The Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence is investigating the use of supercritical CO2 closed loop Brayton cycles in the Concentrated Solar Thermal power cycle plant. One of the important components in the turbomachinery within the plant are seals. As the cycle is closed loop and operating at high pressures, dry gas seals have been recommended for future use in these systems. One of the main challenges of using supercritical CO2 dry gas seals is that operating conditions are near the critical point. In the supercritical region in the vicinity of the critical point (304 K, 7.4 MPa), CO2 behaves as a real-gas, exhibiting large and abrupt non-linear changes in fluid and transport properties and high densities. To correctly predict the seal operation and performance, the interaction between this real gas and the seal rotor (primary ring) and the seal stator (mating ring) need to analysed and investigated in detail, as they can lead to significant changes in flow and seal performance. Results from this paper show that increased centrifugal effects caused by higher gas densities can reduce the pressure in the sealing dam region. This adversely affects the loading capacity of the dry gas seal. However, it also benefits seal performances by reducing the leakage rate. The current work presents an investigation of the supercritical CO2 dry gas seals operating close to the critical point with an inlet pressure and temperature of 8.5Mpa and 370K respectively and a speed of 30000 RPM. Results highlighting the effects of the groove length or dam to groove ratio on the performance of the dry gas seal are presented. The seal is simulated using Computational Fluid Dynamics to study the flow behaviour of the supercitical CO2 in the dry gas seal. Supercritical CO2 fluid properties are based on the fluid database REFPROP. The numerical model was validated with previous work and good agreement was demonstrated.

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