PROJECT PROFILE: Southwest Research Institute

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Funding Opportunity: CSP: APOLLO
SunShot Subprogram: CSP
Location: San Antonio, TX
Amount Awarded: $5,350,000
Awardee Cost Share: $3,440,874

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The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) will design, manufacture, and test an ultra-high efficiency supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) compressor-expander, or “compander,” for power generation at CSP plants. SwRI will collaborate with Samsung Techwin America to develop the technology. This project was announced on September 16, 2015 at the Solar Power International conference. Read the press release.

APPROACH

The goal of this project is to develop the critical technology building blocks to make sCO2 power cycles technically feasible and commercially viable. This includes the development of the integrally geared compander (IGC) that addresses many of the challenges of sCO2 power cycles. IGCs are widely used in both air and process gas industries, where the technology has been proven to be reliable and provide high overall efficiency.

INNOVATION

This project will develop an IGC and a novel centrifugal compressor impeller design for use in 10 MW scale CSP applications utilizing a sCO2 cycle. This IGC has the potential to improve efficiency, modularity, and process control over other proposed CSP turbomachinery configurations that utilize a sCO2 power cycle. The technology provides a critical steppingstone toward making sCO2 CSP power plants commercially viable. The proposed sCO2 compressor impeller will incorporate novel flow path designs for maximizing compressor efficiency and mechanical reliability under a wide range of conditions.