Space power technologies have undergone significant advances over the past few years, and great emphasis is being placed on the development of dynamic power systems at this time. A design study has been conducted to evaluate the applicability of a combined cycle concept—closed Brayton cycle and organic Rankine cycle coupling—for solar dynamic space power generation systems. In the concept presented here (solar dynamic combined cycle), the waste heat rejected by the closed Brayton cycle working fluid is utilized to heat the organic working fluid of an organic Rankine cycle system. This allows the solar dynamic combined cycle efficiency to be increased compared to the efficiencies of two subsystems (closed Brayton cycle and organic fluid cycle). Also, for small-size space power systems (up to 50 kW), the efficiency of the solar dynamic combined cycle can be comparable with Stirling engine performance. The closed Brayton cycle and organic Rankine cycle designs are based on a great deal of maturity assessed in much previous work on terrestrial and solar dynamic power systems. This is not yet true for the Stirling cycles. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the performance of the new space power generation system (solar dynamic combined cycle). The significant benefits of the solar dynamic combined cycle concept such as efficiency increase, mass reduction, specific area—collector and radiator—reduction, are presented and discussed for a low earth orbit space station application.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.