December 9, 2023
SAN ANTONIO – Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has unveiled its new $155 million test facility, a 10 MW Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) Demo pilot plant.
The STEP Demo pilot plant uses high-temperature supercritical carbon dioxide, increasing thermal efficiency by “as much as 10 percent,” SwRI reports.
By generating more kilowatt-hours for burning the same amount of fuel, SCO2 power cycles can cut emissions by approximately 20 percent, in return reducing the size and cost of power plants.
The facility is a collaborative project between SwRI, GTI Energy, GE Global Research, and the U.S. Dept. of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory. Construction began in 2018 and finished in 2020. Earlier this year, the pilot plant achieved its first operation of its compressor with SCO2.
The plant will be operational in 2024.