Centrifugal compressors are one of the best choices among compressors in supercritical Brayton cycles. A supercritical CO2 centrifugal compressor increases the pressure of the fluid which state is initially very close to the critical point. When the supercritical fluid is compressed near the critical point, wide variations of fluid properties occur. The density of carbon dioxide at its critical point is close to the liquid density which leads to reduction in compressor work.
The investigated compressor is a centrifugal compressor tested in the Sandia supercritical CO2 compression loop. In order to get results with the high accuracy and take into account the non-linear variation of the properties near the critical point, the CFD flow solver is coupled with a lookup table of properties of fluid. Behavior of real gas close to its critical point and the effect of the accuracy of the real gas model on the compressor performance are studied in this paper and the results are compared with the experimental data from the Sandia compression facility.