The Supercritical CO2 power cycle (S-CO2 cycle) is the power cycle that adopts CO2 as a working fluid and is designed to have a compression process near the critical point of CO2. Due to the non-linearity of CO2 pyhsical properties near the critical point, the S-CO2 cycle needs relatively less compression work. Therefore, the efficiency of the S-CO2 cycle is higher than traditional gas cycles. Furthermore, because of the relatively high system minimum pressure (near the critical point, ∼7.39 MPa), an S-CO2 cycle can be composed of smaller turbomachines. Considering these advantages, nowadays, there are many attempts to apply S-CO2 cycles to various fields, such as waste heat recovery, nuclear, coal, concentrated solar power plant and so on. These non-linear pyhsical properties become the cause of some unique issues. One of the most significant issues is the internal pinch point problem in a recuperator. Unlike the traditional gas-to-gas heat exchanger, each hot and cold side of the S-CO2 recuperator goes through the severe change of specific heat. This dramatic change of specific heat may cause the internal pinch point of the recuperator. When the internal pinch point phenomenon occurs, the performance of the recuperator may not able to be evaluated from the pre-fixed effectiveness. This can be an issue when the compressor inlet temperature decreases to transcritical or subcritical region. This may alter the optimal point of the S-CO2 power cycle. In this paper, optimal design points and optimal performance of the S-CO2 power cycle are tracked with the consideration of the internal pinch point phenomenon. While changing the system boundary conditions, the optimal point variation due to internal pinch point phenomenon is evaluated and compared with a traditional methodology. This research is progressed with an in-house integrated S-CO2 power cycle analysis code, which is named KAIST – ESCA (Evaluator for Supercritical CO2 Cycle based on Adjoint method). The target cycle layouts are Simple Recuperated, Intercooling, Recompression and Recompression with intercooling layouts. Both of the S-CO2 Rankine and Brayton cycles conditions are considered.

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