The demonstration phase of a novel gas turbine system which could improve thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency by 50 % begins at Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, USA. These so called Brayton-cycle turbines are intended to replace steam-driven Rankine cycle turbines in nuclear power stations and next-generation power reactors.
The Brayton cycle heats supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) in a confined space and then releases it in a particular direction, using the same principle as jet engines. The Brayton cycle could yield 20 MW of electricity from a package with a volume as small as 4 m3. The small size represents a reduction in production costs. The new cycle turbines also have higher efficiencies and are less corrosive at high temperatures compared to Rankine cycle turbines.
Future plans call for commercialization of the technology and development of an industrial demonstration plant at 10 MW of electricity.
- Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, USA