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Reactors designed by Argonne National Laboratory


2006 R&D 100 award

Printable Organization Chart (70 KB)
  • R&D 100 AwardsAwardees:
    Ken Natesan and Zuotao Zeng
    Engineering Development & Applications Department
    Corrosion & Mechanics of Materials Section
    Project description: Materials Resistant to Metal Dusting Degradation
    Project Application: Production of more durable equipment for use in plants that manufacture hydrogen

The "Materials resistant to metal dusting degradation" project by Ken Natesan and Zuotao Zeng, is one of the five Argonne projects which made into the list of the world's 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace during 2005, as judged by R&D Magazine.

Metal dusting is a type of degradation that occurs at elevated temperatures in hydrocarbon-containing atmospheres in which carbon activity is high. Such environments are prevalent in chemical and petrochemical industries such as hydrogen-, methanol-, and ammonia-reformers and in synthesis gas production plants. The degradation of metallic component materials into powder form and the resulting damage make it difficult to maintain equipment used in these industries. Fifty years of previous research could not solve this problem, and the only available solution was to quench the high-temperature gases by lowering the working temperature, which results in energy loss and decreased product yield.

Ken Natesan and Zuotao Zeng (both from NE's Engineering Development & Applications Department, Corrosion & Mechanics of Materials Section) developed alloys that resist this type of degradation and can be used to build equipment for these industries.

Available for licensing
New alloys resist metal dusting and extend equipment life
[52KB] - from Argonne Technology Transfer website

The equipment built with these metal dusting-resistant alloys could save 500 trillion Joules of energy each day, which is equivalent to 13 million standard cubic meters of natural gas each day.

Application of these alloys in the future may also enable a complete redesign of the reforming systems with improved efficiency.

Financially, this innovation could save $500 million to $103 billion per year in the hydrogen industry alone and could increase industrial productivity by enabling machinery to function with fewer maintenance shutdowns.  Such savings will become increasingly important as hydrogen is used more as a source of energy.

The research was funded by the Industrial Technologies Program of DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Metal Dusting MaterialsMacroscopic photographs of commercial nickel-based Alloy 600 (left) and Argonne's new alloy (right) after 5,700 hours of exposure to the same metal-dusting environment at 593°C.
Click on photo to view a larger image.

Last Modified: Thu, April 21, 2016 4:02 AM



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For more information, please contact the Nuclear Engineering Division () at Argonne.