plan for Climate Change under the guidance of R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to government.

According to Raj, nearly 60 percent of the materials needed for manufacturing advanced ultra super critical boilers are already available within India and only the remaining 40 percent of the high temperature tolerance metals are needed to be developed.

"We got a modest fund of Rs.5 crore for the development of the alloys and kick starting the research activities," Chetal said.

"By February BHEL is expected to prepare a detailed project proposal for the research and further funds are expected after that. Other aspects like the intellectual property rights (IPR) will be decided later," he said.

According to him, the research project will have an outlay of around Rs.1,300 crore and in two-and-a half year's time the design for the advanced ultra super critical boiler would be ready.

(v.jagannathan can be contacted at




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