$1.9M DOE award will allow Mines researchers to help develop efficient, affordable solar power plant technology

Professor Braun and his research students in the Advanced Energy Systems Group.

GOLDEN, Colo., Oct. 1, 2015 – Colorado School of Mines Department of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Rob Braun and collaborators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (lead institution), FlowServe, Sandia National Labs, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, have been awarded $1.9 million from the Energy Department’s SunShot Program to help accelerate the development of highly efficient and cost effective power plant technologies that allow solar thermal energy to be converted into electrical energy.

Braun and his research partners will advance new heat exchanger technology and develop design and operating strategies to meet high efficiency power generation requirements (greater than 50 percent) with cost effective dry cooling using supercritical carbon dioxide (s-CO2) as the working fluid in the power plant. A critical component of the project is the development of regenerative heat exchange technology which could enable substantial cost savings over more conventional recuperative type heat exchangers typically used in these cycles.

Braun’s group will work closely with researchers at NREL to optimize the entire s-CO2 power cycle design and operation throughout its expected operating envelope. Other partners will design, fabricate, and test a fixed bed regenerator system that is compatible with the operating conditions expected in an s-CO2 cycle. The device will be installed in the test loop located at Sandia National Laboratory in order to demonstrate the operation of the regenerator at prototypical conditions.

For more information, see the Energy Department’s website.


Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu
Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu