Project Name: Additively Manufactured sCO2 Power Cycle Heat Exchangers for CSP
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Team: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Niskayuna, NY
SETO Award Amount: $2,300,000
Awardee Cost Share: $575,000
Planned Timeline: 2019-2021

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project is designing, building, and testing prototype heat exchangers built using 3-D printing. The heat exchangers are being designed to meet performance needs of power cycles using supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2). Extracting power from power cycles based on sCO2 has the potential to be much more efficient than from conventional steam turbines. To overcome the expensive manufacturing process for heat exchangers, the team will use binder jet printing, a type of additive manufacturing, to significantly lower costs and enable new heat exchanger geometries. Affordable heat exchangers adapted to the demands of sCO2 power cycles could increase efficiencies and reduce costs of CSP power plants.


The project team aims to refine designs for a scaled prototype that costs 25% less than current heat exchangers and can meet sCO2 performance needs. To achieve these cost reductions, it will test different designs using Direct Metal Laser Melting and Binderjet 3-D printing technologies. It will then refine these designs based on performance considerations, including heat-transfer ability, pressure performance, and machine fatigue. It will also develop manufacturing cost models of the designs it produces and create a plan for scaling preferred design prototypes to full-scale models.


This project innovates on existing steam-cycle heat exchangers in CSP plants by developing prototypes that can withstand the stresses of sCO2 power cycles. It will also reduce the cost of these heat exchangers by using low-cost additive manufacturing processes. If successful, it will help enable CSP systems to produce power at $0.05 per kilowatt-hour.