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The case for supercritical CO2 radial turbine development within the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI) program
Hal Gurgenci1, Wes Stein2, Andrew Beath2, Manuel Blanco2, Emilie Sauret3 1 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
2 CSIRO, Mayfield West, NSW 2304, Australia
3 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Keywords: Concentrating Solar Thermal, Supercritical CO2, Remote Areas
The Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI) is an $87 million, eight year international collaboration with leading research institutions, industry bodies and universities that, through highly targeted research projects, will position Australia as a global leader in Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) technologies
One of this highly targeted ASTRI research project is aiming to develop enabling and proof-of-concept technologies towards a detailed, subsequent, Commercial Demonstration Plant (CDP) proposal using supercritical CO2. Australia is not alone in pursuing supercritical CO2 cycles as a disruptive new technology to increase the cost competitiveness of concentrating solar thermal (CST) technologies. The development and demonstration of a supercritical CO2 system is also one of the main technological paths to increase the cost competitiveness of CST technologies being explored under the US Sunshot program.
The difference between the Australian and the US programs is that the turbine technology selected in US is suitable for large utility-scale systems whereas the ASTRI project is targeting radial-in-flow turbine technology, which is appropriate for small- to medium-scale (0.5 to 20MWe) systems. A successful outcome for the ASTRI project will make CST Power immediately accessible and commercial for remote stand-alone and edge-of-grid applications in Australia. In such applications, the present power solution is diesel generation that costs more than 50 cents/kWh. The technology being developed by the ASTRI project is to enable a much lower cost. The subsequent deployment in remote installations is expected to further reduce the cost of the supercritical CO2 system technology through a learning curve effect and make it competitive for utility-scale applications in the future.
Supercritical CO2 Systems in the SunShot Initiative
The US Sunshot Initiative set a Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) target of 6 cents USD/kWh for Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) Power to be achieved by 2020 (Sunshot Initiative). This estimate is based on a 200-MW power tower utilising a supercritical CO2 Brayton power cycle combined with a Rankine bottom cycle. The LCOE target is to be achieved through improvements in all CST subsystems. The impacts arising from individual technology improvements are shown in Figure 1 copied from Kolb().
Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Conference, Australian Solar Energy Society (Australian 429 Solar Council) Melbourne May 2014 ISBN: 948-0-646-92219-5
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