GTI, KEPCO collaborating on supercritical CO2 power cycle research

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(Editor's Note: This story originally published on May 2).

The non-profit research organization Gas Technology Institute and a unit of Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) have signed an agreement to jointly research and develop supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycle technologies that could impact power generation efforts.

The memorandum of understanding between GTI and Korea Electric Power Research Institute (KEPRI) focuses on sCO2 work which can lead to the potential for higher power conversation efficiencies and more compact turbomachinery. Such achievements could help lower capital costs and reduce plant footprints for power generators.

GTI and KEPRI will explore opportunities for joint research and development on sCO2 technologies over the next five years. The partners will cooperate, share technical information, and potentially exchange research staff for sCO2 technology development and commercialization.

"We're pleased to be a part of this collaboration," notes Michael Rutkowski, GTI Senior Vice President, Research and Technology Development. "Transformational sCO2-based power cycles offer dramatically improved efficiencies, economics, and environmental performance. KEPRI is a pioneering company that shares our focus on technology innovation to efficiently deliver lower-cost electric power with lower emissions. Together we will contribute to a greater understanding of sCO2-based power generation as a clean, compact, and high-efficiency technology option."

Supercritical carbon dioxide is a fluid state of CO2. At a higher temperature and pressure, often the liquid-like density remains stable and can reduce pumping power needed in compressors. Some sCO2 is already being used in oil recovery operations and nuclear reactor cooling.

KEPCO has been working on and investing in sCO2 power generation technologies since 2014.

“KEPCO is very excited about working with GTI. The organization has significant experience in power generation systems and is a recognized gas industry partner worldwide, and these attributes will help us in the global power generation market,” said Jung Bin Lee, director general of KEPCO’s Climate Change and Environment Laboratory. “We will leverage our complementary skills and expertise to develop new generation systems and advance this technology towards commercial adoption."

GE Research also has done work in sCO2 power generation in past years. A 2016 article in the MIT Technology Review noted tests on whether a desk-sized turbine could generate enough power for thousands of homes.

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GTI is an exhibitor at POWERGEN International and will be at booth 3254, while representatives from KEPCO are planned to present content at the conference. POWERGEN International will be Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. Registration is open.

 

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