Author: David Schowalter, Ph.D., Concepts NREC
There are numerous benefits of supercritical carbon dioxide power generation systems, including reduced size and cost. Highly non-linear fluid properties enable the development of unique cycles targeted at specific applications. These fluid properties, however, represent just one of the challenges of designing these systems. Other challenges include increased mechanical stresses, tight manufacturing tolerances, and secondary flow path control.
Reducing the risk of working with supercritical carbon dioxide is a key factor for successful projects. Firstly, appropriate tools for cycle and component design need to address the non-linear fluid properties, specifically. In addition, mechanical considerations such as stability, control, large thrust forces and rotordynamics must also be taken into account. Finally, adequate testing will always play a role. Addressing these considerations early in the design and development process will improve the likelihood of a winning supercritical CO2 endeavor.