SwRI receives $9.9Mn from DOE to improve solar plant efficiency

 SwRI receives $9.9Mn from DOE to improve solar plant efficiency

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been awarded $4.9 million by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of a $9.9 million continuation contract to manufacture and test high-efficiency supercritical CO2 (sCO2) hot gas turbo-expander and compact heat exchangers for concentrating solar power (CSP) plants.

The award was given through DOE’s SunShot Initiative and is one of eight DOE-funded sCOpower cycle projects currently being executed at SwRI, according to Dr. Klaus Brun, program director of the Machinery Program in SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division.

SwRI will lead a team of industry collaborators that includes Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and GE (NYSE: GE).

An sCO2 hot gas turbo-expander can operate at high temperatures and pressures, while maintaining fast start-up to optimize the plant’s online availability. Similar sCO2 expanders have the potential to improve the efficiency of waste heat recovery-, nuclear-, and fossil-fueled power plants.

The project will continue through mid-2016.

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