The development of the supercritical Carbon Dioxide power cycle has relied on parallel tracks along which theoretical and experimental works have successfully complemented each other in the last few years. Following this approach, intensive work on the development of critical components has enabled the demonstration of the technology in small-scale test loops. The next step in the roadmap is scaling-up the technology in order to bridge the gap to commercialisation. To this aim, not only is it necessary to demonstrate that the cycle works, but it is also mandatory to rise component (and system) efficiencies to levels comparable with competing technologies. In this process, assessing the impact of the main design parameters on the efficiency of turbomachinery is deemed crucial.
The present work is a follow-up to others presented by the authors in previous years where preliminary analysis on centrifugal compressor design combining tools of different levels of fidelity were used. Nevertheless, whilst these presented guidelines to design the main compressor successfully, this new piece of research presents how the design space of the unit is affected by the characteristics of the working fluid. A review of past research is first presented to evidence that the design space is largely influenced by the particular behaviour of the working fluid close to the critical point. Then, design maps are presented for different operating conditions (cycle heat balance), showing that their shapes change substantially depending on compressor inlet pressure and temperature. Also, a comparison of these maps confirms that the design regions enabling high efficiency can be substantially reduced depending on the inlet/outlet thermodynamic states. Finally, conclusions are drawn regarding optimal intervals for the main design parameters involved in the process.