Innovative, scalable ceramic-based recuperator system enables Brayton cycle turbines to boost energy production in traditional and S-CO2 power plants
UCF researchers have invented a revolutionary way for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants to significantly reduce their maintenance costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce even more electricity in the process. By simply retrofitting their turbine systems with UCF’s specially designed recuperators and hot gas path components, companies can operate at peak efficiency much longer and harness their CO2 exhaust gas to operate a supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2)-based power cycle to increase energy production. Made of a unique polymer-derived ceramic composite (PDCC) material, the new components are smaller, lighter, and much stronger than traditional hot gas path components and recuperators.
Power plants with gas turbines operate most efficiently when the energy conversion process maintains high temperature and pressure at the turbine inlet and recuperator inlet. Yet, most turbines use metal parts that cannot sustain extremes in temperature without compromising the durability of the recuperators and hot gas path components. Thus, companies either spend millions of dollars in maintenance costs or run their systems below optimum operating levels. The UCF invention resolves these performance and cost issues by enabling power plants to easily upgrade their existing systems to more robust PDCC heat exchangers and hot gas path components that can run at optimal levels (withstanding as much as 2,200 F and pressure levels of 20-to-1).
The invention consists of a power generation system that includes a turbine with ceramic-based recuperators (heat exchangers) and hot gas path components (such as combustion liners, transition pieces and sealings). All components are made of an innovative, inexpensive PDCC material. Compared to superalloys found in turbines today, PDCC fibers have twice the strength and can handle much higher operating temperatures (more than 2,200 F). The invention also comprises configurations for high and low temperature recuperators, each with multiple matrix panels that interconnect to define hot and cold fluid channels. For example, the hot fluid channels can be adjacent to cold fluid channels and arranged in a counterflow and stair-step configuration. Companies can use the invention to retrofit both closed and semi-closed Brayton power generation systems.
- Handles the high pressure of S-CO2 (1072 psi)
- Enables modular construction of a robust microchannel heat exchanger
- Easily scalable, with little or no heat exchanger redesign required
- S-CO2 turbine and heat exchanger manufacturing