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The role of sCO2 cycles in Europe’s future energy system

sCO2 cycles offer very interesting prospects in terms of increased efficiency, flexibility, cost control and reduced environmental impact. In the context of the EU’s energy transition, the last few years have seen the potential of supercritical CO2 (carbon dioxide) cycles emerge as an efficient replacement of steam in the cycles converting heat into power, leading to a more flexible and lower-emission electricity production.

sCO2-flex final event

The number of research projects on sCO2, financed by the European Commission, has been increasing for more than 6 years. One of them is sCO2flex, a project that aims to adapt fossil-fuel power plants to future energy system requirements.

sCO2-flex hosted its final event to show the versatility of sCO2 cycles in energy production as well as the objectives and results obtained by the actors of these European projects.

In addition to a presentation by the European Commission, 5 other projects presented their vision of the potential of sCO2 cycles: SCARABEUS, SCO2-4NPP, COMPASSCO2, ITHERM, CO2OLHEAT.

Watch the recording here.

The sCO2flex Technology Brochure

Enhancing the flexibility and the performance of conventional power plants is seen as a good opportunity to secure the energy grid while reducing its environmental impact. Therefore, it is necessary to develop innovative and cost-effective ways of enabling existing and future fossil-fuelled power plants to be flexible enough to deal with load fluctuations and to reduce emissions.

The sCO2flex Technology Brochure brings together the key technical outputs of the project, outlining the key aspects of the Plan design, Plant Operation and touching upon the projects potential impact in the context of the EU’s energy transition.

With the aim to develop a scalable and modular design of a 25 MWe plant using supercritical CO2 to enable an increase in the operational flexibility (fast load changes, fast start-ups and shutdowns) and efficiency of existing and future solid-fossil power plants, the sCO2flex project will reduce their environmental impacts, in line with EU targets.

The results currently available indicate that a cycle net efficiency of 42.5% can be reached, with a boiler efficiency of 92.3% (based on the fuel’s lower heating value). The resulting plant net efficiency of 37% (including boiler and flue gas treatment auxiliaries) allows a reduction by 8% of the greenhouse gases emissions in operation compared to a water/steam plant of the same power output, and can be operated flexibly between 20% and 100% of its nominal load. Those improvements in performance come at a slightly lower investment cost than a similar water/steam plant, making sCO2 cycles a competitive option at a 25 MWe scale.

Download the brochure here.

sCO2-Flex video: Making Electricity Production More Flexible

Watch the final video here.

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