Additive Manufacturing of Large Scale Heat Exchanger (Topic 18a)

Period of Performance: 06/12/2017 - 03/11/2018


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Physical Sciences, Inc.
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Concurrent Technologies Corporation
100 CTC Drive
Johnstown, PA 15904
Institution POC


Nickel super alloys, such as Inconel®, are leading candidates for fossil energy-based power production components due to their resilience in extreme environments. A significant technical roadblock to the implementation of nickel-based power plant systems is the inability to produce large-scale components in a cost competitive manner. We will address the problem of manufacturing large, low-cost superalloy components with a combination of innovations which includes directed laser deposition of Inconel for components up to 10 feet in length, and a hybrid additive/removal based manufacturing process. This Phase I program will develop the processing technology necessary to produce large high- performance extreme environment heat exchanger components by additive manufacturing. We will achieved this by utilizing directed energy deposition of Inconel. The Phase I program will also develop a hybrid additive/removal approach for large parts which will eliminate traditional manufacturing steps and greatly reduce production time, enabling large-scale additive manufacturing to compete directly with current industry standard manufacturing processes. The transition to higher performance power generation energy cycles, such as supercritical carbon dioxide cycles, will offer tremendous benefit in power plant efficiency, cost, and safety. Successful development of an additive manufacturing approach for large extreme environment components is considered an enabling technology for next generation power plant heat exchangers. The manufacturing technology in this Phase I program will be developed for commercial heat exchanger components by 2022. The long term market opportunity for these components will continue to expand over the next 20 years as new power plants come online with traditional manufacturing being replaced by additive manufacturing. This technology also has commercialization potential in other energy applications such as power plant gas turbines and nuclear reactors.