EERE's New Projects

CSP Tower Air Brayton Combustor

Awardee Details

Southwest Research Institute


DOE Amount 

The Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) and its partners are developing an external combustor capable of operating at much higher temperatures than the current state-of-the-art technology.

This project addresses key technical hurdles for an optimized CSP central tower hybrid gas turbine system to increase energy conversion efficiency to greater than 50%, greatly reduce or eliminate carbon dioxide emissions, and generate dispatchable power at full load regardless of the time of day or meteorological conditions.

This external combustor may be the first designed for a full megawatt-scale gas turbine that is integrated and optimized for CSP. The radically different design uses novel materials being developed specifically for this application. This technology, if successful, would also stretch industrial gas-turbine combustion systems beyond the operating limits of current combustion inlet materials.

  • Increase the CSP tower air receiver and gas turbine temperature capabilities to 1,000ÂșC by developing a novel gas turbine combustor
  • Achieve the temperature increase at a reduced utility scale by emphasizing the effects of thermal cycling on hardware
  • Achieve extremely low emissions when using renewable fuels or natural gas, or zero emissions when the turbine system operates on solar energy alone