The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory chose three companies to design, build and operate a 10 MWe supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) pilot power plant. The goal is to advance the technology development of sCO2 Brayton power cycles from proof-of-concept to a validated prototype operational system.

Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and partners Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and GE Global Research were selected for the project, which will operate at a turbine inlet temperature of at least 1292°F (700°C). GTI will design, construct, commission and operate a versatile 10 MWe sCO2 pilot-plant test facility at SwRI’s campus in San Antonio, Texas.

In Brayton power cycles, high-power-density turbomachinery utilizes sCO2 as the working fluid. Brayton power cycles have historically only been used in spacecraft applications, but they are now being applied to terrestrial power generation for the step-change increase in efficiency and corresponding reduction in emissions.