he National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) under the Department of Energy (DOE) Fossil Energy (FE) Program is leading the effort to not only develop near zero emission power generation systems, but to increaser the efficiency and availability of current power systems. The overarching goal of the program is to provide clean affordable power using domestic resources. Highly efficient, low emission power systems can have extreme conditions of high temperatures up to 1600 oC, high pressures up to 600 psi, high particulate loadings, and corrosive atmospheres that require monitoring. Sensing in these harsh environments can provide key information that directly impacts process control and system reliability. The lack of suitable measurement technology serves as a driver for the innovations in harsh environment sensor development. Advancements in sensing using optical fibers are key efforts within NETL’s sensor development program as these approaches offer the potential to survive and provide critical information about these processes. An overview of the sensor development supported by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will be given, including research in the areas of sensor materials, designs, and measurement types. New approaches to intelligent sensing, sensor placement and process control using networked sensors will be discussed as will novel approaches to fiber device design concurrent with materials development research and development in modified and coated silica and sapphire fiber based sensors. The use of these sensors for both single point and distributed measurements of temperature, pressure, strain, and a select suite of gases will be addressed. Additional areas of research includes novel control architecture and communication frameworks, device integration for distributed sensing, and imaging and other novel approaches to monitoring and controlling advanced processes. The close coupling of the sensor program with process modeling and control will be discussed for the overarching goal of clean power production.
Highly efficient, low emission power systems have extreme conditions of high temperature, high pressure, and corrosivity that require monitoring. Sensing in these harsh environments can provide key information that directly impacts process control and system reliability. To achieve the goals and demands of clean energy, the conditions under which fossil fuels are converted into heat and power are harsh compared to traditional combustion/steam cycles. Temperatures can extend as high as 1600 Celsius (°C) in certain systems and pressures can reach as high as 5000 pounds per square inch (psi)/340 atmospheres (atm). The lack of suitable measurement technology serves as a driver for the innovations in harsh environment sensor development. Two major considerations in the development of harsh environments sensors are the materials used for sensing and the design of the sensing device. This paper will highlight the U.S. Department of Energy’s, Office of Fossil Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Program in advanced sensing concepts that are aimed at addressing the technology needs and drivers through the development of new sensor materials and designs capable of withstanding harsh environment conditions. Recent developments with harsh environment sensors will be highlighted and future directions towards in advanced sensing will be introduced.