Electrical power production from CSP is worldwide still limited in its diffusion by a higher LCOE with respect to other renewable sources, nevertheless it offers some unique features such as the possibility of a reliable energy storage capability. Among the most interesting, emerging-to-industrial ready technologies, CO2 power cycles seem to have the potential to provide a major step toward the average plant efficiency and equipment cost levels needed to achieve the marketability. Today, in most cases, supercritical CO2 power loops are seen as an opportunity to achieve a major step in thermodynamic efficiencies if applied in supercritical condition and with a quite complicated cycle configurations (e.g. Recompressed and ReHeated, or other combined solutions), with cycle maximum temperature above 650°C. Current cycle configurations are affected by a relative complexity of the power block, including non-negligible technological uncertainties with respect to simpler Brayton cycle solutions, possibly causing delay in the commercial application of the CO2 power block, at least for CSP applications. The aim of this article is to present some possible CO2 power closed cycle solutions, including supercritical as well as transcritical options, in order to propose cost-effective alternatives to current state-of-the-art steam power block of CSPs, highlighting that relatively simple CO2 cycle arrangements can enhance CSP competitiveness, representing a valid intermediate step towards next more advanced sCO2 cycles.

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