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Advancing high-power density commercial turbomachinery technology for supercritical carbon dioxide power generation cycles


The goal of this cross-cutting project for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is to realize the commercial application of high-efficiency Brayton power cycles in future power generation plants using high-power density turbomachinery technology utilizing supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) as a working fluid. Historically, Brayton power cycles have been applied in spacecraft and naval applications where compact, lightweight, high-energy-density power conversion was required. The advantages of these power cycles to terrestrial power generation is now being recognized as a result of the potential step-change increase in efficiency and corresponding reduction in emissions they offer.

Previous efforts to advance efficiency and emissions improvements in power generation began with Phase I of GTI’s turbomachinery technology project for the DOE Office of Fossil Energy Advanced Turbines program. The project focused on validating proposed turbomachinery concepts through engineering and thermodynamic analyses, testing materials for these unique environments and developing a plan to close technology gaps. The result of the project enables indirectly-heated cycles to achieve thermo-dynamic cycle efficiencies of 50-52%, and enables directly-heated cycles to achieve efficiencies equal to or greater than 52% with flue gas CO2 capture. The project team was led by GTI and included Duke Energy, GE, EPRI, and others.

GTI also developed the conceptual plans to support the design, cost, and schedule for a 10 megawatts electrical (MWe) supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) Brayton Cycle test facility. Developing and maturing the technology at pilot scale will facilitate the commercialization of sCO2 Brayton Cycles and spur the development of necessary designs, materials, components, operation and control systems, sensors, and under-standing and characterization needed for larger-scale sCO2 power conversion systems.

GTI was awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy to design, build, and operate the 10 MWe sCO2 Brayton Cycle test facility under DOE’s Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) program. GTI is teamed with GE Global Research and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). The facility will be located at SwRI’s campus in San Antonio, TX. The team has obtained support from more than 20 industry, utility, and international organizations with selected members participating directly in a Joint Industry Program providing expertise and gaining end-user operational insight.

Learn more about the 10 MWe sCO2 Brayton Cycle Test Facility. (2.4MB pdf)

Learn more about Supercritical CO2 Technologies​. (1.1MB pdf)​​​​​​​