Project Name: High-Temperature Dry-Gas Seal Development and Testing for sCO2 Power Cycle Turbomachinery
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Team: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: San Antonio, TX
SETO Award Amount: $2,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $500,000
Planned Timeline: 2019-2021

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

This project is developing a new design for dry gas seals, which are used in supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power turbines to seal rotating turbine shafts to their containment vessels and prevent fluid leakage. Dry gas seals operate effectively only at temperatures of up to 200o Celsius. This poses design challenges for sCO2 turbines because the seal needs to be insulated from the turbine’s high-temperature working fluid. The project team aims to develop dry gas seals that can operate at temperatures of up to 500oC, which would improve turbine efficiency.

APPROACH

This project plans to replace the polymers in the dry gas seal with materials that carry the same properties but can withstand higher temperatures. The team will evaluate initial materials that have promising characteristics, test the materials for performance in increasingly demanding circumstances, and validate the performance of the most appropriate material combination with a dry gas seal package tested at a temperature of 500oC.

INNOVATION

The dry gas seal this project team develops for use in sCO2 power turbines will be able to operate at temperatures up to 500oC. By simplifying the turbine’s heat-shielding requirements, the new technology should improve the efficiency of sCO2 power turbines by up to 4%.