sCO2 power cycle design without heat source limitations : Solar thermal particle technology in the CARBOSOLA project

Supercritical CO2 power cycles have been proposed to lower the levelized cost of electricity generated by Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants due to their high thermal efficiency and low equipment cost. In this study, a simplified techno-economic model was developed to compare the performance of molten salt and solid particle CSP technologies with various sCO2 cycle layouts and parameters. It was found that systems employing particle technology consistently have a lower levelized cost than molten salt systems, mainly due to the latter’s high storage system cost, caused by a low temperature spread. Furthermore, less complex process layouts without reheat or intercooling and even without recompression render lower levelized cost, which is caused by increasing costs for compressors, motors and recuperators in high-performance layouts. Compared with the reference system based on a steam power block, the best sCO2 processes achieve similar LCOE values but not the often-proposed significant improvements. These findings are highly dependent on some of the cost models, mainly for the primary heat exchanger and for indirect power block costs, which will be refined in a next step.

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