EERE's New Projects

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Turbo-Expander and Heat Exchangers

Awardee Details

Awardee 
Southwest Research Institute
State 
Texas

Funding

DOE Amount 
$3,100,000

The Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) and its partners will develop an external combustor that is capable of operating at much higher temperatures and allows for the mixing of CSP-heated air with natural gas in hybridized power plants.

The project aims to develop a supercritical carbon dioxide (s-CO2) power cycle that combines high efficiencies and low costs for modular CSP applications. The SWRI team is working to advance the state-of-the-art s-CO2 turbo-expander design from laboratory testing to full prototype demonstration.

The scalable s-CO2 expander design and improved heat exchanger close two critical technology gaps required for an optimized CSP s-CO2 power plant. Successfully developing these systems represents a major stepping stone on the pathway to achieving a levelized cost of energy of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour, and increasing energy conversion efficiency to greater than 50%.

 

Objectives 
  • Develop a novel, high-efficiency s-CO2 hot-gas turbo expander optimized for CSP applications
  • Optimize novel printed-circuit heat exchangers for s-CO2 applications to drastically reduce their manufacturing costs
  • Test the s-CO2 turbo expander and novel s-CO2 heat exchanger in a 1-MWe s-CO2 test loop
  • Demonstrate component performance and the performance of the optimized s-CO2 Brayton cycle over a wide range of partial-load conditions and during transient operations representative of a typical CSP duty cycle