Abstract

An enabling technology for a successful deployment of the sCO2 closed-loop recompression Brayton cycle is the development of a high temperature turbine not currently available in the marketplace. This turbine was developed under DOE funding for the STEP Pilot Plant development and represents a second generation design of the Sunshot turbine (Moore, et al., 2018). The lower thermal mass and increased power density of the sCO2 cycle, as compared to steam-based systems, enables the development of compact, high-efficiency power blocks that can respond quickly to transient environmental changes and frequent start-up/shut-down operations. The power density of the turbine is significantly greater than traditional steam turbines and is rivaled only by liquid rocket engine turbo pumps, such as those used on the Space Shuttle Main Engines. One key area that presents a design challenge is the radial inlet and exit collector to the axial turbine. Due to the high power density and overall small size of the machine, the available space for this inlet, collectors and transition regions is limited. This paper will take a detailed look at the space constraints and also the balance of aero performance and mechanical constraints in designing optimal flow paths that will improve the overall efficiency of the cycle.

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