The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) held a workshop on October 31–November 1, 2019 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, on integrating supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles with thermal energy storage (TES). Hosted by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and the Offices of Fossil Energy and Nuclear Energy this workshop featured invited speakers and provided an opportunity to discuss the next steps in sCO2 power cycle commercialization and system-level considerations for integration with TES.

It has become clear that as the U.S. power sector evolves, power-generating technologies must be flexible, efficient, and highly responsive to grid needs. sCO2 power cycles integrated with TES have shown significant potential to meet the needs of the current and future grid. DOE and its partners in industry, the National Laboratories, and the broader research community have worked together to reach important milestones on the advancement of this technology, including:

  • Successful operation of the highest temperature sCO2 turbine in the world
  • Groundbreaking of the $119 million 10 megawatt electrical Supercritical Transformational Electric Power pilot plant
  • Release of a road map for commercial sCO2 cycles in nuclear power plants

Building on previous DOE sCO2 workshops, this meeting covered topics including sCO2 cycle integration with heat sources, air cooling as the ultimate heat sink, TES-sCO2 cycle interactions, and primary heat exchanger design. How DOE can best support the demonstration of commercially relevant sCO2 cycles integrated with flexible TES for rapid, on-demand electricity dispatch was also discussed.

Learn more about SETO’s concentrating solar-thermal power research