Supercritical CO2 Heated Un-Recuperated Brayton Loop Operation & Test Results

by Steven A. Wright1, Paul S. Pickard1, & Robert Fuller2
1Sandia National Laboratories
2Barber-Nichols Inc.

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The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy and Sandia National Labs are investigating supercritical CO2 (S-CO2) Brayton cycles as potentially efficient, compact, and portable power conversion systems. These systems are being investigated for DOE-GEN IV advanced reactors, for fossil fuels, for solar and for geothermal applications. S-CO2 power conversion systems offer high efficiency at modest temperatures (250-750°C) because the cycle takes advantage of non-ideal properties that exist near the critical point. They offer very high power densities because the fluid is very dense and approaches the density of water at the compressor inlet. Sandia has been developing and is operating several different types of S-CO2 test loops. These loops and tests are being performed as part of a phased development program. Within this program, Sandia and its contractor Barber-Nichols Inc. have fabricated a compression loop, a simple Brayton cycle loop, and a split flow or recompression Brayton cycle loop. This paper provides a brief summary of the recent operating experience obtained from these first Brayton cycle tests.