IMPULSE - Advanced Industrial Manufacture of Next-Generation MARBN Steel for Cleaner Fossil Plant

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Materials


IMPULSE will work with a novel "MARBN" high temperature steel, recently developed in the TSB funded project "IMPACT"
and shown to offer capability for an increase in steam power plant temperature of 25 degrees C. IMPULSE, whose
consortium includes most IMPACT members together with new pipe, welding and innovative research partners, will take
MARBN from the laboratory on to full-scale industrial manufacture of ingot castings, pipework, and weldments. This will
improve efficiency and reliability of current and future steel-based steam power plant, and thus increase security of supply
and reduce cost and carbon emissions.
MARBN 8-tonne ingot casting technology will be developed, and following high temperature (to 1250 degrees C) testing
and manufacturing simulation, two full-scale pipe extrusion trials will be undertaken, with product validation by testing and
electron metallography. Matching welding consumables will also be developed, qualified and tested.
Long term creep and creep-fatigue data generation will feed into performance validation, materials standardisation, and
pressure vessel design codes. Interaction with the European KMM-VIN collaboration will enable constructive interchange
with parallel European projects.
Loughborough University (LU) will make use of its strong background in characterisation and thermodynamic and kinetic
modelling to provide a thorough investigation of the microstructures of MARBN after processing and welding in order to
inform manufacturing routes and required heat treatments. In addition, LU will thoroughly investigate data relating to the creep performance of existing power plant steels to provide a direct comparison to MARBN to encourage its use within the
commercial sector.

Planned Impact

The proposed project will enable industrial partners, Doosan Babcock, Wyman-Gordon, Goodwin Steel Castings, Alstom
Power, Metrode Products and E.ON Technologies and their supply chains to gain market share on behalf of UK plc. in a
growing global energy market, where the need exists for larger and more efficient coal fired plant. In order to deliver
technology solutions, it is necessary to gain improved knowledge about materials' performance during processing and
subsequent service, together with new processing routes for component manufacture and consumable design for the
welding of large scale components. The project will also further develop collaborations between industry, research
organisations and academia - a vital mix for market success.
In the most general sense, the UK population and economy will benefit from this research programme in that it will enable
the UK combustion power generation sector to maintain a cost-competitive, environmentally-acceptable generation option.
It will also create and safeguard a significant number of UK jobs in the manufacturing sector.
The research will also contribute to meeting nationally and internationally agreed targets for CO2 emissions. For next
generation power plant with carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS), better materials performance is the key to
improved efficiency, and in turn to both cost and emissions savings. The use of MARBN has the potential to increase
operating temperature of plant by up to 25 degrees C. This 25 degrees C uprating will increase efficiency by approximately
1%, reducing costs by at least 2%, and could save 1M tonnes of carbon per annum in the UK alone, even if CCS is not
fitted. Flexible, abated fossil plant will enable supply security as the process of decarbonisation progresses.
Results will be disseminated as appropriate to UK industrialists and academics through fora such as the Institute of
Materials Energy Materials group, and the Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum; in Europe through the
Materials for Energy network within KMM-VIN; and worldwide via international conferences, workshops, and international
standardisation committees.


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publication icon
Guo J (2019) Influence of weld thermal cycle and post weld heat treatment on the microstructure of MarBN steel in International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping

publication icon
Guo J. (2016) Microstructural characterisation of creep tested 9Cr welds for MarBN steel in Advances in Materials Technology for Fossil Power Plants - Proceedings from the 8th International Conference

Description During this project, a group of industrial and academic partners attempted to take a newly developed steel alloy from laboratory scale trials to successful, large-scale production. This involved the design and creation of a large casting to be produced into a large steam pipe, design and analysis of weld filler material tailored to this pipe material and testing of the material in creep conditions (slow high-temperature deformation).

The work resulted in the creation of the filler material and analysis of its performance. This is a material now available on the commercial market to the joining of this new steel. A large steam pipe was designed and delivered by the consortium which is now being tested within other projects. We were able to complete analysis of a steel tube that had experienced service conditions and found that the tube is performing very well in comparison to conventional material.

Contribution by the Loughborough University team involved analysis of microstructures from different product forms including parent material and weld consumables, results f which were used during the development of the products within the project.
Exploitation Route The largest beneficiaries of this work are the manufacturers of steels for powerplant applications. The work from this project will help to inform their processes and to understand the performance of the material in its intended applications. Consortium members originate from UK-based interested parties so will immediately benefit from this research. Wider, results from this project were and continue to be disseminated at international conferences and European industrial groups (e.g. KMM-VIN and European Creep Collaborative Committee), who are able to test and develop our findings. Papers have been published within the academic literature and presented at conferences.
Sectors Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description Findings from this project have been used to develop industrial practices for the production of advanced powerplant steels by the project partners. The project demonstrated the 1st in-service exposure of the material and has also led to the 1st production of a large-scale pipe of this material through industrial manufacturing processes. Work from Loughborough University has been used to characterise the material and to suggest and test heat treatments to be used to achieve required material properties. Results from this project are being used to help provide evidence for material performance of this new material so that it can enter the market for sale by our industrial partners within a separate InnovateUK funded project.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

Description InnovateUK Smart Grant
Amount £1,522,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 37569 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 12/2023
Description Rushlight Show 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact We hosted a stand at the exhibition and took questions from attendees during the event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017