Experimental testing of a 1MW sCO2 Turbocompressor
The Nuclear Energy Systems Laboratory (NESL) Brayton Laboratory at Sandia National Laboratories has been at the forefront of supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycle development since 2007 when internal R&D funds were used to investigate the stability of sCO2 as a working fluid for power cycles. Since then, Sandia has been a leader in research and development of sCO2 power cycles through government funded research and by partnering with industry to design and test components necessary for commercialization of sCO2 Brayton cycles. Peregrine Turbine Technologies (PTT) is a small business working to commercialize sCO2 power cycles with their proprietary thermodynamic cycles, heat exchangers, and turbomachinery designs. Under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program with the United States Air Force Research Laboratory, PTT has designed a novel motorless turbocompressor for sCO2 power cycles. In 2017, Sandia purchased the first sCO2 turbocompressor from PTT and installed it into the 1-MW thermal turbomachinery development platform at Sandia. PTT and Sandia have worked together to experimentally test the turbocompressor to the limits of the development platform (932 F @ 2500 psi). This report will detail the design of the turbomachinery development platform, the novel process used to start the turbomachinery, and the experimental results to date. The report will also look at lessons learned throughout the process of constructing and operating an experimental sCO2 loop.
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