Indian scientists develop next generation technology loop to generate clean energy

Indian scientists have developed a Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Brayton Test Loop Facility that will help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar thermal. The facility was inaugurated by Union Science & Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan at the IISc campus in Bengaluru on February 22, 2018.

The laboratory scale test loop was developed by a research group at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research, IISc, as part of the Indo-U.S. consortium called Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States. The funding was provided by the Department of Science and Technology, Union Government.

Key Highlights:-
1. However, it could generate more power if, instead of steam, Supercritical CO2 (SCO2) is used.
2. The term “Supercritical” describes the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature of 31°C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres making it twice as dense as steam.
3. 24 February 2018 thermal power plants use steam to carry heat away from the source and turn a turbine to generate power.
4. Critical components such as compact heat exchangers and solar receivers and modern instrumentation along with loop control sequence algorithm were also developed.
5. The new generation high efficiency power plants with closed cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly.
6. The efficiency of energy conversion could also be significantly increased by as much as 50 per cent or more if S-CO2 is operated in a closed loop Brayton cycle.

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