Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) Power Generation: More Energy from Less Fuel

This report discusses magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) power generation, which is a method for converting heat directly into electrical energy without the use of a rotating electrical power generator.

ISSUE BRIEF NUMBER I B 7 4 0 5 7 AUTHOR: C r a n e , Langdon Science P o l i c y Research Division THE LIBRARY OF C O N G R E S S CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE MAJOR ISSUES SYSTEM D A T E O R I G I N A T E D 01/10/79 D A T E UP3ATED 10/07/81 FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION C A L L 287-5700 1215 CRS- 1 ISSUE DEFINITION Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) power generation i s a method for converting heat directly into electrical energy without t h e use of a rotating electrical power generator. By eliminating the need f o r a rotating generator, a n MHD plant may be a b l e to produce a s much a s 5 0 % m o r e electricity per ton o f coal consumed than i s produced i n conventional power plants or other advanced coal-based systems being developed. MHD s y s t e m s a l s o h a v e the potential for decreasing the a m o u n t of sulfur dioxide released i n t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e when coal i s burned a n d f o r decreasing the a m o u n t of c o o l i n g water needed to d i s s i p a t e waste heat produced i n power plant operation. Though MHD power generation systems a r e simple i n principle, their successful de'velopment poses a number of major problems i n materials sciences a n d in plasma physics. in FY82, T h e R e a g a n Administration has requested n o funds f o r MHD R&D h o w e v e r , because i t f e e l s that further development o f t h i s process c a n best be handled by the private sector under t h e stimulus of t h e market. At present, nearly a l l MHD research i n t h e United S t a t e s i s funded through the Department of Energy. Proponents of MHD claim t h a t , given sufficient f u n d i n g , commercial power generation could begin in t h e early 1990s. The D e p a r t m e n t of Energy (DOE) has a i m e d at commercialization shortly a f t e r the year 2000. H o w e v e r , i t has recently accelerated its development p r o g r a m , s o that MHD commercialization might still occur in the 1 9 9 0 s if t h e current programs a r e continued. MHD h a s been a m o n g the most a c t i v e a r e a s o f joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. effort under t h e 1 9 7 4 cooperation a g r e e m e n t in energy. T h i s h a s proven u s e f u l f o r both participants. T h e Soviet Union i s considerably a h e a d of t h e United S t a t e s a n d will shortly begin construction of a commercial-scale MHD power plant. BACKGROUND AND POLICY ANALYSIS It may be possible to u s e MHD to convert heat from any i n t e n s e source (including nuclear reactions a n d geothermal sources) into electricity. H o w e v e r , i n the United States attention h a s focused o n MHD systems which u s e Coal combustion a s t h e heat source. Coal-Fired, Open-Cycle MHD S y s t e m s T h e principles behind MHD power generation a r e s i m p l e a n d have been k n o w n s i n c e 1831. However, the engineering necessary t o generate electricity cheaply by MHD i s complex. I n t h e first s t a g e of a coal-fired open-cycle MHD power p l a n t , coal i s burned i n a combuster a n d a m a t e r i a l called a seed (generally potassium carbonate, K2C03) i s added. T h e seed mixes with t h e g a s e o u s products o f combustion t o produce a very hot g a s that c o n t a i n s a l a r g e number of electrically c h a r g e d particles. (Electrically c h a r g e d gases a r e called plasmas.) T h i s electrically c h a r g e d gas i s a l l o w e d to e s c a p e from the combustion c h a m b e r through a nozzle. T h i s p r o d u c e s a high velocity stream of positively a n d negatively charged particles, which a r e d i r e c t e d t o large a n d powerful electromagnet. The pass between t h e c o i l s of a very magnetic field separates the c h a r g e d p a r t i c l e s , f o r c i n g the p o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e particles to move i n opposite d i r e c t i o n s s o t h a t they c o l l i d e with CRS- 2 IB74057 UPDATE-10/07/81 two different electrical collector plates, o n e of which becomes the p o s i t i v e , This generator. a n d t h e other t h e negative, electrical terminal of t h e MHD F r O d U C e S a d i r e c t current (D.C.), which must then be converted to a n a l t e r n a t i n g c u r r e n t (A.C.) to be compatible with current utility systems. - T h e main a d v a n t a g e of this process of electricity generation over t h e u s u a l method of generation using steam or gas turbines i s t h a t there a r e n o moving parts, a n d no parts exposed to high temperature steam corrosion. This e n a b l e s the g a s e s to enter the generator a t temperatures a s high a s 2 8 0 0 d e g r e e s Celsius (5000 degrees Farenheit) a s opposed t o 1 7 0 0 d e g r e e s C e l s i u s for advanced t u r b i n e systems being developed. According t o the l a w s o f thermodynamics, this higher temperature makes more of t h e energy released by the burning of t h e coal available f o r conversion to electricity. Not all of t h e plasma gas i s utilized in the MHD process. T h e excess g a s f l o w s o u t of t h e MHD generator a t a temperature of approximately 2100 d e g r e e s Celsius. T h e s u b s t a n t i a l heat energy remaining in t h e gas must b e used for t h e process to b e economically feasible. P a r t i s used i n t h e a i r preheater which raises the temperature o f the a i r gcing into t h e c o m b u s t e r s o that t h e c o a l c a n be burned a t the high temperatures required. H o w e v e r , most o f t h e h e a t from t h e combustion gases i s used to heat water to run a steam t u r b i n e s i m i l a r to t h o s e i n conventional power plants. In a c o m m e r c i a l o p e n - c y c l e MHD power s t a t i o n , a b o u t half of t h e electricity will be generated i n t h e MHD " t o p p i n g cycle" a n d t h e other half o f the power will be produced i n the steam " b o t t o m i n g cycle." T h e system described above i s referred to a s o p e n - c y c i e , because the combustion g a s e s a r e exhausted to t h e a t m o s p h e r e through smokestacks a f t e r a s much heat energy a s possible h a s been extracted. A t least 9 5 % o f t h e seed must be recovered from t h e e x h a u s t g a s e s i n o r d e r t o be recycled to achieve maximum economy and for environmental considerations. T h e technology f o r removing seed particles from t h e e x h a u s t g a s e s a p p e a r s to be w e l l in hand. The i n t e g r a t i o n of all the subsystems, especially the c o m b u s t e r , g e n e r a t o r , a n d h e a t recovery s y s t e m s , i s a complex affair. T h e performance c r i t e r i a a c h i e v a b l e by each subsystem a f f e c t s the d e s i g n of t h e o t h e r s u b s y s t e m s , a n d many tradeoffs must b e made. Closed-Cycle MHD S y s t e m s In closed-cycle MHD generating systems h e a t from t h e combustion of f o s s i l f u e l s o r other s o u r c e s such a s a nuclear reactor i s transferred t o a s e p a r a t e w o r k i n g fluid. T h e working f l u i d may be a seeded gas or a l i q u i d , but must b e a conductor o f electricity. T h e generation process i s t h e s a m e , though t h e working f l u i d i s not allowed to leave the system a n d i s recycled. The c o n t a i n m e n t of t h e working f l u i d i n a closed c y c l e a l l o w s t h e u s e o f substances which a r e better suited for MHD power g e n e r a t i o n than seeded c o m b u s t i o n gases. H o w e v e r , the e x t r a step of transferring heat from t h e o r i g i n a l s o u r c e t o t h e working f l u i d requires lower o p e r a t i n g t e m p e r a t u r e s , t h u s sacrificing t h e main a d v a n t a g e o f open-cycle s y s t e m s o v e r t u r b i n e systems. F e w p e o p l e believe this approach to be a s promising a s t h e open-cycle a p p r o a c h f o r base load power generation. H o w e v e r , s i n c e i t may h a v e a d v a n t a g e s under other load c o n d i t i o n s and because t h e problems involved a r e q u i t e d i f f e r e n t than t h o s e to b e solved f o r open-cycle systems, closed-cycle s y s t e m s continue to receive attention. CRS- 3 Efficiency Proponents of MHD s t r e s s the efficiency a d v a n t a g e of MHD systems o v e r alternatives. Power plant efficiency i s t h e ratio of t h e electrical energy produced to the heat energy liberated from t h e f u e l consumed. Commercial MHD power plants a r e expected to have efficiencies of a b o u t 50%, a n d perhaps e v e n 50% a s designs a r e improved. This compares favorably w i t h a maximum efficiency of 4 0 % f o r turbine systems. T h u s MHD s y s t e m s could g e t a s much a s o n e and one-half times a s much electricity from a ton of c o a l a s competing systems. T h e higher efficiency a l s o m e a n s that MHD systems would release l e s s waste heat i n t o the environment per tan of coal burned. Comparison With Other P o w e r Systems P h a s e I1 of the Energy Conversion Alternatives Study (ECAS), completed i n 1 9 7 6 and jointly funded by the Energy Research and Development Administration, National Science F o u n d a t i o n , and the National Aeronautics a n d Space Administration, examined conceptual designs o f 1 1 coal-based power systems, including a n open-cycle MHD system with a steam bottoming cycle. T h e MHD system was f o u n d to have the highest o v e r a l l e f f i c i e n c y of t h e systems studied. E C A S a l s o found that t h e cost of electricity produced by MHD using 1 9 7 6 fuel prices was o n e of t h e lowest of the systems studied. MHD power might be relatively cheaper a t t o d a y ' s inflated fuel prices because o f .its high f u e l efficiency. T h e E C A S a l s o estimated t h e development time needed before construction o f the longest a commercial power plant could begin. T h e MHD system had development t i m e , a t 1 9 y e a r s , of the s y s t e m s studied. In a d d i t i o n , t h e study rated 2 1 i n t a n g i b l e criteria which influence power plant selection. In the MHD system r a t e d t h e category of "probability of develoment success,^ "poor." T h i s largely reflects the long estimated development t i m e and the ECAS team's v i e w that several technological advances a r e necessary before commercialization c a n begin. Proponents of MHD d i s a g r e e with t h i s view a n d claim that commercialization is only a matter of design and scaling u p o f present experimental s y s t e m s with no problems remaining which require a breakthrough i n current knowledge. Environmental Considerations T h e high efficiency o f MHD power s y s t e m s should result i n significant reductions in thermal pollution. Advanced MHD s y s t e m s could produce a s l i t t l e a s 4 4 % a s much waste heat per kilowatt a s other coal-based technologies a n d o n l y 25% a s much a s present nuclear power plants. The this reduced requirements of cooling water needed f o r MHD plants which implies could be a n i m p o r t a n t consideration i n many regions. In addition, high efficiency in MHD systems would r e q u i r e l e s s c o a l to b e mined than f o r other coal-based systems. This might reduce' the substantial environmental a n d health problems associated with Coal mining. L o w levels of e m i s s i o n s of s u l f u r o x i d e s i s a n o t h e r environmental a d v a n t a g e o f MHD s y s t e m s relative to o t h e r coal-based systems. As t h e combustion products i n a n MHD plant c o o l , t h e sulfur from t h e c o a l c o m b i n e s chemically with t h e potassium from t h e seed a n d f o r m s potassium sulfate (K2S04). T h i s solid material i s much easier to r e m o v e from t h e power p l a n t exhaust than t h e g a s e o u s oxides of sulfur which normally r e s u l t from c o a l combustion. No f l u e gas scrubbing system a v a i l a b l e today c a n r e m o v e s u l f u r dioxide a s effectively a s the potassium seed reaction in t h e MHD process. T h e high temperature of combustion i n MHD s y s t e m s c a n produce higher (a component o f photochemical smog) than levels of o x i d e s of nitrogen produced in other coal burning processes. H o w e v e r , i t i s expected that t h i s can be controlled by introducing a 2-stage combustion process. It appears that control o f nitrogen o x i d e emission levels to levels below t h o s e proposed by EPA for the 1 9 8 0 s will n o t impose a significant penalty o n performance n o r require expensive add-on pollution control devices. Fly a s h , the small non-combustible particles which a r e carried along with the exhaust gases of coal combustion, i s a potential pollution problem for all coal burning systems. T h e high temperature combustion in MHD systems produces particles which a r e much s m a l l e r than those produced i n c o n v e n t i o n a l power plants a n d which may have a higher percentage o f harmful t r a c e elements. I t a p p e a r s that i t will be m o r e costly to r e m o v e these particles from the KHD stack emissions than from those of conventional c o a l burning systems. Department o f Energy Baseline MHD Development Program The Department of Energy has been criticized by Congress f o r the lack o f a comprehensive program development plan f o r MHD, which would i n c l u d e detailed timetables for a c h i e v i n g specified o b j e c t i v e s , plans f o r utilization o f A facilities, cost estimates,. and o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o evaluate t h e program. draft program plan produced by t h e D O E i n March 1 9 7 9 , described a b a s e l i n e plan for progress towards commercialization o f MHD i n t h e l a t e 1 9 9 0 s proceeding through t h r e e phases. T h e f i r s t phase was to b e development a n d testing o f MHD c o r e components a t u p t o 5 0 MWt (MWt i s thermal megawatts, t h e power released by the coal combustion). T h e second phase was to be a pilot-scale plant with a n MHD topping cycle and a steam bottoming plant. T h i s p l a n t , called t h e Engineering T e s t Facility (ETF) i s mandated by P.L. plan 9 3 - 4 0 4 to be built i n t h e S t a t e of Montana. T h e 1979 d r a f t program called f o r construction of this plant of approximately 2 5 0 MWt to begin in 1986. Operation o f the 250 MWt ETF w a s to lay t h e groundwork f o r t h e third phase of development;. a full-scale commercial demonstration plant of a b o u t 1 0 0 0 MWe (electrical megawatts generated), which, according to t h e 1 9 7 9 p l a n , would begin operation i n 1997. T h e f o c u s o f phase I of the development program i s t h e Component Development a n d Integration F a c i l i t y (CDIF). P l a n s a r e f o r major MHD components, such a s combusters and generators, to be designed a n d built by several contractors, a n d then integrated with other c o m p o n e n t s at t h i s facility where performance tests necessary for the i m p r o v e m e n t of t h e s e components and ultimate scale-up to t h e size o f t h e ETF w i l l be made. Construction of t h e C D I F i n B u t t e , Montana, i s n e a r i n g completion and t h e f i r s t combuster has a r r i v e d o n the site. Electricity g e n e r a t i o n i s scheduled to begin in April 1981. Another DOE-supported testing f a c i l i t y i s the coal-fired flow facility (CFFF) to complement t h e work a t t h e CDIF with simulation o f c o m p l e t e MHD/steam systems a t lower power levels. A heat and seed recovery system will a l s o be developed a t the CFFF. T h i s f a c i l i t y , i s being operated by the University o f T e n n e s s e e Space Institute. S u p p o r t e r s h a v e claimed t h a t commercialization could be speeded u p by several y e a r s with a m o r e a m b i t i o u s CRS- 5 IB74057 UPDATE-10/07/81 program. Early in 1 9 7 9 , the Electric Power Research Institute presented a conceptual design for a commercial MHD plant which would b e s m a l l e r and less efficient t h a n the first commercial plant of t h e D O E baseline plan, but which might be developed earlier. Based o n work d o n e by the STD Research Corp. a n d Westinghouse Electric Corp., a 5 0 0 MWe plant estimated to cost $940/kwe in 1 9 7 8 dollars to build w a s described. In December 1 9 7 9 , D O E announced that it would be a s k i n g C o n g r e s s to approve f u n d i n g for a n accelerated MHD development program. This n e w plan beginning in 1 9 8 2 calls for d o u b l i n g the capacity of t h e CDIF to 1 0 0 MW(t) and doubling t h e size of the ETF, which will be developed beginning i n 1 9 8 4 , to 500 MW(t). According to this p l a n , the ETF would i n c l u d e s o m e of the simplified first-generation ideas of the EPRI design and would be the f i n a l s t e p required before private industry could move forward with commercial MHD plants in t h e early 1990s. This n e w plan, while increasing DOE'S MHD development budget by a b o u t $120 million during t h e 1 9 8 0 s , a c c o r d i n g to t h e D e p a r t m e n t , could save $ 1 billion d o l l a r s of F e d e r a l f u n d s and speed t h e introduction of commercial MHD by eliminating a n a d d i t i o n a l demonstration stage after t h e ETF. This n e w development plan has replaced the old baseline d e v e l o p m e n t plan and some program milestones sketched o u t in t h e F Y 8 1 D O E F o s s i l E n e r g y Program S u m m a r y Document (gold book). However, a detailed program development plan incorporating the n e w schedule h a s not been issued. In a d d i t i o n to D O E ' S development program, early commercial a p p l i c a t i o n of MXD technology could be possible i f efforts underway by Southern California Edison Co. a n d Roldiva Inc. of Pittsburgh a r e successful. These companies a r e considering retrofitting a 50-75MW MHD generator to an e x i s t i n g 1 2 5 M W oil-fired plant. Initially this p l a n t would burn o i l , but would switch to c o a l when a s u i t a b l e combustor becomes available. This m i g h t occur b e f o r e 1990. While i t i s unlikely that a t this stage of development t h e c o s t s of 75 MW o f n e w power from the added power would be competitive with conventional sources, i t would have the potential a d v a n t a g e o f c o n v e r t i n g t h e existing S o u t h e r n C a l i f o r n i a oil-fired plant t o c o a l a n d expanding their capacity without obtaining a new site. T h i s plant could be o p e r a t i o n a l a s early a s 1985. Major MHD C o n t r a c t o r s About 25 institutions i n 1 5 s t a t e s receive f u n d i n g from t h e D e p a r t m e n t of Energy a s p a r t of the MHD development program. Half of t h e s e a r e p r i v a t e , industrial c o n c e r n s and most of the r e s t a r e universities and Government laboratories. S o m e of t h e major contractors a n d their primary contributions a r e given below: Argonne National Laboratory cooperation with Soviet Union. - Magnet design, Arnold Engineering Development C e n t e r (U.S. generator testing, a t high power. program Air Force) - coordination, Short duration - Design, f a b r i c a t i o n , a n d d e v e l o p m e n t of Avco E v e r e t t Research Laboratory generators, c o m b u s t e r s , a n d other components. Babcock a n d Wilcox Inc. - Heat a n d seed recovery system f o r the CFFF. CRS- 6 Fluidyne Engineering.Corp. General Electric Company Kaiser Engineers - - - IB74057 UPDATE-10/07/81 Air preheater development. Conceptual system d e s i g n , closed-cycle study. Construction of the CDIF. Massachusetts Institute of s t u d i e s , theoretical studies. Technology - Magnet development, system - Montana Energy and MHD Research and D e v e l o p m e n t Institute (MERDI) Preparations for and operation a n d management of t h e C D I F , environmental studies. Pittsburgh Energy Research Center - Ralph M. Parsons Co. R e y n o l d s Metals Cc. - - Combuster development. Design of the CDIF. Electrode design. Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International Stanford University STD Research TRW - - - - Combuster development. High magnetic field g e n e r a t o r development. S y s t e m s a n a l y s e s and performance assessments. Combuster development. University of T e n n e s s e e Space Institute - Construction a n d operation CFFF. Design and fabrication o r procurement o f c o m p o n e n t s f o r t h e CFFF. Westinghouse Electric Corp. i n t e g r a t i o n , generator fabrication. Electrode development, CDIF of testing S o v i e t and Other Foreign MHD Programs T h e S o v i e t Union h a s directed i t s efforts i n MHD t o w a r d s rapid d e v e l o p m e n t of commercial plants u s i n g natural g a s a s t h e fuel. It plans to u s e k n o w l e d g e gained from operation o f these plants to t a c k l e the more d i f f i c u l t The Soviet problem of coal burning i n the second generation of power plants. U-25 system i s presently the largest continuously o p e r a t i n g MHD facility in t h e world. This and a n o t h e r S o v i e t experimental MHD f a c i l i t y a r e t h e O n l y The two MHD plants to p r o v i d e power t o a Utility grid o n a regular basis. two f a c i l i t i e s supply the Moscow power grid with a b o u t 25 MW of electricity. Ground has been broken for a 500 electrical megawatt c o m m e r c i a l demonstration plant a t Ryazan (about 1 2 0 miles southeast of Moscow). Completion o f t h i s p l a n t , which will p r o d u c e a b o u t t w o to three times a s much electricity a s t h e ETF, i s scheduled f o r 1985. T h e r e has been significant cooperation between t h e United S t a t e s a n d the About 5 % o f t h e F Y 7 9 spending o n MHD was devoted U.S.S.R. i n MHD s i n c e 1973. to the U.S./u.S.S.R. c o o p e r a t i v e program. A most important step was the supply of a 40-ton superconducting magnet b u i l t by t h e Argonne National Laboratory to the S o v i e t U-25 f a c i l i t y i n 1977. Americans h a v e been present a t a l l tests using t h i s magnet. U.S. participants in the cooperation program generally a g r e e t h a t significant k n o w l e d g e i s gained by both sides. U.S.-Soviet cooperation i n MHD h a s been slowed by t h e U.S. response to CRS- 7 IB74057 UPDATE-10/07/81 the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Shipment to Moscow of a 27-foot MHD channel, designed by MEPPSCO of Boston and built by Westinghouse a t a cost of $10 million, which was scheduled for Jan. 2 0 , 1 9 8 0 , has been postponed indefinitely by the U.S. State Department. Analysis o f t h e most r e c e n t test results from the U-25 facility using the American m a g n e t i s proceeding. According to the cooperation a g r e e m e n t , t h e Soviet U n i o n must notify t h e United States six weeks before conducting f u t u r e tests a t this facility. The State Department h a s announced that U.S. participation i n f u t u r e t e s t s will be decided on a c a s e by c a s e basis. T h e United S t a t e s and the Netherlands h a v e recently a g r e e d to cooperate in the development of a closed-cycle MHD system. T h e United States will provide key components for a joint test facility to b e installed a t t h e Technical University of Eindhoven i n the Netherlands. in addition to the United S t a t e s , the U.S.S.R. a n d the Netherlands, several other c o u n t r i e s , including Australia, Austria, t h e P e o p l e ' s Republic of China, t h e Federal Republic of G e r m a n y , I n d i a , I t a l y , J a p a n , and P o l a n d , have MHD programs. Exchanges o f information a n d conferences a r e organized by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Although the principle of MHD power generation has been k n o w n s i n c e 1 8 3 1 , it was not until 1 9 5 9 that a n MHD generator, built a t t h e Avco Everett Research L a b o r a t o r y , was a b l e t o produce electric power. T h r o u g h o u t the 1 9 6 0 s , research continued a t several private industrial research laboratories with o n l y o c c a s i o n a l funding supplied by t h e F e d e r a l G o v e r n m e n t a n d utiiity companies. In 1 9 6 7 , a group of private companies proposed t h a t the Federal Government s h a r e half the cost of a development program l e a d i n g to a pilot plant. T h i s proposal was not successful partly because t h e emphasis within the Government was o n nuclear power a t t h a t time. Significant Federal funding of KHD research and development began in 1 9 7 1 under the O f f i c e of Coal Research (OCR) in the Department of the Interior. A s the t a b l e below i n d i c a t e s , Federal involvement i n MHD h a s continued to g r o w under t h e OCR and later t h e Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) a n d the Department of Energy (DOE). Year FY 1 9 7 1 FY 1 9 7 6 plus T Q Appropriation (millions) $ 0.6 OCR 37.3 ERDA CRS- 8 IB74057 FY 1 9 7 9 77.0 DOE FY 1 9 8 2 60.0 " FY 1981 60.5 FY 1 9 8 2 0.0 UPDATE-10/07/81 (Carter budget request) (Reagan revision) " (Reagan request) Nearly a l l of t h e funding for MHD development in r e c e n t years has been provided by t h e F e d e r a l Government, with l e s s than 2% coming from the electric utility industry. Most of t h e funding i s f o r open-cycle MHD. In F Y 8 1 only $ 1 r,illion was appropriated for t h e closed-cycle program. HEARINGS U.S. Congress. House. Committee on S c i e n c e a.nd Technology. Subcommittee o n Fossil and Nuclear Energy R e s e a r c h , Development and Demonstration. MHD Program review. Oversight Hearings, 95th C o n g r e s s , 4 7 0 p. 2d session. May 2 , 4 , a n d Aug. 3 , 1978. Vol. 1 1 . No. 76. Z E P O R T S AND CONGRESSIONAL D O C U M E N T S U.S. General Accounting Office. Magnetonydrodynamics: promising technology f o r efficiently generating electricity from coal. Feb. 1 1 , 1980. EMD-80-14. a U.S. Congress. House. C o m m i t t e e on S c i e n c e and Technology. Subcommittee o n Fossil and Nuclear Energy R e s e a r c h , Development a n d Demonstration. Staff report on MHD technology: program issues and review; Oversight. 1978. 9 5 t h C o n g r e s s , 2d session. Committee print. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1978. 8 6 p. serial Q Q , Vol. 5. CHRONOLOGY OF E V E N T S 03/11/81 -- 06/00/80 -- T h e Reagan budget revision reduced the MHD program's planned F Y 8 1 obligations to $60.5 million from a n appropriated level of $67.0 million, a n d eliminated a l l f u n d s for MHD research i n FY82. Representatives from more than 1 2 c o u n t r i e s attended t h e S e v e n t h International Conference on MHD Electrical P o w e r Generation a t the Massachusetts I n s t i t u t e of Technology. F r a n k McCracken o f Southern California Edison remarked that MHD suffers from a n a l m o s t t o t a l lack of interest by utility companies a n d commercialization CRS- 9 IB74057 UPDATE-10/07/81 may not o c c u r until a f t e r the y e a r 2000. 12/11/79 -- 11/19/79 -- 06/20/79 -- 03/00/79 -- 03/00/79 -- R o l d i v a Inc. of Pittsburgh and t h e Southern C a l i f o r n i a Edison Co. agreed to retrofit a 50-75 megawatt coal-burning KHD g e n e r a t o r t o a n existing oil-fired powerplant, if f e a s i b i l i t y studies a r e favorable. T h e studies began i n 1 9 7 7 a n d a contract f o r construction could be negotiated by the end o f 1979. 02/00/79 -- Avco E v e r e t t Research Laboratory f e d 2 0 0 k w of e l e c t r i c i t y , produced from a n MHD g e n e r a t o r , i n t o the power grid of t h e Massachusetts Electric Co. f o r 1 5 hours. T h i s was the first MHD-generated electricity to b e f e d into a utility grid in t h e United States. 11/14/78 -- T h e D e p a r t m e n t of Energy announced that a c o m b u s t e r designed and built by t h e Avco E v e r e t t Research L a b o r a t o r y a r r i v e d i n B u t t e , Montana. This i s the f i r s t major c o m p o n e n t f o r t h e C D I F t o be delivered. 10/00/78 -- 08/03/78 -- Acting Assistant D O E Secretary G e o r g e Fumich told t h e S e n a t e Energy C o m m i t t e e that D O E will be asking C o n g r e s s for a $17.5 million s u p p l e m e n t a l a p p r o p r i a t i o n for MHD f o r F Y 8 0 f o r an accelerated development program. T h e plan c a l l s for d o u b l i n g t h e s i z e of both t h e CDIF and t h e ETF. T h e ETF would then be the f i n a l s t e p before commercialization of MHD which could begin i n the early 1990s. ~ v c oEverett Research L a b o r a t o r y , Inc. announced that i t has successfully operated a 2 0 MW(t) MHD coal combustor a t over 5 0 0 0 degrees f a h r e n h e i t and nearly f o u r a t m o s p h e r e s of pressure. T h e combustor i s o n e of three competitive designs funded by D O E prior t o a w a r d i n g a contract f o r the 5 0 MW(t) combustor for t h e CDIF. T h e Department of Energy announced that it has selected Babcock a n d Wilcox Inc. for a c o n t r a c t t o d e v e l o p t h e h e a t and seed recovery system to be tested a t the C o a l F i r e d F l o w Facility. Information gained from t h i s effort will b e used to design a similar system for t h e ETF. T h e four-and-a-half y e a r contract i s targeted a t $20 million. T h e Division of Magnetohydronamics of t h e Dep'artment o f Energy produced a D r a f t Program P l a n For Open C y c l e Magnetohydrodynamics. T h e Avco Everett Research L a b o r a t o r y completed a 500-hour t e s t o f a MHD g e n e r a t o r with a power o u t p u t o f 2 2 0 kilowatts. T h e relatively minor d a m a g e to t h e electrodes i n d i c a t e s that a generator which can o p e r a t e for 2000 hours i s w i t h i n reach. T h e S u b c o m m i t t e e o n F o s s i l and Nuclear Energy R e s e a r c h , D e v e l o p m e n t , a n d D e m o n s t r a t i o n of t h e H o u s e C o m m i t t e e on Science a n d T e c h n o l o g y completed hearings on oversight of the U.S. MHD program. 01/18/78 -- T h e University of T e n n e s s e e Space Institute reported on experiments that reduced nitrogen o x i d e emissions in their coal-fired MHD system to well below EPA standards through control of the combustion process. 07/00/77 -- A superconducting magnet weighing 40 tons built a t t h e Argonne National Laboratory was delivered to t h e S o v i e t Institute of High Temperatures. It will be used i n joint U.S.-Soviet tests at t h e U-25 MHD facility. 05/00/77 -- T H e University of Tennessee Space Institute announced that tests have shown that the potassium used a s a seed in MHD power generating systems will remove a t l e a s t 9 5 % of t h e sulfur from the coal burned, thereby eliminating the need f o r additional costly pollution c o n t r o l devices. 04/00/77 -- S o v i e t scientists operated the U-25 MHD pilot power plant for 2 5 0 hours at 12.4 MWt. T h i s was t h e longest operation of a n MHD plant a t this power level. 12/00/76 -- T h e last part of t h e P h a s e I1 ECAS r e p o r t w a s issued. It showed MHD to be a m o n g the most promising energy conversion alternatives available. 05/15/76 -- ERDA held a groundbreaking ceremony f o r , t h e MHD Component Development a n d Integration Facility (CDIF) in B u t t e , Montana. 39/05/75 -- ERDA announded the creation of a Division o f Magnetohydrodynamics under its Fossil Energy Directorate. 08/31/74 -- P u b l i c l a w 9 3 - 4 0 4 was enacted. It appropriated f u n d s f o r MHD research f o r FY75 a n d stipulated that they be used i n part t o i n i t i a t e design of a n MHD Engineering T e s t Facility with a n o u t p u t of a t l e a s t 5 0 0 MW t o be located in Montana. 07/00/73 -- United States and S o v i e t experts prepared a program of cooperation i n MHD power generation within t h e framework of t h e 1 9 7 2 g e n e r a l a g r e e m e n t on U.S.-U.S.S.R. scientific and technical cooperation. 03/00/71 -- T h e world's largest MHD f a c i l i t y , the S o v i e t U-25 f a c i l i t y , began operation. 04/30/69 -- T h e Office of Science a n d Technology issued a r e p o r t entitled MHD f o r Central Station P o w e r Generation. T h i s report w a s t h e stimulus f o r the initiation o f the MHD research program i n t h e Office of Coal Research. 00/00/59 -- T h e world's f i r s t s u c c e s s f u l MHD g e n e r a t o r , the Mark I , designed and built by t h e Avco Everett Research Laboratory, a c h i e v e d a power level o f 1 0 k i l o w a t t s f o r 10 seconds. 00/00/1831 -- Michael F a r a d a y conducted experiments which proved that electricity could be generated by a c o n d u c t i n g fluid moving through a magnetic field. This i s t h e principle of magnetohydrodynamic power generation. ADDITIONAL R E F E R E N C E SOURCES Britton, Peter. MHD generators: m o r e k i l o w a t t s from a t o n of coal. Popular science, v. 2 1 3 , August 1978: 76-79, 156. C a r l s o n , E. et al. Executive and legislative history F e d e r a l f o s s i l energy program: magnetohydrodynamics. McLean, 1 vol., various pagings. Virginia, MITRE Corp., November 1979. MTR--79W00413--08. Energy conversion alternatives study--ECAS--General Electric phase I1 f i n a l report. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off. P r e p a r e d for National Aeronautics a n d S p a c e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , Energy Research and Development Administration and N a t i o n a l S c i e n c e Foundation. NASA CR 1 3 4 9 4 9 , 3 vols. in 6 parts. D e c e m b e r 1976. Energy conversion alternatives study--ECAS--United T e c h n o l o g i e s Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off. phase I1 final report. Prepared for National Aeronautics and S p a c e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , Energy Research and Development Administration and N a t i o n a l 1 vol. (various pagings). S c i e n c e Foundation. NASA CR 134955. November 1976. Energy c o n v e r s i o n alternatives study--ECAS--Westinghouse p h a s e I1 f i n a l report. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off. Prepared for National Aeronautics and S p a c e Administration, E n e r g y Research and Development Administration a n d National S c i e n c e Foundation. NASA CR 134942. 3 vols. November 1976. General E l e c t r i c C o r p o r a t e Research and Development. Comparative study and evalaution of advanced cycle systems. Palo Alto, E l e c t r i c P o w e r Research Institute, 1978. 1 vol. (various p.agings). Levi, Enrico. MHD's target: payoff by 2000. vol. 1 5 , May 1978: 46-51. IEEE S p e c t r u m , Matray, P. and G. Huddleston. MHD emissions a n d their controls. Environmental s c i e n c e & technology, v. 1 3 , October 1979: 1208-1213. Melcher, Joan. T h e promise of MHD. 1977: 12-17. E n v i r o n m e n t , v. 2 0 , March Petrick, M. and B. Ya. Shumyatsky. Open-cycle magnetohydrodynamic e l e c t r i c a l power generation. Argonne, I l l i n o i s , A r g o n n e National L a b o r a t o r y , 1978. 7 0 7 p. Sullivan, A.M. MHD coal power g o e s o n t h e grid. v. 8 4 , September 1979. 147-151. Coal a g e , U.S. Department of Energy. Assistant Secretary f o r Energy Technology and Assistant Secretary for Environment. Environmental Development P l a n (EDP) Magnetohydrodynamic Program. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off. May 1979. ----- Assistant Secretary for Energy Technology. Fossil energy program summary document. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., February 1980. 484 p. ----- D i v i s i o n of Magnetohydrodynamics. Draft program plan f o r o p e n c y c l e magnetohydrodynamics. Washington, Dept. of 1 v o l , March 1979. Various pagings. Energy. U.S. G e n e r a l Accounting Office. Magnetohydrodynamics: A promising technology for efficiently generating electricity from coal. R e p o r t t o the Congress. Feb. 1 1 , 1980. Washington, EMD-80-14. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1980. 5 0 p.