NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Supercritical CO2 Power Cycle

Although its basic thermodynamic features were conceptualized several decades ago, component performance fell short of making the supercritical CO2 (S-CO2) power plants commercially competitive. In the late 1990s a CANES group revisited the situation in view of turbomachinery efficiency improvements and the development of compact and efficient printed circuit heat exchangers. Performance modeling showed that a recompression version of the cycle was now more efficient than Rankine steam cycles above about 450°C, and potentially of lower capital cost. This makes a modernized S-CO2 power plant attractive for a variety of advanced reactor types. The MIT CANES effort has helped encourage R&D organizations in several countries, including Sandia in the US, to undertake construction of demonstration units of this cycle.


  1. V. Dostal, P. Hejzlar, M.J. Driscoll, “The Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Power Cycle: Comparison to Other Advanced Power Cycles,” Nuclear Technology, Vol. 154, No. 3, June 2006.
  2. V. Dostal, P. Hejzlar, M.J. Driscoll, “High Performance Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Cycle for Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors,” Nuclear Technology, Vol. 154, No. 3, June 2006.

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