Continuing efforts to increase the efficiency of utility-scale electricity generation has resulted in considerable interest in Brayton cycles operating with supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2). One of the advantages of S-CO2 Brayton cycles, compared to the more traditional steam Rankine cycle, is that equal or greater thermal efficiencies can be realized using significantly smaller turbomachinery. Another advantage is that heat rejection is not limited by the saturation temperature of the working fluid, facilitating dry cooling of the cycle (i.e., the use of ambient air as the sole heat rejection medium). While dry cooling is especially advantageous for power generation in arid climates, the reduction in water consumption at any location is of growing interest due to likely tighter environmental regulations being enacted in the future. Daily and seasonal weather variations coupled with electric load variations means the plant will operate away from its design point the majority of the year. Models capable of predicting the off-design and part-load performance of S-CO2 power cycles are necessary for evaluating cycle configurations and turbomachinery designs.

This paper presents a flexible modeling methodology capable of predicting the steady state performance of various S-CO2 cycle configurations for both design and off-design ambient conditions, including part-load plant operation. The models assume supercritical CO2 as the working fluid for both a simple recuperated Brayton cycle and a more complex recompression Brayton cycle.

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