CSIRO has signed an agreement with US-based company GTI to address energy and environmental challenges in Australia.
The agreement will see the formation of a joint industry program on the development of a supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power plant that could assist mining companies to reach large renewable energy targets.
When used with low-emission energy inputs, advanced sCO2 power plants have the potential to be a transformational technology that can accelerate the world’s transition to a low-carbon future.
“While most power plants use steam to produce electricity, sCO2 power plants use recirculating high-temperature CO2 instead,” CSIRO research director energy technologies, David Harris said.
“The advantage is that sCO2 is a higher density working fluid which means sCO2 power plants can be smaller, more efficient and not reliant on water for steam,” Dr Harris said.
Supercritical CO2 cycles can also operate using a wide range of heat sources.
“Their widespread implementation could be a game changer for power generation applications in Australia,” Dr Harris said.
Supercritical CO2 turbines offer an autonomous, high-efficiency power cycle which doesn’t rely on steam.
This makes such turbines an ideal candidate for power generation in off-grid mining and remote operations, as it allows them to use renewable energy more efficiently to power their operations for longer periods of time.
“With many mining companies committing to large renewable energy targets, the use of sCO2 power could be the transformational technology that they are looking for,” Dr Harris said.