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The Need for Computational Tools for Predicting Compressor Performance in Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles

By Mark R. Anderson
Feb 7, 2017

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Supercritical CO2 cycles have the potential to significantly improve efficiency and reduce emissions in power generation. However, the unique fluid dynamic properties of supercritical CO2 that enable these higher efficiencies also complicate the design and layout of the system. This is particularly true with regard to the systems turbomachinery components.  This is because of the highly non-linear properties of CO2, which pose significant difficulties in modeling.  Today’s commercial software is not optimized to help designers working on these types of systems.

To meet this need, Concepts NREC has submitted and won a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to create a comprehensive set of computational software tools to accurately predict the performance of compressors, pumps and turbines when operating with supercritical CO2. These tools will be added to our Agile Engineering Design System®, a complementary suite of programs for Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) specialized for turbomachinery. The software will then deliver a complete and fully functional system for the confident design of turbomachinery components for supercritical CO2 applications.

The main objectives will be:

  • Improving thermodynamic calculations for the unique demands of supercritical CO2 and its efficient application in computational fluid dynamic analysis.

  • Complete a comprehensive study of how to stabilize the solution process in the existing solver.

  • Develop recommendations to improve turbulence models for non-linear fluid properties.

  • Develop post-processing functions that can determine the need for nucleation modeling and solution reliability.

  • Recommend a suitable nucleation model based on the initial results.

Reduced emissions and improved energy independence depends on developing new energy technologies and power cycles, such as supercritical CO2. Concepts NREC is focused on the development of a comprehensive design and analysis software system that is specifically targeted for supercritical CO2 turbomachinery to greatly improve the outlook for this technology.

Tags: CAE Software, Compressors, Supercritical CO2, SCO2

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