Optimizing Equipment for Supercritical Applications

by Lalit Chordia
Thar Energy LLC

Click Here To Access The Complete Paper
Click Here To Access The Presentation


The use of supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) has transitioned, over the past twenty-five years, from a laboratory curiosity to commercial reality, with applications in pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, foods and flavors, polymers and chemicals. Key to the evolution from small laboratory instruments to large commercial installations has been the optimization of process equipment to handle the demands of 24/7/365 operations. It is believed that various process innovations that enabled scCO2 to be commercially viable will also lead to the commercialization of the scCO2 power cycle.

Equipment optimization plays a much greater role in process design today, compared to earlier times involving extraction applications. Huge amounts of energy are being moved around or expended. Fluid must be conserved and recycled. A frequent optimization question is whether to pump or compress. Another is in the choice of pressure: In both extraction and heat-transfer applications, this can have a major effect on process efficiency. Strategies for power recovery through turbo-expanders, or pressure development using staged pumping or compression are equally important.